Books for BC Babies in Jeopardy

Vancouver, BC; September 14, 2010 – Books for BC Babies (B4B) is urgently seeking financial support in order to continue operations. B4B is an early literacy and parenting program that seeks to address developmental challenges at the earliest stages in the lives of all BC children, including the twenty-nine per cent that arrive at Kindergarten developmentally vulnerable.1 In order to operate in 2011, B4B needs to raise more than $250,000 through private donations or sponsorships before January.

B4B was launched in BC in 2005, and had been fully funded by the provincial government until recent cutbacks. The program is based on extensive research that supports the correlation between positive newborn environments and children’s future success rates. The program delivers learning resources directly to families of all newborns in BC and connects them to additional resources in their community. In 2009, more than 40,000 resource kits were distributed.

“Reading, talking, and singing to newborns are the best ways to build early language and literacy skills – skills that impact a child’s lifelong development,” says Rhian Piprell, Co-Chair, Books for BC Babies. “By providing a parenting resource at a crucial stage of a child’s life, we can give kids the best chance at future success.”

Research conducted by The Council for Early Child Development has demonstrated that newborn experiences matter. The relationship between caregiver and infant plays a pivotal role in influencing neural pathways for language and higher cognitive functions, especially within the first 12 months of a child’s life.2

“Early childhood development depends upon the experiences children have in the environments where they grow,” says Dr. Clyde Hertzman, Director, Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP) UBC. “The Books for BC Babies program provides families with the resources they need early in the child's life to begin to create the positive experiences that influence the child’s subsequent life chances.”

In most communities, public libraries work with public health nurses and health centres to deliver the Books for BC Babies Resource Kits to families of newborns. The kits include tools to get families started in reading, singing, and playing with their babies. Materials include a guide for parents, a board book, a CD of rhymes and songs, and information about local library and community resources.

In order to save the program, the B4B Steering Committee is looking for donations from the public and has developed a full range of sponsorship opportunities for the private sector. Given that the program is delivered by existing resources, one hundred percent of funds raised will be used to purchase Books for BC Babies kits. Each kit costs approximately seven dollars.

Donations can be made online at Companies interested in sponsorship opportunities can contact program co-chairs Rhian Piprell at 604-937-4132 (or via email or Jim Looney at 604-435-1551 (

1 “15 by 15”, The Business Council of BC.

2 “The Science of Early Child Development.” Council for Early Child Development. April 2010.