First Book is a national nonprofit organization with one mission: to give children from lower-income families the chance to read and own their first new books.

The group works with existing community literacy programs to distribute new books to children. It has given away nearly 15 million books over the past two years.

Last week, First Book joined with the Charles County Head Start program for a series of events at all six Head Start centers in the county. Vedia P. Gray, who chairs the First Book Charles County Local Advisory Board, estimated that 300 local children will receive new books at these events, which continue this week.

On Wednesday at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center in La Plata, more than 80 youngsters were given books they could take home to start their own personal libraries.

Nicholas Lucas points out objects on the page of the book being read by Michael McGrady, deputy director of the National Head Start Program, at the F.B. Gwynn Educational Center.Denton Miller listens as Michael McGrady reads a story at the Gwynn Center during one of six stops by the First Book program at Head Start centers in Charles County.