The Need

Millions of children from low-income communities don’t have the tools they need to learn and thrive. With your help, we can change this.

photo of a young girl hugging a book and smiling. Photo was taken outside at a book distribution event.

Kids Need Books and Resources

Books and resources impact everything from psychological well-being to academic performance, but kids in need don’t have that advantage. Books are critical and access to those resources is one of the greatest contributors to educational equity in the United States. Research shows that just the presence of books in the home improves educational outcomes.

Despite all this, books and resources are scarce for kids in need – meaning they are at a disadvantage from the start. It has been identified there are vast book deserts concentrated in low-income communities across the U.S. — with one community having only a single book to be shared among as many as 830 children.

The Scale & the Impact

Poverty is reshaping education. Fifty-one percent of students across the nation’s public schools — 27 million children — are from low-income families; coming to school without even their basic needs met and under extreme stress. Moreover, the schools don’t have the funding necessary to address those needs.

Many of these children struggle with hunger, homelessness, violence, and lack of access to clean clothes, proper hygiene materials or relevant educational resources.  Ensuring that children are in the right headspace to learn means tackling all the problems that are holding them back. As a result, these kids are behind in their education from the start and almost never catch up.  The impact is devastating. The long-term economic devastation is deep and broad with the effect of an inequitable educational system being the equivalent of a national recession.

The Impact of Our Work

First Book transforms the lives of children in need by making brand-new, high-quality books and resources affordable and available to the educators and kids who need them most.

registered members
250+ Million
books and resources distributed to date
5 Million
children reached annually

First Book Makes a Difference

First Book delivers resources where they are needed most.

young black student with lots of books on the grass

Provides Books to Spark Innovation

Innovative programs help distribute 12 million brand-new books annually to children living in low-income communities.

Increases Children’s Interest in Reading

In a First Book Network poll, 87% of members reported children’s interest in reading increased after receiving books from First Book.

Improves Teacher Performance and Impact

79% of members polled said First Book helps them be the best educator they can be.

Helps Close the Achievement Gap

88% of members reported resources from First Book helped close the achievement gap for the kids they serve.

Children who discover the joy of reading not only do better in school, but also have a life full of adventure ahead. We are grateful to First Book for helping us foster the love of reading in so many children in need.

— Marty, H.O.P.E (Help Our People Eat) | Forsyth County, North Carolina
image of a young woman laying in the grass, smiling and reading a book. There is light blue boxes with purple text that say, 'Share Your Favorite Summer Read for Our New Online Album. Take a selfie with your favorite summer read and upload it by July 22 to celebrate our First Book family and the work we’re doing together! Send your selfie.'