Project History

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One Book Colorado gives away over 75,000 copies of the same book to each 4-year-old in the state in English and Spanish through public libraries and Denver Preschool Program classrooms.

The privately-funded program began in 2012 as a collaboration between Lt. Governor’s office, Colorado Office of Early Literacy, Colorado State Library, the Denver Preschool Program, public and military libraries statewide, the private sector, and the nonprofit and foundation communities. It was known until this year as “One Book 4 Colorado,” and was modeled after the successful Preschool One Book, One Denver program. Both programs stem from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy skills and helps families serve as their children’s first and most important teachers.

Research shows that 4-year-olds who have access to books and adults who read to them will be more likely to be ready to read when they start kindergarten. 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 four than their higher-income peers. One Book Colorado aims to help close this vocabulary gap by getting a book into the home of every four-year-old in Colorado and fostering a culture of reading. A child must first learn to read, before he or she can read to learn.

One Book Colorado has distributed the following books:

  • 2012: Maybe a Bear Ate It! by Robie Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberely
  • 2013: Duck on a Bike by David Shannon
  • 2014: Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
  • 2015: How Do Dinosaurs Get Well Soon? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
  • 2016: Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees
  • 2017: Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley
  • 2018: Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown by Eric Litwin, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
  • 2019: Penguinaut! by Marcie Colleen, illustrated by Emma Yarlett

View PDF info-graphics on the successful results of the program in 2014, 2013, and 2012.