The Walt Disney Company Brings “Reading Together” To Houston’s Children This Holiday Season

Burbank, Calif. (Dec. 3, 2002) – In order to encourage Houston’s children to read with their families this holiday season and in support of their “Reading Together” program, DisneyHand, the worldwide outreach program for The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) will conduct several holiday reading community outreach events in Houston.

Belle from Walt Disney Pictures’ “Beauty and the Beast” and Disney VoluntEARS will host a holiday reading party for 100 children at the Judson Robinson, Jr., Community Center’s After School Program on Thursday, Dec. 5 at 4 p.m.

In the spirit of giving, DisneyHand and Scholastic At Home, a division of Scholastic, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCHL), will contribute 120,000 books to the First Book National Book Bank. The First Book-Houston Local Advisory Board will distribute the books to several organizations in the Houston area, giving children from low-income families the chance to read and own their first new books. Books will be distributed on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Mayor Lee P. Brown’s Houston’s Holiday Celebration featuring Walt Disney Magic, located at Hermann Square at City Hall from 5-8 p.m. First Book-Houston will have a booth to distribute books to children from some of the organizations in attendance.

Additional cases of books will be loaded onto trucks and given to the Houston READ Commission, the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club, Literacy Advance of Houston, Communities in Schools, the East End Education Project, Community Family Centers and Interfaith Ministries, on Monday, Dec. 9 at the Scholastic, Inc. warehouse.

The Houston book donation represents a portion of DisneyHand’s commitment to donate one million books to the First Book National Book Bank as part of its “Reading Together” community outreach program, which emphasizes the importance of parents reading together with their children.

The 120,000 books are from the “Disney’s Small World Library” series and are being contributed by Disney Publishing Worldwide and Scholastic at Home. These books will give children and their families the opportunity to learn about exciting traditions and landmarks from different countries including, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Russia, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States, Austria and Denmark.

“With ‘Disney’s Small World Library,’ we not only have the opportunity to provide new books to hundreds of children, but we also are able to introduce them to people and places from around the world,” said Deborah Dugan, President, Disney Publishing Worldwide. “We are pleased to further our commitment to First Book and bring the joy of reading to the children of Houston with this donation.”

“During my childhood, Disney stories opened my imagination to the new worlds with entertaining characters. This donation will enable First Book to broaden children’s imaginations while introducing them to new countries with some of my favorite Disney characters,” said Kyle Zimmer, President of First Book.

First Book is a national non-profit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. The First Book National Book Bank is a subsidiary program of First Book. In neighborhoods across the country, First Book unites leaders from all sectors to provide books to children in literacy programs, housing project initiatives, after-school programs and other community-based efforts reaching children living below the poverty line. In 2001, First Book distributed approximately seven million books to children in more than 700 communities across the country. For more information about First Book, or to donate a book to a needy child online, please visit

DisneyHand, the worldwide outreach program for The Walt Disney Company, is dedicated to making the dreams of families and children a reality through public service initiatives, community outreach and volunteerism in the areas of learning, compassion, the arts and the environment. The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a diversified, international family entertainment and media enterprise which includes Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, The Walt Disney Studios, ABC, Inc., ESPN, Disney Channel, Disney Stores, television and radio stations and Internet web sites. For more information on Disney’s corporate public service efforts, please visit our Web site at