JetBlue - Soar with Reading: Developing Solutions for “Book Deserts”

Oct 25, 2016 12:05 PM ET
Illustrations credit: Rebecca Mock

Reading helps children’s imaginations soar and supports academic success. Youth and education are core pillars of our community programs. We do all we can to get age-appropriate books to kids who need them most and provide children with the resources and tools to read. Working with partners including First Book and Random House Children’s Books, JetBlue has donated more than $2 million worth of books to kids in need over the past five years.

In 2014, JetBlue commissioned research by U.S. childhood literacy expert Dr. Susan Neuman, which revealed the growing challenge of “book deserts.” Working with an advisory board of childhood literacy and development experts, JetBlue’s corporate social responsibility team came up with a unique and innovative solution — free books delivered via public vending machines.

We successfully piloted the project during summer 2015 in the Anacostia community of Washington, DC, where research found only one in 830 children had access to an age-appropriate book. Thousands of children flocked to the vending machines located in a community center, a supermarket and a local church to select nearly 30,000 books to take home. In all, we gave away 100,000 books throughout Washington, DC, in 2015, targeting toddlers through young teens.

To learn more about JetBlue’s long-term responsibility platform and to view the full report, visit


JetBlue Corporate Communications

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