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JetBlue, Nickelodeon Donate 50,000 Books

A partnership among JetBlue, Nickelodeon, First Book and Candlewick Press has led to the donation of 50,000 books to children in the Long Beach area. Among the first recipients of the books were a group of Long Beach Unified School District Head Start pre-schoolers. They participate in the Family Literacy Program at the Long Beach School for Adults, where they joined in a reading party held recently to announce the generous donation. JetBlue and Nickelodeon launched the book campaign during National Children’s Book Week in November. JetBlue picked eight cities that the airline services and used an on-line poll to ask which city should receive the 50,000 books. Long Beach won with 25 percent of the votes. JetBlue and Nickelodeon have a joint partnership with the nonprofit First Book, which provides new books for children. First Book receives its books from publisher donations. Candlewick Press provided all of the books for Long Beach and is donating 15,000 books to each of the seven other cities. The books are distributed through various charities. "It’s our mission to get books into every child’s hands," said Beth Bingham, spokeswoman for First Book. "One of the leading indicators if a child will be a lifelong reader is if there is access to books in the home." Organizations distributing the donated books locally included the Long Beach Family Literacy Program, Long Beach Cares, Cambodian Association of America and Long Beach Childcare Network.