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The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best literature in America, expand its audience, and ensure that books have a prominent place in American culture.


The National Book Foundation is guided by the following core beliefs:

  • Books are essential to a thriving cultural landscape
  • Books and literature provide a depth of engagement that helps to protect, stimulate, and promote discourse in American society
  • Books and literature are for everyone, no matter where the reader is situated geographically, economically, racially, or otherwise


[We] chose a body of literature that critically and anecdotally explores our nation’s prisons and the crisis of mass incarceration.



NBF Presents programs bring National Book Award–honored authors and nationally recognized moderators to libraries, colleges, book festivals, and performance venues for public readings, discussions, and presentations. NBF Presents is designed to give audiences—whether in urban, suburban, or rural communities—access to some of our country’s most renowned writers and their books and to create spaces where authors and audiences can connect, be in dialogue, and share ideas.

The NBF aims to leave no reader or community overlooked, and to be a catalyst for conversations through great books.

NBF Presents  is made possible by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Rita Williams-Garcia with Raising Readers participants. Photo credit: Christian Rodriguez

National Book Foundation partners with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) to run the Raising Readers initiative. This innovative program aims to empower adults who work with and raise children to expand their own love of books and reading, in order to better model the habit of reading for pleasure with the young people in their lives. Raising Readers provides paid professional development training for DYCD provider staff who work with young people through after-school and summer programs, and pairs staff with NBF teaching artists to collaboratively run reading circle series for parents at local DYCD sites across the city, complete with book giveaways, high-profile author talks, and book shopping opportunities for participants.

DYCD sites interested in applying for Raising Readers should visit the DYCD online bulletin board for application instructions.

For more details, email Deputy Director, Jordan Smith.

Selected in January 2019, these 14 books formed the foundation of reading and discussion activities. Staff and parent participants each received individual copies.

The 2018 Reading List can be found here. 

Contact Us


National Book Foundation
Presenter of the National Book Awards
90 Broad Street, Suite 604
New York, New York 10004
Phone: (212) 685-0261
Fax: (212) 213-6570


For inquiries about press attendance at the National Book Awards,
please contact: Mark Lee,


   Twitter: @nationalbook