January 6, 2021 | 20th Anniversary
As we reflect on our 20th Anniversary year and look ahead to 2021, we feel so much gratitude. We’re grateful for the Libra Foundation’s investment in Raising Readers and Maine’s future. Over two decades ago, the foundation envisioned a state where every child would receive new books to call their own from health care providers and every parent or caregiver would regularly read aloud to their child, starting on day one. Soon after Libra’s vision became clear, a partnership between MaineHealth and Northern Light Health was formed to administer and implement the beloved program. Now, twenty-one years in, we know that Maine parents read to their children more than those in any other state.*
What you may not know is there’s a team of people who work behind the scenes towards this vision. Together, we make sure Maine families have a library of high-quality, developmentally appropriate, repeat read-alouds to call their own.
Sending a great big Thank You to:
Health care partners
From every corner of Maine, thousands of health care professionals at birth centers, hospitals, and primary care offices give books to Maine families soon after birth and during well child visits until age 5. Not only do they share books—they also share with families why it’s important to read aloud to babies and young children.
Every single morning, a small team in Bangor, Maine pick and pack every single Raising Readers book order. Once a health care partner orders their books online, our friends at Owens & Minor ship books out so the practice has them ready to give within 3-5 business days.
Kirsten Cappy of Curious City Books
Kirsten works tirelessly to “forge a stronger relationship between children and the literature created for them” in a number of ways–one being helping Raising Readers choose the perfect books to be shared and reviewed by the Book Advisory Committee. For 16+ years, Kirsten has been instrumental in helping Raising Readers find over 250 hidden gems to share with Maine families, including books by Maine creators.
The Raising Readers Book Advisory Committee
Each year, a committee of doctors, nurse practitioners, home visitors, early literacy experts, librarians, and other people who know children best come together to read and review the year’s best books. They help us with the tough job of selecting only one title for each age group for a given year.
Maine Authors and Illustrators
We’re lucky to live in a state with many talented children’s book creators. Each year, we do our best to share at least one book created by a Maine author or illustrator. Check out all the titles by all our favorite Maine creators here.
We’re grateful to work with every children’s book publisher to find the perfect books for Maine babies and children. Thanks to their continued support, every book is customized especially for Raising Readers, making it a keepsake for children and families for years to come.
Thanks to our Clinical Advisors and Early Literacy Advisor, we’re able to bridge information about why reading aloud to babies and children is important between Raising Readers and the community.
Public libraries and the librarians who make them shine are our biggest advocates. They share Raising Readers books and resources regularly with patrons. They also help us in working towards our mission to share the love of books and reading with all Maine families.
Parents and Caregivers
When the rubber meets the road, it’s parents and caregivers who make the magic of reading aloud happen in their homes and beyond. Igniting a child’s love of books and reading starts with a good snuggle and a good story with a parent or caregiver who loves them.
And many more! Many others have joined us on our journey in giving over 3 million books to nearly 300,000 Maine children. For each of you who have made Raising Readers what it is, our hearts hold a lot of gratitude.