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First Book 2024


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Norwalk Public Schools, in collaboration with the coalition of NPS unions, are proud to once again celebrate the Reading Opens the World event, an American Federation of Teachers initiative in partnership with First Book.

We're giving away more than 50,000 books for FREE! Come out to Brien McMahon High School on May 18, 2024 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to collect your books and enjoy a ton of fun activities like storytellers, face painters, hockey lessons with the New York Rangers, and much more.

While the event won't occur until May 18, we need volunteers to start raising their hands now!  We are pushing this event to the media and the community to have the biggest turnout possible; therefore, we need our biggest pool of volunteers yet.


What is First Book?

First Book is a national nonprofit organization that provides access to high-quality, free and low-cost books for programs and schools who serve children in need. Since 1992, First Book has distributed more than 100 million new books to thousands of schools and community programs around the country serving children from low-income families.

What’s the importance of providing books to families?

Having books to read – at home and in the classroom – is the number one predictor of reading success. But the reality for millions of children from low-income families is that books are an unaffordable luxury. Without books, and the intervention of great programs and schools, these children are at risk of falling behind in the classroom, the workforce, and beyond.

How can I get involved in this year’s First Book event?

We are asking for people to volunteer to sort the 50,000 books after they are delivered by truck to Brien McMahon High School on May 14, 15, 16, and 17. On Saturday, May 18, we have volunteer needs for book distribution, setup, general volunteers and clean up.

If you’d like to volunteer, please scroll below for more information.

If you’d like to donate, please contact Reggie Stokes at

Will transportation to the event be provided?

Yes, we will have free shuttle services from multiple stops around the city. We will also have free shuttles running between the off-site parking lots and Brien McMahon High School.

Day of Event

NPS First Book 2023 will kickoff at 11 a.m. with the opening ceremony. Celebrate the start of this year’s event and hear from those who made it all possible.

Following the opening ceremony, volunteers will welcome families into the gymnasium to pick their books and activities inside and outside the building will open up.

Volunteer Information

How do I volunteer?

Click here to complete the volunteer sign-up.

What volunteer opportunities are available?

Positions for May 14, 15, 16 and 17

Volunteer Captain (pre-assigned) - These volunteers will be given a list of volunteers that have registered and information sheets to direct them.  The volunteer captain will check in the volunteers and direct them to their assigned position. NOTE: Once all volunteers are checked in, volunteer captains will assist where needed.  

Sorting Captains (pre-assigned) - These volunteers will oversee a team of 3-5 sorting volunteers to unpack boxes and sort them by elementary, middle or high school.  We recommend advisors that are bringing student volunteers to select this position so they can work with their students.  

Sorting Volunteers - Adult OR Student. These volunteers will work with the sorting captains to unpack the boxes and sort them by elementary, middle or high school.  We have slots for adults (over 18) or students (under 18) Students under the age of 16 should be accompanied by a teacher, advisor or parent that should sign up for an adult slot in the same time frame. 

Food Volunteer - To assist with the distribution of food to volunteers.

Positions for Saturday, May 18:

Volunteer Captain - See above for a description of the role.   

Book Distribution Volunteer - May be assigned to oversee the book distribution or other roles as needed.

Event Setup Volunteer - Will assist in setting up the entire event.

Event Volunteer - These volunteers will be assigned to outside events like the bounce house, dunk tank, storyteller tents, author courtyard and activities.  

Event Volunteers indoor and outdoor - These volunteers will be assigned to assist at events throughout the campus.

Food Volunteer - To assist with the distribution of food to volunteers.

Clean Up Crew volunteer - Help discard any leftover materials, assist maintenance in cleaning up and restoring the gym.

Can my child get volunteer hours for participating in the event?

Yes. Students are encouraged to get their volunteer hours at this event.

We welcome student groups but would like an advisor to also sign up to volunteer in the same time slot, particularly for students under the age of 16.

When do I have to sign up by to volunteer?

We ask that volunteers sign up by May 14.

Activities & Food

What activities will be happening at the First Book event?

Activities will include a touch-a-truck, obstacle courses, face painting, character meet and greets, and live storytellers. Don’t forget the books in the gymnasium!


Help us spread the word! First Book 2024 Press Kit

Learn more about this year's event from Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella and Asst. Superintendent of Schools Rob Pennington.