William Penn Foundation Chooses Lee & Low Books as Publisher for the Early Childhood Book Challenge

Early Childhood Book Challenge

In a groundbreaking initiative funded by William Penn Foundation, OpenIDEO launched the Early Childhood Book Challenge earlier this year seeking an original story for children ages 0 to 3 celebrating literacy and inspiring adults on how to support early language development. A committee of literacy and family engagement experts selected I’ll Build You a Bookcase by Jean Ciborowski Fahey as the winner.

We are thrilled to announce Lee & Low Books was chosen as the publisher to be a part of this endeavor.

With support from the William Penn Foundation, 25,000 copies will be ready for distribution in five languages for Philadelphia families. Partners including Reach Out and Read and the city’s grade-level reading campaign, Read by 4th, will distribute the books into the homes of families with young children.

As the largest children’s book publisher specializing in diversity and multiculturalism, Lee & Low Books is thrilled and honored with the opportunity to publish this contemporary, diverse story that all children can enjoy.

William Penn Foundation’s commitment and dedication to literacy and multicultural literature are to be commended. This will be transformative for families receiving their very first book ever and building their children’s home libraries.

Jason joined author Jean in Philadelphia to meet with others who are deeply engaged in thinking about children’s books – from writing and publishing to family and community engagement. Their conversation covered the role of children’s books in language development, the need for greater representation and cultural diversity in children’s literature, and the crucial role of parents and caregivers in early literacy and learning.

Listen or watch the discussion below, featuring:

  • Perri Klass, M.D., National Medical Director of Reach Out and Read; author of New York Times column, “The Checkup”
  • Jean Ciborowski Fahey, parent educator, author and speaker; winner of the Early Childhood Book Challenge
  • Jason Low, publisher and co-owner of Lee & Low Books
  • Rachel Honore, Family Navigator for Action for Early Learning at People’s Emergency Center

On behalf of everyone at Lee & Low Books, we want to thank the William Penn Foundation and the volunteer Selection Committee, along with all the dedicated people working on the Early Childhood Book Challenge at OpenIDEO.

The book will be available for wider distribution and we are accepting pre-orders in any of the languages. If you are interested in learning more about the book or bringing the winning story to your organization or city, please contact Jill Eisenberg at jeisenberg@leeandlow.com.

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