Friday, January 31, 2014

Stories for All

The Denver metro area is a diverse community, and educators are often looking for books that reflect the experience of those cultures. To help address this diversity, First Book offers lists of multicultural books for all ages. It is part of our efforts to increase diversity in children's books.

The Stories for All Project began this year and continues to find ways to offer books that reflect the diversity of our communities.

In the First Book Marketplace--a source of new, high-quality books and educational resources for schools and programs serving kids in need--you can find lists of books about Latino Interest, Native American Interest, Special Needs, and more. In order to purchase books through the marketplace, you must first register your organization at

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Looking for a book recommendation?

Earlier this month, the Nerdy Book Club blog released its 2013 list of favorite chapter books and books for early readers. If you're looking for a book to entertain a young reader, there are some fun titles from familiar authors such as Mo Willems (Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!).

This award-winning blog is a terrific resource for anyone interested in children's and young adult books. There are more great lists of 2013 favorites, as well as reading recommendations for teachers and parents. Check it out today!

Member of the Nerdy Book Club

Friday, January 24, 2014

Book Lovers' Online: Colorado-related literary locations

One of our Advisory Board members is a fan of Book Riot, a web site devoted to books and all things related to the written word. Recently, a Book riot contributor based in Colorado presented a "book lover's guide to Colorado's front range." From terrific book stores like Tattered Cover to locations featured in well-loved books (Stephen King seems to have found a lot of inspiration in the Centennial State), this short-but-fun list is just a taste of some of the states literary sites. We thought of a few Colorado locations that didn't make this list:
  • My Brother's Bar in Denver served as a meeting place for the Beat Generation of writers. 
  • James Michener's Centennial features Colorado's history. 
  • The bestselling young adult novel Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles is set in Boulder.
  • Denver and Rocky Mountain News are featured in Michael Connelly's crime novel, The Poet.
Do you have a favorite literary spot in Colorado? Share with us in the comments!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Story of First Book

Are you new to First Book? Learn more about the organization and how it came to be with this fun video featuring authors and other First Book supporters from the world of literacy.

Friday, January 17, 2014


The week of February 9, 2014 is Friendiversary time. A "Friendiversary" is the anniversary of the day a friendship - like that of Elephant and Piggie, the stars of Mo Willems' award-winning early reader series - began. 

To celebrate Friendiversary with kids at your school or program, visit the First Book Marketplace. There you'll learn how you can purchase Elephant and Piggie titles and get free stuff to make your party even more special.

Get excited about this super-fun event by watching this video featuring author Mo Willems!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Get to Know the Advisory Board: Christine Kuznia

First Book's strength comes from its donors and volunteers. In each community it serves, First Book has an Advisory Board of volunteers committed to bringing new books to children in need. Today, we'll get to know the Chair of First Book-Denver Metro's Advisory Board. 

Christine KuzniaName: Christine Kuznia, First Book-Denver Metro Chair
Employer: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hometown: Grand Forks, ND

What is your favorite children's book?
The Paper Bag Princess. Robert Munsch was ahead of his time when he wrote about a strong willed girl who wouldn’t let anyone, not even a dragon or a prince, stop her from being true to herself. This was one of the first books I bought for my niece. Every time I read it, I fall in love with it a little more.
Who is your favorite author?
This is hard – how can you ask a girl to choose! If I’m pushed, then I would have to say, Jane Austen. I have read all of her books, multiple times, and love every one of them, especially Pride and Prejudice. Oscar Wilde comes in at a very close second for his quick witted humor. One of my favorite quotes, actually by Oscar Wilde, is “if one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again there is no use reading it at all.” This rings very true to me. Both of these authors have stories that are still very relevant and every time I pick up one of their books it is a new experience. I love it!
Why do you volunteer with First Book?
So many reasons! I love reading and I can’t imagine growing up without access to books. I practically grew up at the library in my hometown and want to thank all of the librarians who helped grow my passion of reading. They are an invaluable resource to our communities. I was fortunate enough to have a well-stocked library at home, as well, and looking back it was access to books that changed my life and made me appreciate and value reading. When I moved to Denver I learned about the statistics on low income families and the number of books in homes. The data was shocking and called me to action. After learning about First Book and their great mission, I knew that they were the right avenue to help guide a local grassroots effort to end illiteracy. One of the reasons that First Book is such a great organization, is that there is no underlying agenda to our cause. Simply put, we want to make sure every child has access to new reading material in their home. This simple, but strong message brings together people from all walks of life who want to make an impact in a child’s life and help them realize the magic of reading. Another great advantage of First Book is that all of our fundraising efforts go directly to the recipient groups we serve, such as schools and nonprofits that serve low-income and/or high minority populations. As a board, we’ve made the choice to have zero operating/overhead costs so we can ensure that 100% of all donations we receive go to the people who need it most.

Denver is such a wonderful community and has welcomed First Book with open arms. Our board is still young, but we’ve seen great growth in the year and half that we’ve been together. We have great partnerships with Mayor Michael Hancock, the Office of Children’s Affairs, and with stores in Cherry Creek North, like Hermitage Books, Enstrom, and Mici’s. We have recently found more allies in ending illiteracy with the Book Bar, located on Tennyson Street, and Von Melee, the online bookstore and blog. First Book is an organization that everyone can get behind, and I welcome any one who has questions to contact me directly. You can reach me at or (218) 791-2484. It is going to be a great 2014!!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Empty or Full?

In the first of a series, today we share with you a video from the official First Book YouTube channel. Each week, we'll hope to bring you information about First Book's mission, history, and current efforts to bring the joy of reading to all children.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Did your new year's resolutions include a commitment to becoming more involved in your community? Whether you've resolved to volunteer more or support in other ways, might we suggest supporting literacy with First Book?

First Book-Denver Metro is dedicated to getting new books to kids in need, and our focus is here in Colorado. Help us get books to kids by donating online; just $2.50 helps us put a brand new book into a child's hands.

A few facts about us:
  • First Book is a nonprofit organization which provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books.
  • First Book has provided more than 100 million brand NEW books to children in need in thousands of communities nationwide.
  • The national office is in Washington, D.C. and there are more than 150 local volunteer chapters working in communities like ours throughout the U.S.
  • First Book-Denver Metro coordinates with schools, literacy programs, Head Starts, etc. that are already at work serving local families.
  • In order to qualify, 70% of the children served must be from low-income families.
  • 97% of First Book's funds go directly to putting books into children's hands, earning Charity Navigator's highest rating.
To learn more about our chapter, view our brochure below. If you are interested in volunteering, contact us at

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!

We hope that your holiday season was a good one. Here at First Book--Denver Metro, we are looking forward to a bigger and better year in 2014. One of our new year resolutions is to be more active here on our blog. Look for more frequent posts in the coming months, and be sure to give us feedback so that we can offer information that is interesting, fun, and useful to our supporters.

We'll share information from First Book headquarters, news from the world of books, and, of course, updates on activity from our Advisory Board.

Do you have any book-related resolutions for 2014? Share them with us in the comments!