Letter From the President

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Burt-&-StudentThroughout 2018, My Own Book has been celebrating its 20th Anniversary and I’m delighted to report our organization is thriving. We’ve continued to broaden our reach in New York City public schools and are currently active in 58 schools.

Chancellor FarinaAt our annual volunteer meeting in 2014, NYC Chancellor of Schools, Carmen Farina, was our guest speaker. She was familiar with our program and urged our volunteers to continue their good work of inspiring the children to read more and more widely to bring the program into the children’s homes.

Our mission is simple and urgent: to foster the love of reading and joy of book ownership among New York City’s poorest children. It begins with a simple invitation: “Come with us on a class shopping trip to an exciting book store, browse through the wonderful selection of children’s books, and My Own Book will give you $50 to buy books and start your own library at home.”

Studies show an important link between having books in the home and a child’s chance of future educational success in life. Since My Own Book’s founding in 1999, our goal has been to help level the playing field for those children who have not had the fun of a journey through a bookstore selecting and purchasing books to own and enjoy.

Burt & Student 2This year alone, 4500 children, many of whom had never been to a bookstore, participated in our program, purchasing over 30,000 treasured books to be read and re-read alone and with their families. Evidence shows that this experience triggers increased enthusiasm for reading and improved literacy skills.

We couldn’t be as effective as we are without support from foundations, corporations, individual donors, and our wonderful cadre of dedicated volunteers. Since 2012, thanks to a generous grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust, we have been able to add 10 more schools in the Bronx to our roster.

Also, special thanks to the Table 4 Writers Foundation for its generous support in memory of Elaine Kaufman, the legendary New
Yorker whose Elaine’s restaurant was a second home to countless famous writers.

I urge you to review the information on our website and learn more from the testimonials of parents, teachers, and the children themselves.


Burt Freeman

January 2019