Mary Ellen Chase, an American scholar, teacher, and writer was quoted as saying, “There is no substitute for books in the life of a child.” As we embrace the technology age, we have found that children still love books. For the past 20 years, WHRO Children's Services, along with grants and local foundations, has provided books to support children in challenging circumstances to start their own libraries. The Children's Services department will be conducting a book drive December 2 through December 13.

“Some parents said their children slept with their book,” said Carolyn Miller, a youth associate at Horace C. Downing Library in Norfolk. “I think First Books is a wonderful program.” Books are distributed to the children after parent trainings and at school and community events. After attending the parent trainings, some parents commented that they had not previously realized how valuable reading was.

“Once you open the door to reading, the world is open and there is no turning back,” said Miller. “This program encourages and motivates them to read more and help see the world in a different way. The parents also enjoy reading the books that were given to the children, and it has opened a new world of increased reading for the parents.

”If you would like to donate a new book appropriate for grades pre-K through fifth, please mark them “Attention: Children’s Services” and give them to the receptionist at the WHRO offices at 5200 Hampton Boulevard.If you would like more information about WHRO’s First Books initiative, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..