Literati, the popular curator and distributor of children's books, announced this week that it will expand its Literati Book Fair operations into Minneapolis in partnership with nonprofit literacy organization Start Reading Now. The arrangement will bring some 21 free Literati Book Fairs to Minneapolis schools in 2023 and will fund free books for kids in need. The initiative marks Literati's entrance into the Minneaplois market.

A curator and distributor of children's books, including subscription book boxes and online book clubs, Literati launched its school book fair business across the United States in March 2022 with the purchase of Follett Book Fairs. Literati has since expanded its operations to serve 24 states across the U.S.

According to a release, Start Reading Now, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit chartered to close the achievement gap for kids in grades 1-3, will host and fund free book fairs for kids in need starting this spring. (Start Reading now has identified Minneapolis schools with 55% or more of their student population enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.) The group will supply thousands of young students in Minneapolis with vouchers to buy 10 new books of their choice at a Literati Book Fair. In all, Start Reading Now and Literati Book Fairs are expected to serve over 3,000 kids at 21 schools across Minneapolis.

“We are proud to partner with Start Reading Now to help kids across Minneapolis fall in love with reading and find incredible books to call their own,” said Literati Founder and CEO Jessica Ewing, in a statement. “We want to ensure that every kid, no matter their circumstance, can enjoy the magic of a Literati Book Fair.”

Since its founding in 2016, Start Reading Now has served more than 22,000 students and donated over 250,000 books, enabling young readers in low-income families to build home libraries and to read over summer break and avoid the so-called summer slide.

In a release, Start Reading Now chairman Jim Wolford said that school book fairs are at the heart of the group’s mission. “We simply could not serve these kids without a well-oiled machine behind us, supplying cost-effective books, checkout tools, and logistics,” Wolford said. “Literati offers all that plus a shared commitment to literacy programs and our teams are eager to kick things off in May.”