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First Book aims to help kids love reading

Tom Jackson • Jan 14, 2013 at 11:47 AM

First Book-Huron County hopes to spread a lot of book love around, giving out 10,000 books this year to kids from low-income households in Huron County.

The local chapter, part of the national First Book organization, is accepting grant applications from Huron County nonprofits that want to give books to kids.

Organizations that have asked for books in the past include Title 1 reading programs in the local schools, local Head Start groups and Help Me Grow, said Sondra Anderson, chairwoman for First Book-Huron County.

The grant recipients order books from an online catalog. The titles include everything from books for new readers to books at a high school level, Anderson said.

Local donors support the program, which gives away about $20,000 worth of books every year, about 10,000 books for each grant cycle, she said.

Applications may be downloaded from firstbook.org and are due by Feb. 25.

First Book-Huron County says it has given away 87,000 new books to kids during the last nine years.

Huron County's group is not the only local First Book group.

First Book-BGSU Firelands, a project of the school's student government group, has been active since 2007, said Julia Hamann, director of Technology Support Services and the school's advisor for the group.

The group gave out $5,000 worth of books last year and this year and helps kids in Erie, Huron and Ottawa counties, she said.

Lower income children have very few books. The program tries to give each child six to 12 books in the course of a year, giving the kid a solid beginning to having a home library, she said.

Katia Castile, a Norwalk resident who is president of the BGSU Firelands student government, said student government will be holding a Mardi Gras event to raise money for First Book.

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