Why Literacy Matters

We can't solve every problem in the world, but we believe children's books can help.

Illiteracy is linked to many challenges.


of young adults with criminal records have difficulty reading.1


of juvenile crime is done by school dropouts2, and illiteracy has a significant impact on dropout rates.3 


of young adults who struggle with drug abuse also struggle with reading.4

Meanwhile, reading unlocks opportunities.

“A child who reads will be an adult who thinks.”

—Sasha Salmina

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope . . . the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realize his or her full potential.”

—Kofi Annan

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.”

—Frederick Douglass

The good news: Books can be a leg up for struggling kids.

Just having books around matters. Consider this:

"Children growing up in homes with many books get 3 years more schooling than children from bookless homes, independent of their parents’ education, occupation, and class. This is as great an advantage as having university educated rather than unschooled parents, and twice the advantage of having a professional rather than an unskilled father. It holds equally in rich nations and in poor; in the past and in the present; under Communism, capitalism, and Apartheid; and most strongly in China." 

—M.D.R. Evans, Jonathan Kelley, Joanna Sikora, Donald J. Treiman. Family scholarly culture and educational success: Books and schooling in 27 nations. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility. Volume 28, Issue 2, 2010. Pages 171-197,

The bad news: Most low-income kids live in a book desert.

61% of low-income homes don't have a single age-appropriate book.


In middle-income households, the ratio of books to children is 13 books to every child.


In low-income households, that ratio swings to 1 book for every 300 child.


2/3 of kids who are behind in reading by 4th grade will end up in prison or on welfare.

That's where we can make a difference.

With our Book-for-Book Promise™, Bushel & Peck Books is putting quality children's books into the hands of as many kids as possible. With books comes an increased interest in reading and learning, and with that comes a greater likelihood of future success. 

Over 60% of low-income families have no books for children. Help us donate

1,000,000 books by 2028.