Skip to main content

Raising Readers Celebrates Distribution of its 3 Millionth Book

January 29, 2020

Contact: Caroline Cornish
(207) 662-5146 |

PORTLAND, Maine – Raising Readers presented its 3 millionth book to 5-year-old triplets during a special event at The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center.

It has been 20 years since Raising Readers began distributing books – free of charge – to every Maine child between the ages of birth and 5 through partnerships with hospitals, medical practices and health care providers. Raising Readers is led and administered by MaineHealth in collaboration with Northern Light Health and with support from The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. The program has been fully funded by the Libra Foundation since its inception.

“Raising Readers reaches every child receiving well-child care in Maine. It’s become a part of growing up in Maine,” said MaineHealth CEO Bill Caron. “We are grateful for the Libra Foundation’s ongoing and generous support of this vibrant and beloved program.”

The 5-year-old triplets, Howrah, Yousif and Zahra, have been patients at the Maine Medical Partners Pediatric Clinic since they were born. Their pediatrician, Stephen DiGiovanni, M.D., presented each of them with a copy of “Baabwaa and Wooliam,” by David Elliott and Maine illustrator Melissa Sweet. The book is one of the Raising Readers selections for 5-year-olds this year.

“Raising Readers books support a love of reading, self-confidence and loving attachments between parents and their children,” Dr. DiGiovanni said. “Each time a book is shared between a loving adult and a child, it opens opportunities for lots of back and forth interactions that are fun while building a strong foundation in a child’s brain for all future learning and development.”

“Since its inception 20 years ago, Raising Readers has consistently demonstrated that early literacy is critical to a healthy and vibrant future for Maine children,” said Craig Denekas, CEO of the Libra Foundation. “The act of simply reading together for any family is indispensable.”

Among the attendees of the event was Trevor Borelli, who was given the very first Raising Readers book by First Lady Barbara Bush in 2000. When Trevor was 5 years old, First Lady Barbara Bush presented him with a copy of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Trevor told Mrs. Bush that he’d already read that one, so she gave him a copy of “Miss Rumphius” instead.

Raising Readers has given books to approximately 290,000 Maine children since 2000.


About Raising Readers
Established in 2000, Raising Readers is a one-of-a-kind, statewide early literacy program that gives books – free of charge – to all children up to 5 years old who are born in Maine and receive well-child care within Maine’s health care system. Through the simple act of giving children books, Raising Readers stresses the powerful message that literacy begins well before children enter kindergarten and supports the well-documented link between health and literacy. The program is funded by the Libra Foundation, led and administered by MaineHealth in collaboration with Northern Light Health, with support from The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center. For more information, visit

News from Around MaineHealth

View All
Trauma Intervention Program Transitions to TIP National
Management of the Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) of Greater Portland, formerly part of Maine Behavioral Healthcare has transitioned to its founding organization, Trauma Intervention Programs, Inc., (TIP National) effective September 1, 2020.
Drive-through Flu Shots Available at MaineHealth Care at Home
MaineHealth Care at Home (MHCAH) will be offering drive-through flu shots for all community members at their Saco location at 15 Industrial Park Rd.
Physicians Join Maine Medical Partners
Maine Medical Partners announces the following new hires.
Maine Behavioral Healthcare Selects New President
Kelly Barton, an experienced health care executive from Indianapolis, will lead behavioral health services for MaineHealth - northern New England’s largest integrated health system.
Shaw Brothers Construction Pledges $1 Million to Maine Medical Center to Honor Sally Shaw
In recognition of a $1 million commitment by Jon and Dan Shaw, founders of Shaw Brothers Construction in Gorham, Maine Medical Center will name the causeway of the new Congress Street Tower in honor of the Shaws’ mother, Sally Shaw.
MMC Participates in NIH-Funded Clinical Trial Studying Buprenorphine Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder
Maine Medical Center’s emergency department is one of 30 chosen across the country as part of the National Institutes of Health "Helping to End Addiction" Long-term Initiative (HEAL).
U.S. News & World Report Names MMC ‘Best Regional Hospital’ For Eighth Straight Year
MMC earns a “high performing” rating in the specialty of Urology as well as in ten common procedures and conditions.
MMCRI awarded $1.9M by the National Institutes of Health
The five-year award by the National Cancer Institute supports the study of how healthy fat cells support growth of blood cancer cells.
Credit rating agencies reaffirm strength of MaineHealth
Two credit rating agencies continued to give northern New England’s largest health system high marks for its financial strength even though the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant financial impact.
MaineHealth Receives Over $800,000 in Federal Funding for Telehealth Program
FCC awarded MaineHealth for costs associated with rapidly expanding the health system’s telehealth infrastructure and technology in response to the coronavirus pandemic.