Help Children Get Free Books
Schools are closed and for many of the most vulnerable students, so is access to books. We believe that access to books is essential for equitable opportunities in literacy, learning, and life. The Children’s Book Project has delivered thousands of free books in the San Francisco Bay Area to school meal distribution sites, organizations serving low-income families, and the San Francisco school district for their distance-learning packets. Now is the time to do more. Our goal is to continue to meet the need for books so that they can be safely distributed to children who need them.
According to the School Library Journal, the average cost of a children’s book in 2019 was $17.97 for hardcover and $10.14 for paperback. In 2019, the Children’s Book Project provided 138,601 books to children who needed them for free—that’s over $1.9 million worth of books last year alone.
If you want to share your love of books and support equity in literacy, please donate the cost of your favorite children’s book and help us reach our goal of $138,601 to support our ongoing operations and need for books. Please help us raise funds so we can continue to raise readers.
Our COVID-19 Rapid Response
Since 1992, the Children’s Book Project has supported literacy by giving free books and literacy resources to children who need them throughout the Bay Area. Today, amidst a global pandemic, school closures, and a statewide shelter-in-place order, our mission couldn’t be more urgent.
The effect of school and daycare closures is disproportionately felt by low-income communities who have fewer books in their homes. Since the San Francisco shelter-in-place order on March 16th, the Children’s Book Project has continued to support children in need:
- Within days we changed our operations model from client self-selection to staff delivery. As of May 1st, two part-time staff sorted and delivered 12,000 free books to 36 Bay Area sites serving our most vulnerable children.
- We delivered books to meal distribution centers and emergency childcare facilities around San Francisco for safe distribution to children.
- We’re delivering books to public housing sites, public health clinics, school laptop distribution sites, homeless shelters, and community organizations serving children and families.
- We partnered with the San Francisco School District and delivered thousands of books for distance-learning packets for pre-K to 2nd grade learners.
How Funds Will Be Used
We urgently need to raise funds to buy and deliver books, especially picture books, beginning readers, and books in Spanish, for children who need them.
Like so many of you, we’re working harder than ever to meet this crisis. Normally, we receive 150,000 donated books a year; however, as businesses that host our book donation bins are shuttered, company book drives canceled, and donation deliveries are deferred, we’re rapidly depleting our inventory of books.
Who Will Get Free Books
Children and families from low-income, under-resourced, marginalized communities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area who need books.
In California, 25 percent of the state’s 6 million students are unable to perform basic reading skills, according to the California Policy Center. However, when isolated for socio-economic factors, the disparity in literacy attainment is shocking: 71 percent of incoming fourth graders from low income communities in the San Francisco Bay Area cannot read at grade level. We know that children live in households without access to quality books. Yet, according to research in literacy education across twenty-seven nations, children growing up in homes with at least twenty books get three years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and income level. Without books in their homes, children are more likely to enter kindergarten significantly less prepared than their peers and that gap increases throughout school years. Encouraging reading is not enough when children do not have access to books.
As the pandemic unfolds in San Francisco, we think of all of the children without books at home (many of them also without internet access) with little to engage their minds, capture their imaginations, and warm their hearts. Neil Gaiman wrote, “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.” Now, more than ever, children need books— not just because books are critical for their education, but because stories fill us with hope. Dragons are defeated. The spell is lifted. The world is free once again.
Who We Are
Founded in 1992, the Children’s Book Project is a 28-year old children’s literacy 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization (Tax ID: 94-3229734). The Children's Book Project gives free books to children who need them for equity in literacy, learning, and life by creating reading rich environments wherever children are: under-resourced schools, public health clinics, after-school programs, and at home or where they shelter.
Please see our website: www.childrensbookproject.org