Books for Kids

Books for Kids

Books for Kids is a Greater Mankato Area United Way program designed to instill the joy of reading in children by providing free books and parenting resources to families in our region. Since 1997, this program has helped build children’s home libraries, encourage literacy skills, and foster school readiness. Our longtime partner Capstone Publishing donates thousands of books every other month, which United Way distributes via mail to children ages 2 months through 4 years, 11 months. In 2020, Books for Kids provided nearly 30,000 books to regional children.

Parents may sign up their children for the program at any time; any child between 2 months and 4 years, 11 months can participate if they live within United Way’s service area of Blue Earth, Nicollet, Le Sueur, or Waseca counties, or if a parent works in Mankato/North Mankato.

Thank you to our sponsor Capstone, as well as in-kind supporters City of North Mankato, Corporate Graphics International, Kato Moving & Storage, Paragon Printing and Piepho Moving & Storage.

2021 Update: Thank you for your patience as we adapt this program due to COVID-related changes. In 2021, books will be shipped in the following months. We plan to be back to our every-other-month schedule in 2022. 

2021 Delivery Months:

March

April

May

August

September

November


Volunteer with United Way’s Books for Kids program!

We are seeking volunteers to help with labeling/stamping envelopes, sticker Capstone books, and putting books/newsletters into the envelopes to be mailed to 4,000 kids in the region per shipment.

Our next mailing preparation will take place August 9-10 at Fire Station #2,1825 Howard Drive, North Mankato, MN 56003.

To sign-up for a shift, please click on the link provided below. Sign up for more than one shift if your schedule allows.

Volunteer

CLICK HERE to view upcoming Books for Kids volunteer opportunity dates. 

We will be socially distanced and masked. Please feel free to bring a bottle of water if desired.

Books for Kids Sponsor:

Capstone
 

HOW IT WORKS

Books and newsletters are mailed to children of all backgrounds and income levels via USPS.

WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Books have the power to change a child’s life. Reading at an early age is proven to increase school readiness by developing literacy skills, language patterns, attention spans, and creativity.

As a child grows, reading becomes increasingly important for understanding the world and achieving academic success. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends reading aloud to children daily, beginning in infancy. Reading aloud not only builds children’s language and pre-literacy skills, but also exposes them to new ideas; builds their social, emotional, and problem-solving skills; strengthens parent-child relationships; and inspires them to be lifelong learners. Plus, reading is fun!

Research shows the importance of reading, but many children do not have access to age-appropriate books or transportation to regularly visit local libraries. Poverty remains high in our region, affecting families with young children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children from low-income families have fewer literacy resources within the home and are less likely to be read to regularly than their higher-income peers. The Books for Kids program puts books directly into a child’s hands, regardless of income level.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE

Birthday

WHO QUALIFIES

Children ages 2 months through 4 years

Region

Service Area

Blue Earth, Le Sueur, Nicollet and Waseca counties

Calendar

Frequency

Book mailed every other month
Newsletter mailed each month

Cost

Cost

FREE!

Source: 
*MN Compass (Wilder Foundation), 2012-2016.
**American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement: “Literacy Promotion: An Essential Component of Primary Care Pediatric Practice.” August 2014. http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/06/19/peds.201….

As part of the Books for Kids program, families also receive the monthly First Steps and Early Learning Digest newsletters.

Parents may sign up their children for the program at any time; any child between 2 months and 4 years, 11 months can participate if they live within United Way’s service area of Blue Earth, Nicollet, Le Sueur, or Waseca counties, or if a parent works in Mankato/North Mankato.

Sign up for Books for Kids Program

Parent/Guardian Information

Child Information

For address changes, please contact our office by emailing Cindy at CindyR@mankatounitedway.org.

Please include in the following information: 

  • Your name

  • Your child's name

  • Month/year of birth

  • Updated mailing address

 

Volunteers for Books for Kids

We seek volunteers throughout the year to help us stamp/label envelopes, sticker books, and package books for our Books for Kids mailing. Let us know if you or your group are interested in volunteering!

Upcoming 2021 Books For Kids Volunteer Opportunities: 
May 10-14 
August 9-13
Sept 20-24
Nov 8-12

Shifts will be posted closer to the dates.