JetBlue Airways, Random House Children's Books and bestselling author Mary Pope Osborne, best known for the "Magic Tree House" series, have partnered for a summer reading initiative to bring $500,000 worth of age-appropriate books to children in underserved areas.
The fourth annual Soar with Reading program focuses on inspiring, encouraging and sharing the gift of reading, starting at the grade-school level.
JetBlue will donate up to $500,000 worth of Magic Tree House books and is hosting reading events across the country. The airline also launched a new mobile app this summer to encourage children to embark on the greatest adventure of all, reading.
“Our customers and crew members told us that education and children are the causes most important to them. Reading is fundamental for a good education and access to age-appropriate books is very important in building a strong foundation,” said Icema Gibbs, JetBlue’s Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. “We feel it is important to provide opportunities for children nationwide to have access to books in order to work towards solving this national literacy issue.”
This year’s program highlights Osborne’s new book, "Magic Tree House #52: Soccer on Sunday," in which characters Jack and Annie must track down the key to greatness from one of soccer’s biggest stars, Pelé, as well as the nonfiction companion book, "Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #29: Soccer."
“Throughout my career, I have seen the life-changing impact that reading and access to books can have on children,” says author Mary Pope Osborne. “I am thrilled to once again be part of a literacy campaign that so perfectly aligns with my mission to reach underserved children across the country through the magic of reading.”
JetBlue is asking customers to help the airline donate up to $500,000 worth of Magic Tree House books to kids in need by guessing where the storybook characters, Jack & Annie, are traveling. To place a guess, consumers can discover clues on their whereabouts in three ways: by visiting the Soar With Reading website, using the new Soar with Reading mobile app, and through the inflight TV entertainment on JetBlue flights.
Each guess triggers a book donation on behalf of the participant and participants can enter into a bi-weekly sweepstakes to win a JetBlue Getaways vacation package. Additionally, one lucky family of four will win a grand prize JetBlue Getaways vacation.
The Soar with Reading website and the Soar with Reading mobile app, which launched in July, also feature activities, resources for families, and more. The app allows consumers to take new or existing photos from their devices and add Magic Tree House themed frames and stickers. The app also features chapter samplers for six Magic Tree House books, including the newest releases. In addition, passport booklets filled with activities to encourage summer reading are being distributed at JetBlue terminals across the U.S. and throughout the Caribbean through August.
“We are excited to continue our successful partnership with JetBlue on the Soar with Reading initiative, and delighted that Mary Pope Osborne’s Magic Tree House books are once again the center of it,” says Barbara Marcus, President & Publisher, Random House Children’s Books. “Getting books into the hands of kids in underserved areas is a commitment we are proud to share both with JetBlue and Mary Pope Osborne.”
JetBlue's six-city nationwide tour to celebrate the Soar with Reading Program and Osborne’s new book, "Soccer on Sunday" kicked off in Boston on May 28, 2014 at Gillette Stadium with the New England Revolution. Additional events were held in Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando and Washington, D.C.
The free events feature a complimentary copy of the book for each child, a reading by Mary Pope Osborne, a performance by Jack and Annie, soccer performances, celebrity appearances and more. Soar with Reading events are hosted in partnership with Random House Children’s Books, Mary Pope Osborne and professional soccer teams in each market.
Actress and singer-songwriter Victoria Justice joined JetBlue and Random House Children's Books on their joint campaign to keep children reading throughout the summer months. Justice generates additional awareness for the initiative through videos, social media engagement, and an event appearance. She encourages her fans to share the gift of reading and help JetBlue donate up to $500,000 worth of Magic Tree House books to kids nationwide.
"Reading has been one of my favorite hobbies for as long as I can remember. I realize how lucky I am to have access to all sorts of books. Not everyone has that opportunity, which is why programs like JetBlue's Soar with Reading are so important," said Justice. "Reading provides an escape from my hectic schedule and allows me to constantly learn and explore new things and places. I'm thrilled to help inspire kids to read this summer."
To reach as many people nationwide as possible, JetBlue and Justice have released short videos about why reading is important to her, which air live on the Soar with Reading website. Justice is also spreading awareness of the Soar with Reading program and the importance of literacy to her fan base through social media outlets.
"It's important for kids to have positive role models and we are so thrilled to partner with someone like Victoria Justice to help inspire children to read this summer. She will help bring enhanced awareness to our program and we look forward to the partnership," said Icema Gibbs, JetBlue's Director of Corporate Social Responsibility. "Victoria will be an important voice in our mission to tackle national literacy. Like JetBlue, Victoria is extremely passionate about this cause."
To date, the Soar with Reading program has donated more than $1.15 million worth of books, including $401,115 worth of books this year. Help children take flight with books this summer and Soar with Reading.