Contact:

AFA
Maureen Varnon
(202) 973-3604
[email protected]

First Book
Jennifer Kaplan
(202) 393-1222
[email protected]

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

First Book and Paper Companies Celebrate Earth Day with Donation of 150,000 Books to Children in Need

Actor Joan Allen to host event with tree planting and story time for children to “Grow Trees, Grow Readers”

Washington, DC (March 30, 2006) – America's paper companies and Simon & Schuster have come together to partner with First Book to celebrate their commitment to "growing trees, growing readers.” The special Earth Day distribution is a result of the critical support given by The Abundant Forests Alliance (AFA) to First Book, the national literacy organization. Joan Allen, highly acclaimed Academy Award nominee, will join AFA and First Book on April 20 for a book distribution, story telling, and tree planting at a local elementary school. Ms. Allen will read The Tree Farmer, a story that highlights the vital gifts we receive from our forests, such as books, and explains how trees are replanted to keep forests growing strong. The Tree Farmer is one of several books on the Children’s Environmental Reading List available at www.firstbook.org. The April 20 event will take place at the Robert R. Gray Elementary School, Capitol Heights, MD; Earth Day is on April 22.

The Earth Day distribution is part of AFA’s ongoing support of the First Book National Book Bank, First Book’s subsidiary for large-volume book distributions. The AFA website (abundantforests.org) features tips and ideas to encourage parents and children to learn more about the gifts we receive from our forests.

Forests are a renewable resource and continuing to use trees to create products such as books is one of the best ways to ensure that the nation’s forests keep flourishing. To sustain forestry resources, the wood and paper products industry plants two trees for every tree harvested, ensuring clean air, beautiful landscapes and new books for the future.

The 150,000 new Simon & Schuster books distributed through this Earth Day event will be donated to children in need nationwide for them to read and keep. While research shows that the single critical factor determining whether a child becomes a reader is the presence of books in the home, a staggering 61% of low-income families have no age-appropriate books for their children. First Book has distributed over 40 million new books to the hardest to reach children.

“First Book is proud to be part of the Earth Day initiative,” said Kyle Zimmer, President of First Book. “Celebrating a large-scale distribution of wonderful new books raises awareness of just one of the many ways our forests are essential to the future of our children. First Book is proud to join the Abundant Forests Alliance to give children dreams for tomorrow and to plant a tree symbolizing the more than 1.7 million trees the industry plants every day.”

About First Book
First Book is a national nonprofit organization that gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. In neighborhoods across the country, First Book Advisory Boards unite leaders from all sectors of the community to identify the most effective community-based literacy programs reaching children living at or below the poverty line and provide them with First Book grants of free books and educational materials. The First Book National Book Bank, a subsidiary program of First Book, is the first centralized system that enables publishers to donate books and educational materials online to reach millions of children who need them the most. First Book has distributed more than 40 million new books to children in need in thousands of communities nationwide. To learn more about First Book, please visit www.FirstBook.org.

About AFA
Members of the wood and paper products industry in North America have formed the Abundant Forests Alliance. We share information with consumers and customers about the many ways our industry is helping to ensure that with proper care and management there will always be abundant forests. We also listen and respond to environmental concerns about our forests and products. Through sustainable forestry practices, improved recycling and new technologies, our industry is helping to maintain the delicate balance between supplying the wood and paper products people need and giving the forest what it needs to flourish. By working together to renew, reuse and respect our forest resources, we can balance the needs of people with the needs of nature so forests can remain abundant.

Our members include Anthony Forest Products Company | Georgia-Pacific | Green Diamond Resource Company | International Paper | MeadWestvaco | Monadnock | Plum Creek | The Westervelt Company | Weyerhaeuser

About Simon & Schuster
Simon & Schuster, a part of the CBS Corporation, is a global leader in the field of general interest publishing, dedicated to providing the best in fiction and nonfiction for consumers of all ages, across all printed, electronic, and audio formats. Its divisions include Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, Simon & Schuster Audio, Simon & Schuster Online, and international companies in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit our website at www.simonsays.com .