State Senator James Sanders Jr. partnered with the United Federation of Teachers and First Book, along with dozens of volunteers, to give away 40,000 books Saturday at P.S. 160, the Walter Francis Bishop School, in Jamaica.
Volunteers and community leaders helped unload and sort pallets of books, which arrived the evening before the event, and sorted them by title and age group, early childhood education, elementary school, middle school and high school.
“Every child should have access to quality books. Reading stimulates the imagination and opens up new worlds,” Sanders said. “In our current technological age, too many of our young people are busy on their smartphones, playing video games or watching television. The need to acquaint themselves of the written word. In addition to the wonderful new things they can learn by reading, just holding a book and turning the pages is an important part of the literary experience.”
Each parent was allotted 20 books per family and each teacher was allotted 50 books. The books varied from fairy tales and action/adventure to science fiction and biographies.
“Once they close the back cover after finishing a book, they will feel a sense of pride and accomplishment,” Sanders said. “It will inspire them to choose another book, and then another, and the path to learning and growth will begin. I hope that it will be a journey that they will continue throughout their lives. I am an avid reader, myself, and it was a habit that I began in my youth.”
Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 185 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income communities in more than 30 countries. First Book currently reaches an average of 5 million children every year and supports more than one in three of the estimated 1.3 million classrooms and programs serving children in need.
“It’s great to see so many children excited about reading,” Sanders said. “It’s not often that people get to walk away with carts, boxes and bags of free books. I am so thankful to the UFT, First Book, P.S. 160 and all of the volunteers making this event possible.”