Books have been dubbed “food for the mind,” and a new vending machine program was recently unveiled in Washington DC to provide some nourishment for young brains.
Part of the “Soar with Reading” program created five years ago by JetBlue Airlines in conjunction with Random House Children’s Books, the book vending machine looks like a typical vending machine… until you come a little closer.
Instead of processed foods and soft drinks, these vending machines offer the ultimate brain candy: free children’s books on a variety of topics.
No perfectly flat bills or change are required for these literary treats — kids can peruse the covers of dozens of books and choose the ones they would like to read next.
The vending machines have been strategically placed in spots where families are already going, so busy parents don’t have to make an extra trip to obtain the free books.
Currently there are book vending machines in a church, a grocery store, and a branch of the Salvation Army, and the sponsors hope to expand the pilot program.
A recent study by JetBlue revealed that in certain parts of DC, there was only one age-appropriate book available for every 830 kids.
The literacy rates in the communities in which the vending machines have been placed have among the lowest literacy rates in the city.
Hopefully, these unique vending machines will create an appetite for reading in DC, and we also hope they pop-up in other communities in need.