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Mayra with baby boy Dylan, left, and Adriana with her daughter Maria Jaimes at a First Book event at Hood River Fire Department.

Children and teachers are starting to get ready for school. First Book/Hood River is also getting ready for the new school year.

In August, First Book will be doing their annual fundraising effort  in order to have enough funds to give out fall grants to local literacy programs. Book grants will be given in early October and January 2020.

All of the funds received will go towards books for children through the national First Book Marketplace, www.firstbook.org.

Books cost an average of $3 and are popular books children love to read, said a press release.

In June, Family Services had a book distribution where they gave out 30 books to 30 children. The event was held at the Hood River Fire Department. Children got a tour, had an opportunity to squirt the hose at a replica of a burning house, and planted a seed in a decorated cup. The parents were also reminded of car seat safety.

 During the past year, Family Services has given out about 530 books to 120 children in Hood River County.

Julie Ryan of Family Services described a home visit she had with a toddler:

“As soon as we got in the house, he wanted his mom to read the book to him. He was so excited — he had already been turning pages for awhile, but we had been working on encouraging him to point. Sure enough, when mom and baby started reading his new book, he started pointing at the pictures, and there was a lovely interaction with him pointing and mom naming the items. Such great early literacy for this little boy, and developmental milestone reached thanks to First Book.”

The First Book literacy community effort is made possible by the volunteer Local Advisory First Book Board, Lions Foundation Trust, Columbia Gorge United Way, and donations from individuals and businesses that support literacy for children birth to 18 years.

The mission of First Book is to eradicate illiteracy by getting books to children from low income families who own few books of their own and to inspire a love for reading.

Volunteers are needed to serve on the board, advertise the program, write grants and assist in fundraising efforts.

For more information, contact Nancy Johanson Paul at 541-490-5330 or nancypaul@gorge.net.

Tax deductible donations can be sent to First Book/Hood River P.O. Box 221, Hood River, OR 97031. Any funds sent to the national First Book office will be used for their nation-wide effort rather than specifically in Hood River County, said a press release.

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