Penguin Random House, PARENTS Magazine Launch Family Reading Movement, PRH Donates 750,000 Books to First Book

Penguin Random Houseand PARENTS Magazine to Expedite Launch of the Nationwide Family Reading Movement: Read Together, Be Together, With Virtual Storytime Program Starting This Week

Campaign launch moved up to reach readers and support parents and caregivers at home with virtual storytimes for kids, in response to COVID-19

Children’s divisions of Penguin Random House to donate 750,000 books to First Book

NEW YORK CITY (March 23, 2020)—The U.S. children’s divisions of Penguin Random House, Penguin Young Readers and Random House Children’s Books, in partnership with Meredith Corporation’s PARENTS, are launching READ TOGETHER, BE TOGETHER (#ReadTogetherBeTogether), a nationwide movement that celebrates the importance and power of reading with young children, it was jointly announced today.  Originally slated to launch in summer 2020 with nationwide retail, educator, and consumer activations, the program will now begin this week, in light of the current COVID-19 situation, with a series of daily virtual storytimes with bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators, and celebrity readers. This week’s schedule, featuring readings by Misty Copeland, Danica McKellar, Tiffani Thiessen and Brady Smith, Scott Kelly, and B. J. Novak can be found at readtogetherbetogether.com. The dedicated website will also host reading tips for parents and caregivers developed with PARENTS, as well as an extensive list of recommended age-appropriate books. 

As part of READ TOGETHER, BE TOGETHER, Penguin Random House is also donating 750,000 books to First Book, a nonprofit that provides new books and educational resources to children in need, many of whom lack access to technology and are especially at risk during this unprecedented time in which schools and childcare facilities across the country have closed in response to COVID-19.

Early this summer, Penguin Random House will announce the full READ TOGETHER, BE TOGETHER campaign, which includes specially priced exclusive editions of child-and-parent favorite titles that will be available at retailers throughout the country. In support of the campaign, PARENTS will be launching a new children’s book column in June, as well as publishing a reading-themed issue in August.

Barbara Marcus, President & Publisher, Random House Children’s Books, and Jen Loja, President & Publisher, Penguin Young Readers, said, “We’re very proud to be partnering with PARENTS magazine on such an important initiative, particularly at a time when there is a great need for resources to help caregivers foster reading within the home. Parents and guardians play a crucial role in our mission to create lifelong readers, and we are excited about this new program to support them. We’re also eager to work with our authors and illustrators on connecting with readers virtually during this time.”

“Now more than ever, reading together is a comforting way to connect with our kids,” says Julia Edelstein, Editor-in-Chief of PARENTS. “Books can transport them to different worlds, spark their curiosity, and make them laugh. Celebrating the magic of stories has always been part of our brand’s DNA, and we’re delighted to be partnering with Penguin Random House to bring even more content to families.” 

“We are so happy to be working on this wonderful and important campaign to encourage family reading,” said Kyle Zimmer, President, CEO and Co-founder of First Book. “We know from experience that kids having books and storytime at home helps create a sense of normalcy that is sorely needed in the midst of this crisis. First Book is working to ensure that kids in need across the country have books at home during this time while most are out of school. Thanks to the generosity of our publishing partners like Random House Children’s Books and Penguin Young Readers, we have 7 million free books to distribute to those who need them most, so countless children can have family storytimes in the coming weeks. Right now, we’re urgently seeking funders to help cover the cost of shipping. Anyone interested in helping can contribute at firstbook.org/cv.” 

READ TOGETHER, BE TOGETHER is a nationwide movement developed by Penguin Random House in partnership with PARENTS magazine that celebrates the importance and power of the shared reading experience between an adult and a child. Reading aloud regularly to babies and young children is one of the most effective ways to foster early literacy and is a key factor in building language and social skills. READ TOGETHER, BE TOGETHER offers parents the tips and tools to make family reading a regular and cherished activity.

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Penguin Young Readers is one of the leading children’s book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks, including Dial Books, Dutton, Kokila, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Workshop, Philomel, Puffin, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Razorbill, Viking, and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as, Laurie Halse Anderson, Jan Brett, Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Anna Dewdney, John Flanagan, John Green, Oliver Jeffers, Mike Lupica, Ransom Riggs, Ruta Sepetys, Sabaa Tahir, Jacqueline Woodson, and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as The Little Engine That Could, the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, the Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Mad Libs, the Last Kids on Earth, and the Rangers Apprentice, among many others. Penguin Young Readers Group is a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books include Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers, Crown Books for Young Readers, Delacorte Press, Doubleday Books for Young Readers, Make Me a World, The Princeton Review, Random House Books for Young Readers, Random House Graphic, Rodale Kids, Schwartz & Wade Books, and Wendy Lamb Books. These imprints bring together award-winning and bestselling authors and illustrators including Christopher Paul Curtis, Carl Hiaasen, Emily Winfield Martin, R. J. Palacio, Christopher Paolini, Philip Pullman, Rebecca Stead, Nicola Yoon, and Markus Zusak along with world-famous brands such as Dr. Seuss, the Magic Tree House series, and Little Golden Books. Random House Children’s Books is also home to a variety of licensed publishing including Richard Scary, Disney, Marvel, and Nickelodeon. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

The PARENTS brand, the leading source for busy, millennial moms, reaches 9.3 million readers monthly through an award-winning magazine and over 19 million through its digital and social platforms. PARENTS serves up trusted advice that empowers moms and dads to care for their kids with confidence and find ways to enjoy the ride. PARENTS is produced by Meredith Corporation (NYSE: MDP).

First Book

Founded in Washington, D.C., in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in the educational equity field. Over its 28-year history, First Book has distributed more than 185 million books and educational resources, with a value of more than $1.5 billion. First Book believes education offers children in need the best path out of poverty. First Book breaks down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 450,000 registered teachers, librarians, after school program leaders, and others serving children in need with millions of free and affordable new, high-quality books, educational resources, and basic needs items through the award-winning First Book Marketplace nonprofit e-commerce site. The First Book Network comprises the largest and fastest-growing community of formal and informal educators serving children in need.

First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings best-in-class research to the classroom via relevant, usable educator resources. First Book Impact Funds target support to areas of particular need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children’s books. For more information, visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

MEDIA CONTACTS

Dominique Cimina
VP & Executive Director, Publicity & Corporate Communications
Random House Children’s Books
dcimina@penguinrandomhouse.com / 212-782-9314

Shanta Newlin
VP & Executive Director, Publicity & Corporate Communications
Penguin Young Readers
snewlin@penguinrandomhouse.com / 212-414-3630