Kamaaina Causes / The first book I ever remember reading was Green Eggs and Ham. I don’t know where it came from or where it went–all that mattered at the time was that it was mine, and it fostered my love of not only literature, but of education. Not every kid was as lucky (or adorable) as little freckled me. Many underprivileged children on Oahu don’t have the means to own books that they can carry with them everywhere or proudly read to anyone passing by. Every child deserves an education, and with that, the right to read. First Book-Oahu (FBO) aims to make that dream come true.
The volunteer-run nonprofit is the local branch of the national First Book organization that promotes literacy through new-book purchases for low-income or disadvantaged families. FBO has been raising money and distributing books (more than 12,500 to date) to organizations such as Hawaii Literacy Inc., Molokai Youth Center, Rainbow School, Good Beginnings Alliance, Hawaii Family Literacy Consortium and Child and Family Services since 2001.
Misty Sanico, advisory board chair for the Oahu chapter, explains how it works: “What happens is First Book . . . has a bank of books from publishers that they are able to purchase at a low cost.” Once an organization or group registers with First Book, they can “either be sent books or be given a certain amount of money to use at a book store of First Book.” The goal is for children to receive new books that they can call their own, which is why FBO only accepts monetary donations rather than used books.
To continue First Book-Oahu’s tradition of giving thousands of books to children in need, you can donate online at [firstbookoahu.org] or get involved more directly by volunteering to be on the next advisory board. Email [email: oahu_hi] for more information.