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Global Literacy Initiative Pledges Books for 10 Million Children

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First Book, a nonprofit devoted to supplying new educational materials to children in need, pledged Tuesday to provide books and digital resources to 10 million children worldwide by 2016, according to a news release. The new initiative to boost global literacy, announced Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative's annual meeting in New York City, will entail a $9 million, three-year expansion. First Book had previously focused its efforts on youth in the United States and Canada, and is currently seeking funders for the plan, noted Brian Minter, First Book's Director of Communications, in an email exchange.

Under the new plan, First Book will increase the number of titles it offers from about 5,000 to 10,000; distribute 62 million resources globally by 2016; offer educators deeply discounted materials; and reach a projected 10 million children annually, with a special focus on supporting young women and girls, according to the announcement. At first, the organization will focus its new educational efforts in India, Brazil, Egypt, and other parts of the Middle East. The organization's efforts will expand to other geographic regions as it develops further partnerships with nongovernmental organizations and other programs.

"Education is the most powerful tool to open the doors to self-determination and equality," said Kyle Zimmer, the president and chief executive officer of First Book, in the release. "This truth is universal—whether you are in South Africa, South Korea, or South Carolina. Perhaps that is why those who seek to control people—through terrorism, intimidation, violence, or economic means—are so afraid of it."

Organizations can register to receive books and other materials on First Book's website. They can also buy reduced-price books on the First Book Marketplace and newly launched First Book Global Marketplace.

Last year, as covered by BookMarks, First Book gave away its 100-millionth book. For those interested, other notable groups that promote global literacy include Book Aid International, the African Library Project, and Books for the Barrios.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated that First Book's new global literacy initiative will be funded in full by a grant from the Clinton Global Initiative.

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