Verizon Teams With First Book and Random House Children's Books to Share the Gift of Reading Through Annual Season's Readings Campaign

Holiday shoppers will have the opportunity to give the gift of reading through the Verizon Foundation's annual Season's Readings campaign.

The public is invited to take part in the campaign, from Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, by logging on to http://www.firstbook.org/verizon and making a donation to First Book, a nonprofit organization that provides new books to children in need by distributing the books through local schools, libraries and other nonprofit children's organizations throughout the country.  A contribution of just $2 buys a new book.

For every donation to First Book through the Web site, Random House Children's Books will make a matching donation of new, free books to First Book (up to 300,000 books).  Also, the first 300 people who make a $20 donation or more through the Web site will receive a complimentary copy of Dr. Seuss's beloved classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" "Thousands of children miss out on the joy and magic of reading simply because they don't have books," said Kyle Zimmer, president and CEO of First Book. "This campaign will help bring a smile to the faces of many children throughout the country and give them a gift that will help ensure a brighter future through literacy."

Season's Readings began in 2001 as a Verizon employees' campaign to advance the cause of children's literacy. Since then, more than 2 million children's books have been donated to children across the country.

This year, Verizon employees at hundreds of company locations will participate in the annual giving campaign by donating new or gently used children's books. Items collected at Verizon work locations will be donated to nonprofit and educational organizations in the local area. In addition, donations made through the First Book Web site will result in additional books being made available to schools and children's programs across the country registered with First Book.

"Literacy is the first building block of the strong education needed to help all children reach their full potential," said Verizon Foundation President Patrick Gaston. "We invite everyone to become part of our efforts to get books into the hands of children and help them become lifelong learners."

The Verizon Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Verizon Communications, supports the advancement of literacy and K-12 education through its free educational Web site, Thinkfinity.org, and fosters awareness and prevention of domestic violence.  In 2008, the Verizon Foundation awarded more than $68 million in grants to nonprofit agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  It also matched the charitable donations of Verizon employees and retirees, resulting in an additional $26 million in combined contributions to nonprofits.  Through Verizon Volunteers, one of the nation's largest employee volunteer programs, Verizon employees and retirees have volunteered more than 3 million hours of community service since 2000. For more information on the foundation, visit www.verizonfoundation.org.

First Book is an award-winning nonprofit that provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy - access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 65 million free and low cost books to schools and programs serving children in low-income communities. For more information, please visit www.firstbook.org.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a global leader in delivering broadband and other wireless and wireline communications services to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers.  Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 89 million customers nationwide.  Verizon also provides converged communications, information and entertainment services over America's most advanced fiber-optic network, and delivers innovative, seamless business solutions to customers around the world.  A Dow 30 company, Verizon employs a diverse workforce of more than 230,000 and last year generated consolidated revenues of more than $97 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.

Random House Children's Books is the world's largest English-language children's trade book publisher.  Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books and novels, the imprints of Random House Children's Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. The company's award-winning website, kids@random (www.randomhouse.com/kids) offers an array of materials and activities free of charge for children, teens, parents, and educators.  Random House Children's Books is a division of Random House, Inc., whose parent company is Bertelsmann AG, a leading international media company.