JetBlue Adds Detroit as the Next Destination for Its ‘Soar with Reading’ Free Book Vending Machine Initiative

Free Book Vending Machine Also Returns to Washington, D.C. Area In
Partnership With Random House Children’s Books

Soar with Reading Welcomes Celebrity Ambassadors Actress Victoria
Justice and Athlete Justin Upton

Public Can Choose the Next City to Receive Books in Online #BookBattle

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–JetBlue’s (Nasdaq:JBLU) award-winning Soar
with Reading
program launched today with the addition of Detroit
to its innovative free book vending machine program. In order to help
halt students’ “summer slide” – the knowledge base lost during the
summer months – JetBlue installed five vending machines in neighborhoods
across Detroit. Following its successful pilot vending machine program
last summer, JetBlue will also return one machine to the Anacostia area
of Washington, D.C. to continue to encourage children’s imaginations to
take flight through reading.

The custom-designed book vending machines by Innovative Vending
Solutions are stocked with books for children ages 0-14. In partnership
with Random House Children’s Books and its Magic Tree House®
series by Mary Pope Osborne, JetBlue will donate 120,000 free books to
children living in Detroit, Washington, D.C. and other book deserts.

Book deserts, areas where children and their families have little or no
access to purchase age-appropriate books, are often found in low-income
areas. According to research commissioned by JetBlue, select areas of
Detroit had only one age-appropriate book for every 42 children, while
Anacostia had just one book for every 830 children. Children living in
book deserts are at risk of falling behind with language, vocabulary and
comprehension, leaving them in jeopardy of academically lagging behind
their peers who have access to books.

“As Soar with Reading continues to grow, we developed an advisory board
of educators and community leaders and engaged our partners to determine
specific needs and make a real impact,” said Icema Gibbs, JetBlue’s
director of corporate social responsibility. “The resounding response
was access to books. This year, we’re bringing free books to locations
where children are already visiting to help kids build their own
libraries and take pride in owning books.”

To help celebrate the expansion of the Soar with Reading program,
JetBlue enlisted the help of celebrity ambassadors – singer/actress
Victoria Justice and Detroit outfielder Justin Upton to reveal the
machines in Detroit. Justice returns for the third consecutive year to
generate awareness through social media engagement, videos and an
appearance at the Detroit launch event. As a first-time ambassador,
Upton looks forward to spreading the word and supporting the local
Detroit community while showcasing the importance of reading.

Last summer, JetBlue hosted an online #BookBattle voting competition,
where customers could cast their votes for one of five cities – Detroit,
Houston, Fort Lauderdale, Los Angeles, and New York – to receive new
children’s books. Nearly 1.3 million online votes were cast and Detroit
beat out the other cities receiving 48 percent of the votes to bring
books to children in its city who need them most.

This year, JetBlue is again asking the public for help choosing the next
city to receive a donation of books in its interactive, online
#BookBattle voting competition. Four cities – Boston, Fort Lauderdale,
Long Beach and New York – will go head-to-head for the chance to win.
Online voting is open at
through August 31, 2016. Books will be donated in 2017.

Last year’s vending machine pilot program in D.C., distributed more than
27,000 books via vending machines and more than 70,000 books through a
variety community partners. Research conducted in areas where vending
machines were placed found that parents had greater knowledge of their
child’s reading habits and the titles of the books that their children
had in the home. Additional research will be conducted this year to
focus on the educational effects on children who regularly visit the

Since launching in 2011, Soar with Reading has donated over $1,750,000
worth of books to children across the country. Anchored by bestselling Magic
Tree House
® author Mary Pope Osborne, an ardent advocate and
supporter of child literacy, and the award-winning author of more than
100 books, Soar with Reading continues to promote the importance of
reading for children. Visit
to vote in the #BookBattle, to learn more about the book vending machine
program and to enjoy fun literacy based activities.


JetBlue is New York’s Hometown Airline™, and a leading carrier
in Boston, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood, Los Angeles (Long Beach), Orlando,
and San Juan. JetBlue carries more than 35 million customers a year to
96 cities in the U.S., Caribbean, and Latin America with an average of
925 daily flights. For more information please visit


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, novels, ebooks, and apps, 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 website, Kids @ Random (,
offers an array of activities, games, and resources for children, teens,
parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of
Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.


Widely regarded among parents, teachers, and librarians for its power to
instill a passion for reading, Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning Magic
Tree House series is an international phenomenon and has sold more than
130 million books worldwide since its debut in 1992, and has been
translated into 33 different languages in over 30 international markets.
There are currently 54 Magic Tree House books and 34 Fact Trackers, the
nonfiction companions to the fiction titles. In support of her literacy
efforts, Mary has donated hundreds of thousands of books to children in
need through her “Gift of Books” program, which distributes books to
Title 1 funded schools. Additionally, Osborne launched a program for
teachers, Classroom Adventures Program, her gift to teachers who have
supported her over the years. The program includes free online
resources—including lesson plans, curriculum guides, and creative
activities. Kids today can interact with the book series via the
recently launched Magic Tree House Kids’ Adventure Club, which provides
members with exclusive items, and the opportunity to interact with the
person who knows Jack and Annie’s adventures best—Mary Pope Osborne!
for more information.

The next installment in the series, Night of the Ninth Dragon (#55)
releases on July 26, 2016 with the corresponding Fact Tracker, Dragons
and Mythical Creatures.


JetBlue Corporate Communications