Uniting Children With Books

first books

What if fighting illiteracy began with something as simple as getting a book in the right kid’s hands?

First Book, a nationwide nonprofit with a chapter here in Portland, believes that access to books is critical in reducing illiteracy. And it’s not just about the joy of reading – literacy is a key predictor of success both academically and career-wise. That means book-scarcity is a huge issue for children growing up in poverty.

In some of the lowest-income neighborhoods in the U.S., books are few and far between. Sometimes they are as few as one book per every 300 children.

This is where First Book steps in to help. Every year First Book distributes millions of free or low-cost books nation-wide to programs that pass them on to disadvantaged children. To date, First Book has circulated more than 135 million new books to kids in need of them.

Portland’s local chapter, First Book Portland, was formed in 1998, and it serves low-income families in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. Powered only by volunteers, the organization has provided nearly 70,000 brand new books to programs in the Tri-County area.

This week on PRP we featured First Book Portland as part of our award-winning Community Voices series. Here are podcasts of our interviews with key members of the organization.

Brianna Barrett, First Book Portland volunteer:

Helen Field, Albina Head Start Supervisor, Lead Home Visitor

Jennifer Goebel, Home Visitor/Book Distributor, MHCC Early Head Start


Craig Opfer, Principal at Magneto Brand Advertising, First Book Portland Donor and Community Partner

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