Encouraging Literacy in the Youngest Readers with I’ll Build You a Bookcase

Slider Image of all four bilingual editions of I'll Build You a Bookcase to the left of image of people of diverse backgrounds in a park surrounding two bookshelves

Last year, we were thrilled to announce our collaboration with William Penn Foundation and OpenIDEO on the Early Childhood Book Challenge. The winning story, I’ll Build You a Bookcase, releases today!

Written by early literacy specialist and parent educator, Jean Ciborowski Fahey, and illustrated by the award-winning Simone ShinI’ll Build You a Bookcase is for children birth to age 3. Told in simple, sweet rhyme, it celebrates the joy of reading and discovering new stories and is designed to inspire parents and caregivers to read to their child every day.

We will be releasing I’ll Build You a Bookcase in four bilingual editions:
English/Spanish
Vietnamese/English
Mandarin/English
Arabic/English

Building Early Language Skills

Reading for even ten minutes a day has proven to build important language skills, curiosity and memory in young children, and encourages a positive association with books and reading later in life.

Features of I’ll Build You a Bookcase:
–    High-frequency words
–    Illustrations support the text and message
–    Engaging art from award-winning illustrator
–    Contemporary art features diverse families
–    Topic and concepts familiar to children

About the Partnership

In a groundbreaking initiative funded by the William Penn Foundation, OpenIDEO launched the Early Childhood Book Challenge in 2019 seeking an original story for children ages 0 to 3 that would inspire children and their caregivers to read together.

Author Jean Ciborowski Fahey’s winning manuscript was selected by a committee of literacy and family engagement experts. As an early literacy specialist and parent educator, Fahey crafted a story that celebrates literacy and supports early language development. Coupled with charming and vibrant art by award-winning illustrator Simone ShinI’ll Build You a Bookcase is an essential addition to every bookshelf.

With support from the William Penn Foundation, 25,000 copies will be distributed for free to Philadelphia families with young children, including through Reach Out and Read.

ReadWilliam Penn Foundation Chooses Lee & Low Books as Publisher for the Early Childhood Book Challenge
ReadLee & Low Books Signs Award-Winning Illustrator for Early Childhood Book Challenge
WatchLet’s Talk Children’s Books: A conversation with writing, publishing & family engagement experts
WatchAnnouncement: Early Childhood Book Challenge – Top Manuscript

What People Are Saying

“Talking and reading with children is how we lay the groundwork for strong readers in the future, even when it seems like they are too young to understand. This book seeks to engage children with its emotionally resonant writing and storyline, while giving ideas to adults about how to support early language development. We are eager to share I’ll Build You a Bookcase with Philadelphia families, and we hope to see this book reach families around the country.”

—Elliot Weinbaum, Program Director at William Penn Foundation

“Shin’s gorgeous artwork incorporates a sense of joy and inclusiveness that’s sure to engage young readers. We are proud to have her as part of this groundbreaking project to promote early childhood literacy.”

—Jason Low, Publisher of Lee & Low Books

Read more about I’ll Build You a Bookcase here.

See the Activity Guide for additional activities, resources for reading with babies and young children, and more.

Share our promotional flyer with educators and caregivers.

For bulk purchase or special sales please contact Jill Eisenberg at jeisenberg@leeandlow.com

2 thoughts on “Encouraging Literacy in the Youngest Readers with I’ll Build You a Bookcase”

  1. Fantastic to see the many bilingual versions of this book! When will the English only version be available?

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