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News Release - Free copies of “The Little Red Fort” available for preschoolers in Colorado

Free copies of “The Little Red Fort” available for every 4-year-old child in Colorado

One Book Colorado’s book of the year will be available through Oct. 25

DENVER – A total of 75,000 free copies of the children’s book “The Little Red Fort,” written by Brenda Maier and illustrated by Sonia Sanchez, will be available in English and Spanish through Oct. 25 for every 4 year old in the state as part of the One Book Colorado program. A copy of “The Little Red Fort” is available for any child who is, or has been, 4 years old in 2020. 

One Book Colorado, now in its ninth year, is a privately funded collaboration among Serve Colorado, the Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, Denver7, Mile High United Way, and public and military libraries across the state. Additionally, Denver Public Libraries has joined as the program’s virtual event partner for 2020.

The 2020 One Book selection follows Ruby, a girl who finds some old boards and decides to build something. With sprightly text and winsome pictures, “The Little Red Fort” is a modern spin on the timeless tale of “The Little Red Hen” and celebrates the pluck and ingenuity of young creators everywhere. Copies of the book will be available through Sunday, Oct. 25, in every Denver Preschool Program classroom and through every public and military library in Colorado. Check with your local library to see how each location is handling book distribution. 

“We are so thrilled to be able to offer this year’s book to every 4 year old in Colorado. Getting books into the hands of our youth is so important, and we’re grateful to our sponsors who helped make this happen,” said Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera. “I read to my daughters every night as they were growing up, and I am happy to continue this tradition with my three grandchildren today.”

The One Book program stems from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy skills and helps parents and families serve as their children’s first and most important teachers. Research has shown that 37% of children begin kindergarten without the reading skills necessary for lifelong learning. Children are more likely to show up to their kindergarten classroom ready to read if they have had regular access to books and adults who read with them frequently. Visit the state’s new website, ReadWithMe.Today, to find tips and resources that can help parents make reading a part of their child’s daily routine.

“It is never too early for parents and family members to begin building a child’s love of reading,” said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. “By giving every child a book of their own, the One Book program is a great way to engage Colorado’s children who are learning to read. We are grateful that this program offers an opportunity for parents to help their young students develop this essential learning skill.”

For low-income families, access to quality books and early literacy efforts are even more important, as research shows that children in low-income families tend to have fewer books in their homes and are exposed to 30 million fewer words before the age of 4 than their higher-income peers. One Book Colorado aims to help close this vocabulary gap by giving a free book to every 4 year old in the state. 

Sponsors of One Book Colorado include McDonalds, Vroom, Parent Possible, State Farm, Growing Readers Together, Colorado Office of Early Childhood, Buell Foundation, Cydney and Tom Marsico Family Foundation, Junior League of Denver, PNC Bank, Scripps Howard Foundation, Southwest Airlines, Walmart, WH Smith, Aspen Community Foundation and the Colorado Department of Education.