2022 Library of Congress American Prize Winner

Make Way for Books has been named the winner of the 2022 American Prize from The Library of Congress!

Make Way for Books has been named the 2022 Library of Congress American Prize winner for its innovative early literacy work and impact. The Library of Congress Literacy Awards, originated by philanthropist David M. Rubenstein in 2013, recognizes organizations that provide exemplary, innovative, and replicable strategies to combat illiteracy. The American Prize is awarded for significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in the United States. This year marks the 10th year that the Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program has recognized organizations for their outstanding achievements in advancing literacy.



Make Way for Books provides innovative and proven early literacy programs to ensure young children (ages birth to 5) develop the foundational literacy, language, and social-emotional skills they need to become thriving readers and learners. Established in 1998, Make Way for Books breaks down barriers to reach families who do not have access to high-quality early education or books through a culturally-responsive and bilingual approach. With a diverse staff as well as well-established and growing strategies, Make Way for Books impacts the lives of more than 20,000 young children, families, and educators each year.


“We are honored and humbled to receive this incredible award from the Library of Congress. Make Way for Books is grounded in community and seeks always to ensure our programs meet the real and diverse needs and strengths of our children, families, and educators. We know that improving our literacy landscape is a community effort and we are thankful to our partners and supporters for making this kind of impact possible for more children and families across Arizona.” – Jenny Volpe, CEO of Make Way for Books


Using a two-generation approach, Make Way for Books ensures young children gain critical skills while empowering their parents/caregivers with skills, knowledge, and confidence to support their children’s early literacy development. Make Way for Books’ Story School program and Make Way for Books App were recognized for their impact.


Through Story School and the Make Way for Books App, children are immersed in shared reading and literacy activities while parents learn to support their children’s early literacy and language development. Families build community through support from Family Literacy Specialists as they share books about culture, identity, and connection. Families access free, bilingual books at their fingertips through the Make Way for Books App which centers two-generation engagement, empowering parents to be their child’s favorite storytellers as they are guided through sharing diverse “Read Now” books and literacy activities that break down the science of early learning.


As a result of participating with Make Way for Books, 98% of children develop emergent literacy and language skills. Further, 99% of parents gain skills, knowledge, and confidence to support their children’s development. Through Make Way for Books, children grow their love of books, become meaning-makers, and develop skills that set them up for success in reading and learning in school and beyond.


You can learn more about the American Prize here.