AFT Washington Partners with First Book to Provide Free Books to Young Children and Students

Share This


May 9, 2014

Contact: Sylvia Watson, 206-261-3603 (c); Karen Strickland, 206-326-0685

Saturday, May 17, 11:30 AM to 4 PM - Seattle Center Exhibition Hall

WHO:              The American Federation of Teachers in Washington State (AFT Washington, AFL-CIO) is holding a book giveaway and community resource fair to get free books into the hands of local public school students to support their literacy and educational success. Mayor Ed Murray is scheduled to attend as well as award-winning author and UW Professor Emeritus Charles Johnson and his daughter Elisheba Johnson co-authors of “The Adventures of Emery Johns, Boy Science Wonder: Bending Time.”

Others attending include 20 community organizations; volunteers; Renton School District; community college faculty, staff, and students; and families and children from Title I schools.

WHAT:            Under the theme of “Reclaim the Promise of Public Education,” this is a community partnership between AFT Washington and the First Book organization (, a national non-profit that has distributed more than 100 million new, high-quality books to kids in need across the country. At this event, we will have free book distribution, brief remarks, reading circles, community resource tables, lunch, entertainment, and tickets to the Seattle Science Center or free entry to the Seattle Children’s Museum with EBT card or medical coupon. Books will be available in different languages.

WHEN:            Saturday, May 17, Doors open at 11:30 AM to 4 PM. A brief program will be held between 12:30 and 1:00 PM. AFT Washington President Karen Strickland, Seattle Mayor Murray, and other guests will speak or read stories.

WHERE:           Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, Mercer St., Seattle

WHY:               Research shows that students who have books in their homes are more likely to read well, have a better vocabulary, and reach a higher level of education than those who did not.1 One study found that in middle-income neighborhoods the ratio is 13 books per child and in low-income neighborhoods, the ratio is one book for every 300 children.2 Price is the number one barrier to book ownership.

1Family Scholarly Culture and Educational Success

2 Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Vol. 2

# # #

AFT Washington, AFL-CIO is a labor organization representing education employees in K-12, early learning and Head Start, community and technical colleges, and universities.

Photo Op: Children, students, and parents from the greater Seattle area will attend.

Participating community organizations:

206 Zulu

Sea Mar Community Health Centers

A. Phillip Randolph Institute Seattle

Seattle Indian Center

AFT Washington Human Rights Committee

Seattle International Film Festival

Atlantic Street Center

Seattle Works

El Centro de la Raza

Solid Ground

Faith Action Network

Team Read

Friends of the Seattle Public Library

United Way of King County

Kids First Seattle

Vietnamese Friendship Association

Literacy Source

Washington Bus

Neighborhood House

WFSE Local 304

North Seattle College Parent Education Program


Northwest African American Museum