JetBlue’s ‘Soar with Reading’ initiative brings free book vending machines for kids across NYC

Posted On Mon, July 15, 2019 By

Posted On Mon, July 15, 2019 By In City Living

The founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks 14-year-old Marley Dias (pictured above), has partnered with the initiative as an ambassador; photo courtesy of JetBlue

After runs in cities like Detroit, San Francisco, Oakland, and Washington D.C., JetBlue’s free book vending machine program “Soar with Reading” is coming to New York City. The literacy initiative aims to create more access to age-appropriate books in underserved communities. JetBlue will install six vending machines—one in each borough and two in Queens—and will restock and rotate new titles every two weeks, with options available in both English and Spanish.

Photo courtesy of JetBlue

“I encourage children and their families to take as many books as they want, as often as they want, throughout the summer – no strings attached – in the hopes that offering free access to books in a fun and convenient way will spark a lifelong love of reading,” U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks, who represents New York’s Fifth Congressional District, said.

The program will be especially useful during the laid-back summer months when kids need new ways to stay engaged and entertained. “For kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, summer often marks the beginning of the infamous summer slide,” Dr. Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt, said.

“Studies have shown that owning 25 books or more has a sizable effect on achievement, with each additional increment of books, such as 10 or more, improving achievement. This program allows children to own books and combat the knowledge loss that so often accompanies summer.”

The initiative works closely with local community leaders and educators to identify the neighborhoods that would benefit most from having the additional resources and selects high-traffic areas, such as library branches and community centers, to install the vending machines. Check out the address of each location here.

Expect to find titles from publishers including HarperCollins, Little Bee Books, Lil’ Libros, Scholastic, Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group and Barefoot Books.

The founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, 14-year-old Marley Dias (pictured above), has partnered with the initiative as an ambassador and her book, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You! will be featured in the vending machines until the program comes to an end on August 31st.


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