Book People Unite for Children’s Literacy

Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), a children’s literacy nonprofit, launched Tuesday “Book People Unite,” an awareness campaign to focus a spotlight on children’s literacy.

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.

The PSA is a collaboration among RIF, the Library of Congress and the Ad Council and was created by Mother New York.

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, believes RIF.

“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.”

The PSA is showcasing several of America’s most beloved book characters—Curious George, Clifford, Madeline, and Babar, to name a few. They 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.

Additional components of the campaign include online banner ads, radio spots, print and outdoor ads asking viewers to visit to join the movement by declaring themselves a “book person” through an online pledge.

Each person who takes the pledge will receive a free download of the “Book People Unite” anthem and action tools to ignite a reading renaissance in their own backyard.

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Rakesh Raman