We have something big to celebrate!
15 years ago, from the Ready to Read, Ready to Learn Task Force chaired by former First Lady Nancy Murkowski, came an organization called Best Beginnings. And since then we have helped hundreds of thousands of Alaska families build a better foundation for learning!
We invite you to take a moment to read more about our story, and where we came from here.
We cannot wait to share even more with you over the next few months as we reflect on the last 15 years and the many more to come. You’ll get a chance to hear about the major milestones of Best Beginnings, learn about the people who made and continue to make our work possible, and see just how much the lives of Alaska children have been changed forever.
February: Celebrating Stories of Diversity
In honor of Black History Month, we’re celebrating representation in children’s literature. It is so important that we honor the work of black authors and illustrators who give our children the chance to themselves in the pages of a story.
Here are staff pick’s of our favorite Imagination Library stories that celebrate diversity:
- The Night is Yours – written by Abdul-Razak Zachariah; illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo
- The Snowy Day – written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
- Hair Love – written by Matthew Cherry; illustrated by Vashti Harrison
- Max and the Tag-Along Moon – written and illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Learn more about these great stories and why we chose them here.
January: 15 Ways to Read Every Day
Did you know that by the age of 3 a child’s brain has developed to 85% of its adult size? Reading daily to your child is a great way to “feed their brain”, and a big part of what we do at Best Beginnings to support school readiness for Alaska children. Reading together helps build vocabulary, early literacy skills, and powerful social-emotional bonds. And 15 minutes a day is all it takes to make a big difference!
This month we’ve challenged families to start the new year off with a fresh daily reading routine. From 15 Ways to Read Every Day, and fresh tips for making your own routine, to a reading contest you can start today. Join us this month in celebrating 15 minutes of reading every day.
December: 15 Reasons to Give to Best Beginnings
…care about a child’s ability to succeed in school and life.
…know that the first five years of life are critical.
…understand the value of early literacy.
…want to be part of the solution that strengthens families.
…see the impact of early childhood education.
…believe in helping parents be the best they can be for their child.
…have a vision of the future where every Alaskan can read.
…are committed to creating a state where the next generation can grow and thrive.
Because in 2021, Best Beginnings
…provided books to 17,062 children under the age of 5.
…served 138 Alaska communities with the help of their affiliates.
…mailed over 95,285 books to homes where they were read and loved.
…created 10 little free libraries and community partnerships to steward them.
…shared early learning tips and activities with 12,970 parents.
…hosted 324 preschoolers at virtual learning events.
…equipped 8,504 families with early learning activity guides to support their child’s development at home.
Because together, we can ensure all Alaska children begin school ready to succeed.
Today we invite you to join us we celebrate 15 years by making an anniversary gift to Best Beginnings. Together, we can make the next 15 years even brighter.
November: 15 Stories of Gratitude
In celebration of our 15 years, we are sharing 15 stories of gratitude from those whose lives have been touched in some way by Best Beginnings throughout the month. We hope you enjoy this look back at just a sliver of the stories we’ve created together. Check back frequently for new stories!
Share Your Story
- Perhaps you were on that original life-changing task force, or a Best Beginnings Board member of years past.
- Did your community start an early childhood coalition in cooperation with Best Beginnings that still exists today?
- Have you learned more about young children, or how to be a better parent or teacher because of a Best Beginnings program or presentation?
- Was your child one of the first in their area to receive Imagination Library books? Or how about one of our own locally published books?
- Does your child get Imagination Library books in the mail now that they love?
Tell us all about it and let’s celebrate!
We would love to hear how the work of Best Beginnings has impacted your life! Send us an email at or submit your story here.
You might even see your story featured on our Facebook page or Instagram!