First Book, a nonprofit that provides new, high-quality books to children from low-income families, distributed its 100 millionth brand-new book on Thursday, Nov. 15, at Martha’s Table, a community center in Washington D.C.
The organization began in 1992 when Kyle Zimmer, then a corporate lawyer volunteering at Martha’s Table, realized that the children she was working with had no books of their own at home.
She founded First Book, along with two friends, to ensure that those children, and others, would have access to the books they needed. Twenty years later, First Book has provided 100 million books and educational resources to schools and programs serving children in need across the country.
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“First Book was born twenty years ago, right here at Martha’s Table,” said Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “To be standing in this wonderful place – still going strong – and thinking about how many lives we’ve transformed through books is an incredible and humbling experience.”
At the event, Zimmer handed the actual 100 millionth book – ‘Green Eggs & Ham’, by Dr. Seuss – to Chase-Kennedy Williams, age 4. Thirty of Chase-Kennedy’s classmates also received their own copies of ‘Green Eggs and Ham’, as well as another popular title, ‘Click, Clack Moo: Cows That Type’ by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin.
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To choose the 100 millionth title, First Book held an online vote, in which members of the public chose from 10 of the all-time most popular titles on the First Book Marketplace, a website where teachers and program leaders serving children from low-income families can purchase quality children’s books at 50 to 90 percent off retail prices.
First Book also donated several collections of the top 10 titles to Martha’s Table, as well as a grant for 100 additional new book of their choice.