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Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), the largest children’s literacy nonprofit in the country, is launching “Book People Unite,” a bold awareness campaign to focus a spotlight on children’s literacy nationwide. The campaign, anchored by a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) with beloved book characters and a star-studded soundtrack, aims to spark a movement to put books in the hands of children who need them most.
America’s most beloved book — Curious George, Clifford, Madeline, and Babar—travel beyond their storybook pages to the beat of a new, original song, “Book People Unite,” featuring donated talent and produced by Grammy award-winning band The Roots.
Celebrity vocalists Jack Black, Chris Martin (Coldplay), John Legend, Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Jason Schwartzman, Consequence, Regina Spektor, Nate Ruess (fun.), Carrie Brownstein (Portlandia) and Melanie Fiona lend their voices to the anthem. And Emmy award-winning actor, LeVar Burton, makes a special cameo.
In 2011, RIF provided 14 million books to 4 million children to keep as their own. Access to books continues to be one of the single most important factors in a student’s success, but far too many of America’s children do not have this most basic resource for learning.
There are 16 million children living in poverty in the United States, the highest number in two decades. In low-income neighborhoods, there is only 1 book for every 300 children.
“While many children are falling further and further behind, so are their chances for a successful future. It is clear we don’t just have an issue to solve, we have a movement to ignite,” said Carol Rasco, president and CEO of RIF. “One book can spark a lifetime of ambition and we are asking the nation to join us in building a literate America where all kids can explore, dream and achieve. Together, we can realize our vision of a literate America.”
“I have witnessed time and again the transformative power of books. Whether it’s a bound book or an e-book, reading helps children overcome obstacles — opening doors to a wider world of experiences,” said Burton, host and producer of the beloved children’s program Reading Rainbow.
The PSA was directed by Rafael Fernandez with Green Dot Films and features specially-crafted puppets by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop and animated characters brought to life by Curious Pictures. Per the Ad Council’s model, the PSA will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.
“The montage of book characters come alive in these heartwarming PSAs to motivate parents to establish positive reading practices with their children,” said Peggy Conlon, president and CEO of the Ad Council.
“We hope this entertaining campaign — combining beloved children’s book characters and world-renowned musical talent — inspires families to establish a lifelong love of reading,” said Gayle Osterberg, director of communications at the Library of Congress.
“RIF has a long history of inspiring children to read and achieve, and we’re thrilled to see their reenergized image and this bold campaign take off to get more people connected to this critical cause,” said Martine Reardon, Chief Marketing Officer at Macy’s. “We’ve declared ourselves ‘Book People’ and encourage our customers and readers of all ages to do the same.”