First Book partnership makes bilingual books available

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In an effort to get bilingual books into the hands of Milwaukee's Latino children, members from the AFT's higher education and healthcare locals partnered with a low-wage workers and immigrants rights organization to launch its own First Book campaign.

First Book in Milwaukee

AFT Local 212 at the Milwaukee Area Technical College, the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses & Health Professionals, and Voces de la Frontera kicked off their campaign on Jan. 6, with an event at St. Hyacinth Church in Milwaukee.

After morning mass at the church, children were treated to a reading of a Curious George story in English and Spanish. One hundred gift-wrapped books, provided through AFT's partnership with First Book, then were distributed to the children. A nonprofit organization, First Book has distributed more than 90 million new, high-quality books to kids across the country who otherwise could not afford them.

"We understand that investing in early childhood education is really the most important investment any community can make. We want to give every child in Milwaukee the opportunity to succeed," says Michael Rosen, president of AFT Local 212.

"This is a positive project that will put the children on a path to a better future," notes Candice Owley, WFNHP president and an AFT vice president.

The organizations are holding a virtual book drive until Feb.6 to raise funds to buy more books for children in the Milwaukee area. The groups hope to raise enough money to distribute at least 1,000 bilingual books at an Edufest that will be held in late February or early March. [Adrienne Coles/photo by Sue Ruggles]

January 11, 2013