Southwest Human Development — among the nation’s largest nonprofits dedicated to early childhood development — published its second children’s book, “This Little Farmer Went to Market,” to help improve early literacy.
Aiming to “put more high-quality children’s books in the hands of young kids,” a book is donated to a family in need with every book purchased, according to a press release, adding how books can jumpstart a young reader’s imagination and foster a lifelong love of reading.
“This Little Farmer Went to Market” follows the journey food makes from farm to market. The book has bright colors, recognizable foods, and characters representing diverse backgrounds and communities. Children and their parents have an opportunity to learn, discuss and explore where food comes from and how it gets to families — in this case, a local farmers’ market.
The release added the book is written by B. G. Hennessy, known for her work on the award-winning Corduroy children’s book series, and illustrated by Mary Ann Fraser.
“This Little Farmer Went to Market” was selected from manuscripts submitted to the First Edition Project national children’s book manuscript contest in 2017.
The selection committee included a former Caldecott selection committee member, Kathy Short; Little Free Library founder, Todd Bol; former “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood” writer, Elizabeth Seamans; Brandi Stewart, Changing Hands Bookstore’s children’s book buyer and various early childhood experts and supporters of early literacy initiatives.
As part of Southwest Human Development’s commitment to early childhood literacy, sales of “This Little Farmer Went to Market” also include a “Buy One, Give One” concept for the nonprofit to donate a book to a child or family in need for each copy sold, the release said.
The book is for sale online at swhd.org and Amazon.com, along with locations including Changing Hands Bookstore, Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange, and Agritopia Farm Store.
In addition to online and retail purchase opportunities, the non-profit is participating in community events throughout the Phoenix area. Starting in November, representatives from Southwest Human Development will sell copies of This Little Farmer Went to Market at two farmers markets in Phoenix: Downtown Phoenix Farmers Market and Uptown Phoenix Farmers Market.
An opportunity to meet the author, B. G. Hennessy, will be at select farmers market events, noted the release.
On Nov. 12, members of Southwest Human Development’s literacy team will host a free storytime event and miniature gardening activity for young children from 2 to 4 p.m. at Bookman’s Entertainment Exchange, 8034 N. 19th Ave. Reservations are not required to attend.
Southwest Human Development distributes over 115,000 books annually to children, and the organization started this literacy project as a solution for finding high-quality children’s books at an affordable price. The organization’s first book, “Up Up Up,” sold over 1,000 copies and the non-profit donated more than 1,000 books to children who would not have access to high-quality books.
“Paired together, ‘This Little Farmer Went to Market’ and ‘Up Up Up’ are a great gift set and help make a difference in our community,” said Jake Adams, Southwest Human Development chief development officer, in a prepared statement.
“As a parent who reads to two children every night at bedtime, I’ve learned how important it is to connect with my children over a great story. Building a bond over a love of reading is key to developing early childhood literacy.”
Learn more about “This Little Farmer Went to Market,” “Up Up Up,” and Southwest Human Development at thislittlefarmer.swhd.org.
Southwest Human Development’s more than 40 comprehensive programs focus on children – from birth to 5 years old – and their families in the areas of child development and mental health, Easterseals disabilities services, early literacy and Head Start, child welfare and professional education and training.
Founded in 1981, Southwest Human Development serves 135,000 children and families each year.