First Book and Reading Space join forces to distribute 30,000 books in Dari and Pashto to Afghan refugee and immigrant children


Collaboration draws on the strengths of each organization to meet this critical need

WASHINGTON, September 8, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — First Book, the largest online network of educators serving children in need, and Room to Read, the global education organization creating a world free of illiteracy and gender inequality, have today announced an innovative partnership to publish and distribute a total of 30,000 books — 12 unique titles in Dari and Pashto, the two majority languages ​​spoken by the Afghan population. The books will be made available to refugee and immigrant communities through First Book’s network of educators serving children in need. This partnership builds on the industry-leading skills of both organizations – connecting First Book’s growing distribution network of more than 525,000 educators with Room to Read’s 22-year track record as a global, non-commercial publisher of diverse children’s books – to provide culturally relevant books to those in need. them the most.

Members of First Book’s Network will have access to the titles, which have been adapted from a collection of books created for Syrian refugees in Jordan. The books will be aimed at Afghan refugee children resettling in United States to help them process their experience of moving to a new country and adjusting to a new home and culture. The partnership combines First Book’s reach among low-income communities in all 50 U.S. states with Room to Read’s unique ability to publish first-language books in low-cost formats to fill critical gaps in underserved communities, such as the immigrant and refugee population.

“Providing resources in the languages ​​spoken by refugee children is key to breaking down some of the barriers to education they face. Plus, it makes a huge difference in creating a sense of normalcy as they adjust to their new life here in the United States,” said Kyle Zimmer’s first book President and CEO. “The innovative nature of this partnership helps both First Book and Room to Read expand our reach and impact, allowing even more children to thrive with the resources they need to learn.”

This partnership is specifically aimed at supporting refugees and other immigrants who speak Dari or Pashto. Although created primarily to help children process their experiences, these new books will provide interesting reading for young immigrants and help children maintain connections to their family’s culture. First Book and Room to Read recognize the importance for young children, especially English language learners, to preserve their emotional and cultural connection to the past while developing reading skills to succeed in the future.

Books can serve as both windows and mirrors to understanding diverse identities. When children can see themselves in books, they develop a better understanding and appreciation of their individuality, community, and culture. Children can also be encouraged to read more when they recognize characters from their own culture. For refugees, culturally diverse and inclusive books help them maintain and share a personal cultural connection despite the distance from home. The diverse representation in books can also be a window for other readers to understand the cultural practices and values ​​of other communities.

“Over the past year, thousands of Afghan children and families have been displaced and immigrated to United States build a new life,” said Shannon Hessel, associate director of the Room to Read US program. “At Room to Read, we know that books have the power to build resilience and help young readers better understand the world around them. We are committed to using our expertise in developing children’s literacy and book publishing to partner with First Book and provide these young learners with access to books that reflect their experiences.”

To learn more about First Book’s partnership with Room to Read, visit or view new titles available on the First Book Marketplace here.

About the first book:

Founded in washington d.c., in 1992 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit social enterprise, First Book is a leader in educational equity. In its 29-year history, First Book has distributed over 225 million books and educational resources, with a retail value of over $2 billion. First Book believes that education offers children in need the best route out of poverty. First Book is breaking down barriers to quality education by providing its network of more than 525,000 teachers, librarians, after-school program managers and others serving children in need with millions of free and basic books, educational and basic resources. affordable. needs items through the non-profit e-commerce site First Book Marketplace. The First Book Network comprises the largest and most vibrant community of formal and informal educators serving children in need.

First Book also expands the breadth and depth of the education field through a family of social enterprises, including First Book Research & Insights, its proprietary research initiative, and the First Book Accelerator, which brings the best strategies based on research in the world. classroom through relevant and usable educational resources. The First Book Impact Funds target support to areas in need, such as rural communities or increasing diversity in children’s books. For more information about First Book, please visit

About Reading Space:

Founded in 2000 on the belief that global change begins with educated children®, Room to Read creates a world free of illiteracy and gender inequality. We achieve this goal by helping children in historically low-income communities build literacy skills and a reading habit, and by helping girls build the skills needed to succeed in high school and negotiate important life decisions. . Room to Read works with local communities, partner organizations and governments to test and implement innovative models that can be integrated into the education system to deliver positive outcomes for children at scale. To date, Room to Read has benefited over 32 million children and worked in 21 countries and over 49,000 communities, providing support through remote solutions that facilitate learning beyond classroom. Room to Read aims to reach 40 million children by 2025. Find out more at

Media Contact: Ian Kenson, [email protected]

SOURCE First book


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