The Valley’s youngest residents will benefit from this month’s Grow A Reader virtual book drive sponsored by Southwest Human Development. Residents can donate books online or through local participating businesses (submitted photo).

Nearly two out of three children in low-income Arizona communities do not have a single children’s book to call their own, and it is that lack of resources that Southwest Human Development is addressing to help improve literacy among young children.

The organization is launching its annual Grow A Reader Virtual Book Drive this month to provide essential literacy resources to young children in need and fill this critical gap. The initiative aims to address the disparity in access to books among children in low-income communities. By purchasing books for donation through the organization’s online shopping cart, donors not only contribute to improving early literacy rates but also help instill a lifelong love for reading in children who may not have had access to books otherwise.

Donating to the Grow A Reader virtual book drive is simple. People can visit a participating Grow A Reader business location, including Miracle Mile Deli, Joe’s Diner, and more (see website for a complete list).  Participants can “purchase books” online at to help get children’s books into the hands of kids who need them most. Books start at only $3.99 and are also eligible for a dollar-for-dollar Arizona Charitable Tax Credit of up to $841.

Donated books from the Grow A Reader campaign are distributed to families in need who participate in Southwest Human Development’s early literacy programs such as Raising A Reader. Donated books also support Reach Out and Read Arizona, a national, evidence-based program that promotes early literacy in pediatric offices here in Maricopa County.


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