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Diverse Books for All Coalition Giving Access to 145,000 Diverse Books Nationwide

National consortium aggregates buying power to bolster representation and access to diverse titles for young children

WASHINGTON, DC (May 7, 2024) – As educators, students, and families begin to celebrate Children’s Book Week (May 6-12), the Diverse Books for All Coalition is thrilled to announce the purchase and availability of 145,000 diverse books building on the Coalition’s commitment to increase access to books that reflect the diversity of communities and children across the U.S. This initial collective purchasing initiative, involving 18 of the Coalition’s members, addresses the critical need for high-quality, affordable diverse books for ages 0 – 8 so that more children growing up in low-income communities can see themselves and learn about others in the pages of books. The 145,000 books have an estimated retail value of $1.5 million and will be shared at low or no cost to the families, educators, and programs these organizations serve.

“Findings from First Book Research & Insights demonstrate the vital role of diverse books in supporting gains in reading scores and increased reading times,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book, which founded the Coalition. “As student reading scores are slow to recover from recent historic lows, the need for affordable, high-quality books that reflect the diverse lives of students and communities is critical to boost academic achievement and foster long-term healthy development. Through collaboration, advocacy, and a shared commitment to inclusivity, we are laying the foundation for a future where every child has access to literature that reflects the beautiful diversity of our world.”

The Diverse Books for All Coalition, an unprecedented national consortium comprising over 50 nonprofits and membership organizations spanning all 50 states, stands at the forefront of promoting representation in children’s literature and is poised to positively and dramatically shift the literary landscape through the continued aggregation of buying power and distribution capabilities of the leading education organizations supporting young children in need.

Across the country, 27 million children are growing up in low-income communities where access to books of any kind is critically limited, much less diverse books that are relevant to their lives. More than 2.5 million students attend schools with no libraries and the lack of availability of diverse titles is magnified by a stark under-representation in the publishing of children’s books written by authors or about characters from diverse races and cultures. Through an innovative model of collective purchasing, the Diverse Books for All Coalition is furthering its goals of educational and racial equity by increasing access to and affordability of young children’s books representing diverse races, cultures, identities, and abilities. This purchase of 145,000 books through four esteemed publishers – Abrams, Barefoot Books, Candlewick, and Penguin Random House – also includes and emphasizes the importance of linguistically diverse literature, providing titles in English, Spanish, and bilingual editions so all children have access to stories that resonate with their lived experiences.

“As members of the Diverse Books for All Coalition, we hold steadfast to the belief that representation matters,” said Ernestine Benefict, chief communications officer of ZERO TO THREE. “Reading diverse titles from the earliest ages helps children develop their self-identity. By amplifying diverse voices and narratives, we are enriching the literary landscape through a shared commitment to inclusivity and fostering empathy, understanding, and a sense of belonging among young readers everywhere.”

“This coordinated effort infuses quality books directly into communities, meeting children and families where they live and in the routines of their own busy lives,” said Jill Heath, president and CEO of Heart of America. “From pediatric clinics to local parks, community events, or even home-visiting programs, the Diverse Books for All Coalition members represent localized action on a national scale to maximize impact – all while uplifting local and regional organizations to strengthen their purchasing power.”

To celebrate the book distribution and Children’s Book Week, the Coalition is sharing author read alouds from some of the great titles featured in our distribution, including A Place to Stay by Erin Gunti, Rooftop Garden by Danna Smith and Evelyn Del Rey Se Muda by Meg Medina. The read alouds will air across the Coalition’s social media pages (@DiverseBks4All) and can be viewed on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube during Children’s Book Week, May 6-12.

The Coalition’s work has been supported through an initial grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Additional support has been received from the Buffett Early Childhood Fund. The Coalition is working to raise $1 million to support its ongoing strategic, multi-faceted approach.

Learn more about this latest distribution and ongoing efforts to enrich the literary landscape at

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Diverse Books for All Coalition

The Diverse Books for All Coalition is a national consortium of nonprofits and membership organizations working together to increase access to affordable, diverse children’s books. The consortium’s priorities include collective purchasing, narrative/message development to underscore the value and benefits of diverse and inclusive representation in books, and resource creation to enable educators and parents/caregivers to transform how children, educators and communities access, engage with and benefit from diverse books.

First Book

Education transforms lives. First Book is building a world where every child has access to a quality education. We work to remove barriers to education and level the playing field for kids in need. At the heart of our work are the more than 575,000 members of the First Book Network, the largest online community of individual educators, professionals and volunteers dedicated to supporting children in need across North America. This Network is the key to creating systemic change. Through our research arm, First Book Research & Insights, we conduct studies that aggregate their voices to identify barriers to equitable education and inform strategic solutions. To address their needs, we provide free and low-cost books, resources, and access to leading experts through the First Book Marketplace, which uses aggregated buying power to support this underserved community. Founded in Washington D.C. in 1992 as a nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is dedicated to eliminating barriers to learning and inspiring young minds. Learn more at and visit our award-winning eCommerce website at

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