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First Book and Penguin Random House Partner to Bring Brand New Books and Red Mittens to Kids in Need Through Red Mitten Campaign

WASHINGTON, D.C. — First Book, the nonprofit social enterprise that has 13distributed more than 150 million books to kids in need, and Penguin Random House, a global leader in children’s publishing, are partnering to bring 5,000 brand-new books and pairs of warm red mittens to children in low-income communities this winter. The Red Mitten Campaign, supported by award-winning children’s author Andrea Davis Pinkney and the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, marks the release of Pinkney’s “A Poem for Peter,” which tells the inspiring story of Keats, author of “The Snowy Day,” and creator of Peter, the book’s red-suited main character. 

The Campaign will donate up to 5,000 brand-new books and 5,000 pairs of brand-new red mittens for every Ezra Jack Keats title sold in participating book stores through the end of December. 

“We are so grateful to Penguin Young Readers and Andrea Davis Pinkney for partnering with us to celebrate this iconic title and simultaneously serve children,” said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. “Pairing the beloved Peter – one of the first widely-read children’s books featuring an African-American child – with a pair of warm mittens for a child in need is a gift that meets some of the most acute needs in the communities we serve. It supports our mission to promote diversity in children’s literature, and it provides warmth in the winter months.” 

Listed as a “Best Book of 2016” by Amazon, Kirkus Reviews, and Publisher’s Weekly, Kirkus says “A Poem for Peter” is, “A love letter to the man who gave readers the beautiful and enduring image of a black boy in a red hooded snowsuit…More to the point, Pinkney lets readers know what Peter meant and still means as a milestone in inclusive children’s literature…He brought a world of white / suddenly alive with color…A loving and forceful reminder that Keats’ Peter is our Peter—always.” 

“When a child has warm hands on a cold day, those hands can hold a book,” Pinkney said. “Those same warm hands and their eager fingers can point out a book’s pictures, follow its words, turn its pages, and share that book with the next reader.  I’m so grateful to First Book for making warm hands and eager readers possible.”  

Book ownership and a print-rich environment are leading indicators of a child’s educational success, but for the 32 million children growing up in low-income families in the U.S. alone , books are scarce. A recent study found that in one Washington, D.C., neighborhood, there was only one book for every 830 children.

About First Book

First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise founded in 1992 that has distributed more than 150 million books and educational resources to programs and schools serving children from low-income families throughout the United States and Canada, which, with more than 275,000 members, is the largest and fastest growing network of educators exclusively serving kids in need. By making new, high-quality books and educational resources available on an ongoing basis, First Book is transforming the lives of children in need and elevating the quality of education. Eligible educators, librarians, program leaders, and others serving children in need can sign up at firstbook.org/register. For more information, please visit firstbook.org or follow the latest news on Facebook and Twitter

About Penguin Random House

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively. With nearly 250 independent imprints and brands on five continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide, including the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, China, India, South Africa, Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Peru, Portugal, and Uruguay. With over 15,000 new titles, and close to 800 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 60 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.


Melanie Boyer, First Book
(202) 639-0114

Lauren Donovan, Penguin Random House
(212) 414‐3639

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