Each year, the National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize awards five prizes of $2,500 each to individuals and institutions that have developed innovative means of creating and sustaining a lifelong love of reading. The National Book Foundation is proud to recognize Books for Kids as a winner of the 2014 Innovations in Reading Prize.
The mission of the Books for Kids Foundation is to promote literacy among all children with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool children. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books, and implements literacy programs to develop the critical early foundation and skills young children need to be successful in life. Studies show that emergent literacy in preschoolers must be supported by a print-rich environment. Books for Kids ensures that Department of Education-recommended books are available wherever children spend their day by donating books and establishing libraries in those facilities. We also ensure that each child in our program receives at least one brand new book to take home and share with his or her family.
Books for Kids was created in 1986 by a group of New Yorkers who recognized that children who do not have adequate access to books must surmount enormous disadvantages when entering school. What began as an informal project to collect and distribute 1,000 books to needy children for the holidays quickly took on much greater dimensions when we gave away 2,000 books in the first year and 9,000 in the next. It was clear to our founders that an organization providing access to age-appropriate books for low-income children with little or no resources was desperately needed. Since then, we have built over 75 libraries in fourteen states, serving thousands of low-income families each year all across the country.