Bay Area nonprofits provide free books for children, teachers

Lyanne Melendez Image
Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Bay Area nonprofits provide free books for kids, teachers
Too many kids don't have enough books to read at home or at school. But two Bay Area organizations are trying to bridge that gap.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- These days, so much attention is on electronics. But there's no substitute for a book, especially for a young mind. Too many kids don't have enough books to read, either at home or at school. But two organizations are trying to bridge the gap.

From the outside, it looks like a rickety old building in San Francisco's Sunset District. But on the inside is The Children's Book Project. It's like a food bank for books.

Darla Anderson is a preschool teacher in West Contra Costa County. The books she takes from there are shared with other teachers in her district.

"For me, if I can bring in the books and I can spark that ignition young for the books, then I can close the gap," said preschool teacher Darla Anderson.

The books are free. Teachers can take as many as they need. The Children's Book Project started in 1992 by Vicki Pollack, a reading specialist who noticed many parents in underserved communities couldn't afford them.

"One of the reasons parents didn't read to their children was because they didn't have any books to read," Pollack said. "And people didn't realize then, like they do now, how important reading to children is."

VIDEO: Peninsula teen collects 25,000 books for kids in book drive

Many of these local nonprofits like The Children's Book Project are getting the attention they need thanks to First Book, a national organization that provides children with new books.

Certainly, First Book couldn't do it alone. That's why ABC7 and Disney are partnering with the nonprofit to share the magic of storytelling by donating 5,000 books.

Heather Dabney teaches fifth-grade. She came all the way from Ceres, which is south of Modesto, to get books for her students.

"Especially when most of our students are reading at a second to a third grade level, we definitely want to give them a chance to have books that are at their level so that way we can increase their reading level," she said.

In addition to donating the books to the local Children's Book Project, Disney is giving two books to a child in need for every $5 donated to First Book.

You can help new books reach children in low-income families. Click here for more information