There’s a New Kind of Treat in These Vending Machines

Kids from the low-income neighborhood Anacostia, located in Washington, D.C., have few opportunities to find a good book. Recent research has shown that there is only one age-appropriate book for every 830 children. But they now have an easy way to get good reading material: a vending machine. Instead of chips, candy, or soda, kids can get these brand new books for free with the press of the button. 

The creator of this book-vending program is equally surprising: JetBlue, the popular airline. The machines are the company’s latest addition to the “Soar With Reading” campaign set up in collaboration with Random House Children’s Books to promote child literacy.  Several JetBlue book vending machines are set up around the neighborhood, including at a church, a grocery store, and a branch of the Salvation Army. 16,000 children’s books have been given out so far, and “Soar With Reading” aims to distribute 84,000 more. 

Since “Soar With Reading” is a limited-time campaign, the vending machines will only be staying in the area until the end of the season. Given its success so far, though, Anacostia bookstores will likely be convinced to stock more fairy tales on their shelves. 

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