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Free copies of "Penguinaut!" available for every 4-year-old child in Colorado

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DENVER - Tuesday, Apr. 9, 2019 - A total of 75,000 free copies of the children's book "Penguinaut!" written by Marcie Colleen and illustrated by Emma Yarlett will be available in English and Spanish through April 22 for every 4-year-old in the state as part of the One Book Colorado program.

One Book Colorado, now in its eighth year, is a privately funded program that is a collaboration between the Colorado Lt. Governor's Office, the Colorado Department of Education, the Denver Preschool Program and military libraries statewide.

"We are working to ensure that every child in our state has the same opportunity for success. Access to books is a critical first step," said Lieutenant Governor Dianne Primavera. "By providing a book to every 4-year-old in the state, One Book Colorado is working to create a level playing field for Colorado kids."

The program stems from the idea that providing young children with access to books promotes early literacy skills and helps families serve as their children's first and most important teachers. Children entering kindergarten are more likely to be ready to read if they have had regular access to books and have had adults who have been reading to them, research shows.

"Building that love for reading starts at a very young age and can ultimately lead to lifelong readers," said Colorado Education Commissioner Katy Anthes. "What better way to fire up kids' imagination than a story about a penguin on a space adventure? We hope children enjoy this book and that it leads to many more."

For low-income families, access to quality books and early literacy efforts are even more important, as research shows that children in low-income families tend to have fewer books in their homes and are exposed to 30 million fewer words before the age 4 than their higher-income peers.

One Book Colorado aims to help close this vocabulary gap by getting a book into the home of every 4-year-old in Colorado and fostering a culture of reading. A child must first learn to read before he or she can read to learn.

Copies of "Penguinaut!" will be available through Monday, April 22, at any public or military library statewide or in any Denver Preschool Program classroom. Partners include Serve Colorado - Governor's Commission on Community Service, Colorado Department of Education - Colorado State Library, Denver Preschool Program, Mile High United Way, and Denver7.

Sponsors include Scripps Howard Foundation, Walmart, McDonalds, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., PNC Bank, Buell Foundation, Junior League of Denver, Serve Colorado, Colorado Department of Human Services, Colorado Department of Education, Cydney and Tom Marsico Family Foundation, Denver Preschool Program, Bank of America, and the Aspen Community Foundation.

Learn more about the program by visiting