Above, KPMG volunteer Alyse Hayashi reads to first-graders at Ninth Street Elementary School.

Ninth Street Elementary celebrates the donation of books from KPMG, which is distributing a total of 10,000 volumes to schools in Local District Central.

For Ninth Street Elementary School fourth-grader Jacob North, tackling a “chapter book” or peeling back the cover of a science fiction comic book is like opening the door to his imagination.

“Books mean the world to me,” Jacob said. “All books have a meaning or are about doing something fun.”

So imagine Jacob’s delight – replicated again and again –  when each and every student at Ninth Street received a new book of their own, courtesy of KPMG. Best-known as an audit and tax consultant, the company’s Family for Literacy program created reading opportunities for kids with its gift of 600 books.

“We had a wonderful time celebrating reading,” principal Dean Simpson said. “Our students love to read, and new books are important because they have new adventures for our students to experience. But, to also see School Board President Mónica García, Local District Superintendent Roberto Martinez and the visitors from KPMG and the District – it made an even bigger impression about reading and how important it is.”

García thanked the corporate partner for giving students the tools to become lifelong learners.

“Literacy makes a world of difference,” she said. “When we are able to decode words to build meaning, to communicate our own experiences and emotion, literacy is a world where our students can thrive.”

In addition to its donation to Ninth Street Elementary, KPMG will distribute 10,000 books among the 160-plus schools in Local District Central. Co-founded by Beth Veihmeyer, the wife of KPMG Global Chairman John Veihmeyer, the Family for Literacy program has donated more than 3 million books to youngsters nationwide since 2008.

“KPMG is committed to ensuring that every child has access to a wonderful education through reading,” said Alfonso R. Salazar, a director with KPMG in Los Angeles. “We feel that reading is essential to building communities, to building children’s pride and expectations. We also love to help our company’s partners, employees, retirees and families get involved.”

The company takes a hands-on approach to the book donations, with employees, spouses and volunteers venturing into the classrooms and reading from favorites such as Where the Wild Things Are and The Empty Pot.

“It’s amazing how a book can bring children with limited resources so much joy,” said first-grade teacher Emerson Arias.