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Press Release Fun: SCBWI’s 3rd Annual Literacy Initiative Gives Books to Readers in Need

Children’s Book Creators Join Forces to Provide High Quality Books Plus a Literary Celebration for REACH in Norfolk, Virginia!

Los Angeles, October 10, 2019

The members of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators join forces once again as part of the organization’s annual SCBWI Books For Readers literacy initiative to collect, curate, and donate new books created by its members to one of its two 2019 recipients: REACH in Norfolk, VA.

Their carefully curated library of books will be officially donated at the SCBWI BFR/REACH Literacy Celebration on November 13, from 6-8 p.m. at the

John Tyler Elementary School in Portsmouth, VA. The evening’s events will include a literacy line-up of local SCBWI authors and illustrators, an appearance by the 2019 Newbery Award-winning author and SCBWI Board Member, Meg Medina, as well as five celebration stations featuring: interactive story times, art demonstrations, story-themed crafts, photo memory sharing, and refreshments. The high point will be when the children in attendance choose a book especially for them. 

The SCBWI Books for Readers literacy initiative grew from the organization’s desire to create an opportunity for its members to make a greater impact in the lives of readers, to increase book access to local communities domestically and internationally, to expand its literacy advocacy, and to support the work of the many grassroots organizations working to improve literacy. 

    “We know that there are many book deserts in which underserved communities have as few as 1 book per 300 children. Our hope is to change these numbers and make high quality books available to all children,” said Lin Oliver, Executive Director of SCBWI. “Our talented members create books of hope, and they’re committed to bringing this hope to readers–especially to those in great need. Our SCBWI BFR literacy initiative continues to advance our organization’s mission as children’s book creators and literacy advocates to build hopes and dreams.”

As a result of the initiative, a donation of 1,000 of SCBWI members’ books will be heading to REACH, a non-profit organization, that works to reverse illiteracy and to improve education for at-risk children in Virginia’s coastal communities.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with SCBWI as one of the organizations/recipients chosen from over 300 nominations–and humbled by the recognition for what we are working so hard to do–to end illiteracy!” said Jennifer Goff, Ph.D, and REACH’s executive director. 

What began as singular read-aloud program with a craft, and a book giveaway for the Help and Emergency Response Shelter (HER), has grown to an organization with a full-time staff of two and a roster of 600 dedicated volunteers who offer life-changing literacy program offerings to eleven partner homeless and domestic violence shelters and nine community organizations. 

“The books that will be donated to us will be unlike any others that our children have received before,” Dr. Goff enthusiastically adds,” because they’re donated by the very people who created them. They’ll allow our children to see worlds outside their communities, to offer them experiences they’ve never had, and to see what can be, and what they can achieve. Like that famous quotation, ‘A reader lives a thousand lives–a non-reader only one!’ These books will give our kids a thousand lives–and then some!” 

For more information, please contact:

Tammy Brown

Director, Community Marketing and Engagement, SCBWI

PH: (323) 782-1010

Patricia J. Murphy

Award-Winning Children’s Author

Literacy Initiative Creative Consultant, SCBWI

PH: (847) 917-4963

Jennifer Goff, PhD.

Executive Director, REACH, Inc.

2428 Almeda Ave, Suite 302

Norfolk, VA 23513


Address of event:

John Tyler Elementary School

3649 Hartford St, Portsmouth, VA 23707

About Society of Children’s Writers and Illustrators

Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization, which is one of the largest existing organizations for writers and illustrators. It is the only professional organization specifically for those individuals writing and illustrating for children and young adults in the fields of children’s literature, magazines, film, television and multimedia. The SCBWI acts as a network for the exchange of knowledge between writers, illustrators, editors, publishers, agents, librarians, educators, booksellers and others involved with literature for young people.


REACH was established in 1998 by educator, Kristin Hildum, to reverse illiteracy and improve education for at-risk children. REACH promotes youth literacy and education, and continues to impact and support the literacy needs in Hampton Roads. Its goal is to continue meeting the regional priorities of improving literacy and education reaching children ages 0-17, especially those living in poverty.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.