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Harvesting a great education through books

Special Interest Programme / Partner story / Video

Photo: © Oak Foundation

Book Harvest, a not-for-profit organisation based in Durham, North Carolina, is building a library of free-of-charge, good quality books for low-income children. Through donations of new and gently used children’s books from local communities, Book Harvest provides children under 18 with books to take home, for free, no strings attached.

Ginger Young, founding executive director of Book Harvest, believes that ownership is important, not just for the enjoyment of stories but also because it plays a role in healthy brain development, school readiness and social equity. Because families of lower-income tend to own less books, book ownership is linked to a childhood’s likelihood for success.

Since eight per cent of the brain is developed between birth and age three, it is imperative that children learn language and vocabulary within this time frame, to give them the best chance to succeed in life. 

“Our job at Book Harvest is to make sure that every family has a home library for their child from the time their baby is born and that every parent has all the support he or she needs to be the book reader. If we can help nourish a child’s brain from birth, we will have children who start kindergarten ready to learn, who are reading proficiently in third grade and who go on to graduate from high school to a career or college, if that is what they want.

– Ginger Young, founding executive director of Book Harvest.

In autumn 2018, Book Harvest provided its millionth book to a local child. But Ginger claims Book Harvest is just getting started. She envisions a world in which reading, learning and access to information are considered rights, not privileges. At Oak, we are excited about Ginger’s vision. We wish her and the team every success in their endeavours to bring their passion for reading to all children in North Carolina.

This grant falls under our Special Interest Programme, which supports a wide range of fields, including health, humanitarian relief, education and the arts. Find out more here.