Less than a week after President Obama announced an initiative to expand access to digital resources and libraries, First Book ramped up its effort to make diverse books accessible to children in need. The Washington, D.C. literary nonprofit is partnering with the Target Corporation, KPMG, and JetBlue to make 60,000 trade paperbacks--of six different titles, containing diverse characters and multicultural themes--available to educators and programs that deal with economically disadvantaged children.

The initiative is part of First Book’s ongoing Stories for All Project, which was launched in 2013 as part of the Clinton Foundation’s Global Initiative Commitment to Action to promote multicultural children’s literature in the marketplace.

Five of the six titles--selected from hundreds nominated by publishers--were available previously in hardcover. They include Niño Wrestles the World (Roaring Brook/Porter), written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales; And Tango Makes Three (S&S), written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole; Tiger in My Soup (Peachtree), written by Kashmira Sheth illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler; Boats for Papa (Roaring Brook/Porter), written and illustrated by Jessixa Bagley; Emmanuel’s Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah (Random/Schwartz & Wade), written by Laurie Ann Thompson, illustrated by Sean Quails; and Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for Me (Little, Brown), written by Daniel Beaty, illustrated by Bryan Collier.

The selected titles will each receive 10,000-copy print runs, and book jackets imprinted with First Book’s emblem. The books will be available for sale to the approximately 175,000 educators and programs that First Book serves via the First Book Marketplace e-commerce website. Prices for the books are all in the $3 range. All of the 895 titles that are part of the Stories for All Project are priced in the First Book Marketplace at 50-90% below retail. There are a total of 6,000 titles for sale on the e-commerce site.

While Boats for Papa will be available for sale this summer in a paper format on First Book Marketplace, it will be released to the general public in a hardcover print format in June.

The First Book editions of three of the titles--Niño Wrestles the World, And Tango Makes Three, and Tiger in My Soup--are already available for sale through First Book Marketplace and in Target stores; those three titles include a note inside about the partnership between Target and First Book. The other three books will be made available this summer, exclusively to First Book’s database of educators and programs.

“People can join,” First Book public relations manager Julia Hornaday told PW. “Anyone working in the lives of children in need can sign up with First Book. It’s free, and they will gain access to these titles, and so many others.”

"We at Macmillan could not be more delighted about this collaboration with First Book and Target,” stated Angus Killick, v-p and associate publisher for Macmillan Children's Publishing Group and co-chair of the Macmillan Diversity Council. “The potential to reach a broad audience with these carefully chosen books is particularly exciting. I hope the success of Stories for All will encourage future promotions that reach parents and children who might otherwise be unaware these great titles exist."