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One Book 4 Colorado: Free Books for Early Literacy

by on May 27, 2015

In April 2015, the One Book 4 Colorado program gave away its selected title to four year-olds across the state for the fourth time since its beginning in 2012. This year’s selection was How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen.  Over 70,000 books in English and Spanish were given away in libraries, preschools, and Reach Out and Read clinics. This work to promote early literacy and have children ready to learn to read by the time they enter school is funded privately, and is a “collaboration between Lt. Governor Joe Garcia’s office, Reach Out and Read Colorado, Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, public and military libraries statewide, the private sector, and the nonprofit and foundation communities.” [1]

Previous years’ selections included Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris (2012), Duck on a Bike by David Shannon (2013), and Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard (2014). The selections are based on the book being a great selection for the age group, its availability in English and Spanish, and the capability of the publisher to provide enough copies of the book with special information on the program, the website information for literacy tips, and sponsor logos printed in the book. Once a list of possibilities is created, librarians and educators vote to narrow it down. Then, the public votes for the winner.[2]

The One Book 4 Colorado website also provides childhood literacy tips for parents. Covering the important early literacy aspects of read, write, sing, talk, and play, they also give specific tips for parents based on their child’s age from birth to eight. One of the really neat things is that in most of the age groups, a video demonstrating one of the suggested parent-child activities is embedded.[3]

During the 2014 giveaway, the Library Research Service surveyed participants to delve into the impact of the program. Sixty-four percent of caregivers said they “spent more time reading with their child after receiving the book” and that “their child was more interested in books and reading.” Sixty-two percent said “their child talked more about books and reading.”[4]

As the manager for the children’s department of Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD), Colorado Springs, Colo., Nancy Maday had this to say about the program: “One Book 4 Colorado is a great way for the children of our state to have a book of their very own.  It also publicizes the value of reading to our children.  In Colorado Springs, the largest school district was inspired by One Book 4 Colorado to provide a book for the preschool children who are not 4, so that everyone at school gets a book.  Distributing the books through the public libraries and Reach Out and Read clinics makes the books accessible for all children and allows us to promote our library programs at the same time.”[5]

As an employee of PPLD, I’ve had the opportunity to give some of these books to children coming into the library. Having children visit and collect books they are excited to check out is always a fun experience to see. Being able to hand them another book that they get to take home and keep forever just adds to the joy of the job!


[1] Colorado State Library. One Book 4 Colorado Project History. n.d.

http://www.onebook4colorado.org/about/project-history/ (accessed April 15, 2015).

[2] —. One Book 4 Colorado FAQs. n.d. http://www.onebook4colorado.org/about/one-book-4-

colorado-faqs/ (accessed April 15, 2015).

[3] —. One Book 4 Colorado Make a Difference: Read to a Child. n.d. http://www.onebook4colorado.org/make-a-

difference-read-to-a-child/ (accessed April 15, 2015).

[4] Library Research Service. “Library Research Service.” More than 75,000 Books Given Away During One Book 4 Colorado in 2014. February 11, 2015. http://www.lrs.org/2015/02/11/75000-books-given-away-one-book-4-colorado-2013/ (accessed May 8, 2015).

[5] Maday, Nancy, interview by Becca Cruz. Manager of Children’s Services (April 15, 2015).

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