The Largest Book Party in St. Louis - 2015
Books For STL Kids provides a critical resource to children in need. Access to books is essential to reading development, however, 61% of low-income families have no books for children in their homes. Over 80% of childcare centers serving low-income children lack age-appropriate books and other print materials. By providing children with books they can take home and keep, Books For STL Kids targets the only variable that correlates significantly with reading scores ... the number of books located in the home.
In addition to reaching children directly through after school programs and child care centers, we participate in several annual community events to distribute books to children in need as well as hosting our largest annual event - The Largest Book Party in St. Louis.
The Largest Book Party in St. Louis continues to grow and gain tremendous momentum. In 2019, 473 children and approximately 105 adults and volunteers joined together at the James J. Eagan Center in Florissant to celebrate reading. At our 16 reading stations, storytellers and uniformed police officers and firefighters read stories to the children, then, each child was able to each select 4 new books to take home and keep. More than 1,800 new books were distributed to the attendees at the event.
Books for STL Kids began 20 years ago as First Book - St. Louis. Nationally, First Book was established in 1992 and the local First Book-St. Louis chapter began in 1998. At the end of 2015, First Book-St. Louis changed its name to Books for STL Kids to better reflect the mission of giving new books to children in need in the St. Louis community. All other aspects of the organization have remained the same since 1998 – only the name has changed. Books for STL Kids has distributed more than 166,000 books since 1998, to more than 85 existing literacy programs.