Grant programs that provide free books are mostly focused on children. Usually they are provided by publishers of children’s literature and school textbooks. These book programs supply the resources needed by our teachers, schools and libraries to instill a love of reading to a new generation of kids. The overall mission of book grants is to encourage literacy, especially in situations where exposure to reading is low.
Lee and Low Books African-American Classroom Guides
This is a program offered by the independent book publisher Lee and Low Books. The company was founded in 1991 and has a strong track record of publishing children’s books ever since. As a minority-owned company, it works with many writers and illustrators of color and often publishes titles that have a multicultural focus. It offers teaching materials that compliment the stories told in their books through its African-American Classroom Guides program. Teachers can download free digital classroom guides in PDF format that turn the stories of Lee and Low Books into classroom discussions. The program engages school children by incorporating reading into lesson plans. All of the guides offered cover stories of African-American interest and are suitable for kids from Grade 1-6.
Literacy Empowerment Foundation
This non-profit organization provides two programs that provide free and reduced cost books to schools and reading programs that work children. LEF offers Free Spanish Books to both schools and reading programs. Titles are available for kids from pre-K to 2nd grade reading levels. Books are offered entirely free but you will have to pay a shipping, handling and administrative cost of 68 cents per book. The other program provides Common Core Book Grants that offer collections of common core book sets to schools only under a buy one get one free offer. For each set purchased, LEF will provide a second set for free. Schools can purchase as many books under the half price discount as they want up to $40,000. Sets include 6 copies each of 24 books or 1 copy each of 144 books. The common core program is available until December 31, 2013.
Scholastic Book Grants
Scholastic is the world’s largest children’s book publisher and distributor. Harry Potter, Goosebumps, and The Hunger Games are all published by Scholastic. Through its corporate responsibility initiatives, it offers a book grants program that provides millions of books a year through donations to schools, libraries and non-profit organizations. Usually the company works through non-profit organizations to identify its large-scale grants of 100,000 or more books. One of its current book programs is supplying replacement reading materials to schools and libraries affected by Hurricane Sandy. It does accept smaller unsolicited requests for 500-1,000 books. Fill out this application form to apply.
Wilbrooks Free Educational Books
This is a supplier of books for children from pre-k to 2nd grade reading levels. Over 60,000 schools currently use their books. They offer a number of programs that supply free or low-cost books to educators for use by students. One offers 100 free books for every title a teacher reviews through a book review program. It also offers free books to first and second year teachers. Several of its programs offer one free book for every book purchased by schools. To contact Wilbrooks about any of these programs, call 610-436-8755.
For more grants that offer books to library programs, see our article on Library Grants.