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Did you know that by age 3, children from wealthier families have typically heard 30 million more words than children from low-income families?(AEC, 2010) That is such a huge difference right? One of the best ways to help little ones to develop such a vast number of words is by exposing them early on to age appropriate books & unfortunately in several cities around the U.S, kids live within book deserts and don't have access to adequate reading materials. This month the boys and I headed to popular NYC bookstore, The Strand to celebrate summer reading and the Soar with Reading Program. With one daily vote, through the Soar with Reading Program the public has the chance to vote in an online book battle which will reward the children of one city 100,000 FREE books
Visitors of the independant bookstore were invited to celebrate summer reading with authors R. J. Palacio (Wonder) and Chris Grabenstein (Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library) during a meet and greet and book signing while learning about JetBlue’s Soar with Reading, a program in partnership with Random House Children’s Books to provide books to kids who need them most.
CJ and Tristan made sure to take a moment to chat with the authors about why it was important to them to support the Soar with Reading Program and Tristan asked them each what their favorite book was when they were his age.
Chris Grabenstein on why he thought it was important to support the program:
"I grew up in a small town in Tennessee, my school didn't have a library and we grew up in what they would now call a book desert. Can you imagine growing up and not having any books? With this program, there are these four vending machines that kids can go up to and get a bunch of books for free."
What was your favorite book when you were a little kid:
"When I was your age there was this book about seven brothers that drank the ocean, it was a picture book. I liked it because I had four brothers and I figured if we had a few more brothers we could do the same thing. Another was "Mike Mulligan and the Steam shovel."
CJ was pretty excited when he realized after a glance at the books on display that Chris Grabenstein co-authored two of his favorite books: I Funny and Treasure Hunters. After casting our vote online at Soarwithreading.com we took full advantage of the .99 cent offering to get a digital copy of his latest book "Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel
Visitors of The Strand bookstore also had the chance to indulge free scoops from local JetBlue ice cream partner Blue Marble
R.J Palacio's thoughts on why it was important to support the Soar with Reading Program:
"I wanted to join the Soar with reading program because I thought it was such a great program. I get approached a lot to support different organizations and I have to be careful about where I endorse. Soar with Reading is so amazing, the idea of bringing books to communities that don't have as much access as other communities. It's perfect for kids who love to read and even for kids who don't enjoy reading because they have to have access to books to develop a love of reading. And once you develop a love of reading when you are little it lasts a lifetime."
What was your favorite book when you were a little kid:
"That is a good question! D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths when I was about your age that was one of my favorite books. I used to take it out of the library every week in my little school library. Because I just loved it, I loved the words, I loved the pictures it just really stirred my imagination.
Before heading out we made sure to cast our vote in hopes of deserving NYC kids to win the online #Bookbattle. 100, 000 books would be useful to so many kids, regardless of the city that wins. But C'mon you know you want to see New York win!
So cast your vote here: soarwithreading.com
ABOUT SOAR WITH READING:
In 2011, JetBlue launched Soar with Reading, a program designed to encourage kids’ imaginations to take flight through reading. Since its inception, Soar with Reading has supplied more than $2,750,000 worth of books to kids in need. Soar with Reading is a joint project of JetBlue and Random House Children’s Books. For additional information, please visit SoarwithReading.com
Soar with Reading is a signature program of JetBlue For Good program, JetBlue’s platform for social impact and corporate responsibility. Giving back is part of JetBlue’s DNA and is core to its mission of inspiring humanity. Centered around volunteerism and service, JetBlue For Good focuses on the areas that are most important to the airline’s customers and crewmembers - Community, Youth/Education and the Environment. Soar with Reading is a joint project of JetBlue and Random House Children’s Books. For additional information, please visit www.SoarwithReading.com
JetBlue is New York's Hometown Airline™, and a leading carrier in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando, and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 38 million customers a year to over 101 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of 1,000 daily flights. For more information please visit jetblue.com.
ABOUT RANDOM HOUSE CHILDREN’S BOOKS:
Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, ebooks, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. The company’s website, Kids @ Random (www.randomhousekids.com) offers an array of activities, games, and resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.