Raising Readers is ending March 31st 2024. Click here for the most up to date information.

How the Program Works

Raising Readers -recieving book illustration

Raising Readers gives free, high-quality books to every Maine child at birthing centers and at well-child visits.

This program is free for all families. Parents and guardians do not need to sign up to join the program. You will be given your first tote bag of books when your baby is born or adopted from your doctor, hospital, midwife or adoption agency. Your family will be given more books at each well-child visit from age 2 months to 5 years.

Q. Does every hospital, midwife, and medical practice already participate in Raising Readers?

A. Yes! We are proud to say that every Maine hospital and midwife that offers birthing services and every medical practice that offers well-child care participates in the program. If you know of a practice that does not participate, please email and let us know at info@raisingreaders.org.

Q. Is there a cost for healthcare providers or families to participate in the program?

A. Thanks to the generous funding from the Libra Foundation, there is no cost to healthcare providers or families to participate.

Q. Is Raising Readers only for hospitals and medical practices in Maine?

A. Yes. Raising Readers provides books through hospitals, medical practices, midwives and adoption agencies. These services must be provided within the state of Maine to be eligible to participate.

Q. What are the eligibility guidelines to get books from the program? Is there an application form that must be completed?

A. Raising Readers is for all children in Maine. Families do not need to complete an application form. Books are simply part of the birth experience and well-child visits through age 5.

Q. When are the books given out?

In addition to the books given when a baby is born, books are given at these well child visits: 2, 4, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 months and 2, 3, 3.5, 4 and 5 years.

Q. Do you use books by Maine authors and illustrators in the program?

A. Yes! We are proud to use books by authors and illustrators with connections to Maine whenever possible.

Q. Does Raising Readers select books that are inclusive of all people?

A. Raising Readers selects one book for each age group every year. We do our best to choose books that are inclusive and represent the diversity of our state and country. We know it is important for children to see people who look like them in their books, as well as people who look different from themselves. When parents and guardians approach racial, cultural, and ability differences in books with curiosity and invite children to ask questions, they help children become more welcoming and comfortable interacting with many different people.

Q. Who chooses the books for Raising Readers?

A. We have a committee of pediatricians, family medicine doctors, nurse practitioners, home visiting nurses, librarians, early literacy experts, parents, and grandparents. Our committee gathers each year to help choose the perfect books for the program.

Q. I want my book to be considered for the program. How do I submit it?

A. We review books all year long for consideration in the program. The books that meet our criteria are then reviewed by our committee. If you would like to submit your book, please send a non-returnable finished copy to the address below. Please keep in mind that choosing a dozen books each year for all of Maine’s children is no small feat. Patience is key and the process takes time.

Please mail your book to:
Program Manager
Raising Readers / MaineHealth
110 Free Street
Portland Maine, 04101

Learn more about how the program works in this video!