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The History of I Can Read!

“I can read! I can read! Where are the books for me?” The words rang out in the Boston Public Library. But back in the mid-1950s, there were few books that beginning readers could read for themselves. The librarian called a friend, Ursula Nordstrom, at HarperCollins, and told her that children needed simple books that they could read on their own. Soon after, the I Can Read! books were born.

The first I Can Read! book was published in 1957. Little Bear, written by Else Holmelund Minarik and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, became a well-loved children’s classic. Syd Hoff’s Danny and the Dinosaur followed in 1958.

I Can Read! continued to grow, publishing such memorable titles as Amelia Bedelia (1964), Frog and Toad Are Friends (1970), and Biscuit (1996).

Today, I Can Read! is the number one beginning reader series in the country. It features more award-winning titles, authors, and illustrators than any other beginning reader series. It includes more than 200 titles for readers at five beginning reading levels.

I Can Read! books have won Newbery and Caldecott Honors. They have been recognized as American Library Association Notable Children’s Books, New York Times Outstanding Children’s Books, Parenting Best Children’s Books, and have won Parenting Reading Magic Awards..

Millions of beginning readers have launched a lifetime of discovery with I Can Read!. Children meet all the classic favorite characters along the way as they learn to read and discover new themes and story topics.

Millions of lives have been touched by I Can Read! books. At HarperCollins we are still thrilled every time we hear a child say those three magical words: “I can read!”

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I Can Read! is a registered trademark of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright © 2013.
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