Next Door - Home of Educare

Books for Kids



"Children who have books of their own possess limitless opportunity!"

Mary Kellner

Celebrating 25 Years! Next Door’s Books for Kids program was established in 1990 with the hope that all children in Milwaukee’s central city, regardless of family income or education levels, could have books to call their own. Books for Kids distributes over 70,000 books each year!  We give two books a month to our early education students here at NEXT DOOR and we also distribute books to neighborhood families and teachers throughout the city -- FOR FREE!

Recent News About Books for Kids


We are in dire need of gently-used or new children's books, in particular, infant-toddler picture books.This is a perfect opportunity for youth groups, confirmation/church groups and scouts! PLEASE CALL 414/562-2929, ext. 153 to arrange a drop-off time. 

  • If you are donating books and have a bag or boxes you can carry in alone, please bring to Books for Kids any time, Mon-Fri 8am-5pm to Next Door at 2545 N. 29th Street in Milwaukee. 

  • For larger donations: Please send us an email or call 414/562-2929 ext 153 to arrange a drop-off time.


Program Impact

Since its inception, Books for Kids has distributed more than 1,700,000 books in the Milwaukee area.  Placing books into the hands of Milwaukee’s central city children is essential because:

  • Low-income families have few children’s books in their homes. 
  • The number of books in a child’s home correlates significantly with reading achievement.
  • The number of books available to a child plays a role in predicting first grade reading achievement                .
  • Reading ability is a strong predictor of success and interest in school.

By expanding the number and frequency of reading experiences Books for Kids inspires young people to develop an appreciation and love for books.  As a result, Milwaukee children improve reading fundamentals, school preparedness, and their chances of achieving long-term academic success.

Volunteer Opportunities and Donations:  VOLUNTEER NOW!


Volunteers make Books for Kids and the Read With Me program possible.  There are numerous ways you or your volunteer group can get involved:

  • Read to children during Read wih Me:   Volunteer readers read in small groups of children ages 2-5 on Tuesdays 9-11 am and  1:30-3:30 pm and Wednesday mornings from 9-11 am.

  • Assist in the “Giving Library”:  Help us to clean, sort, label, and shelve the thousands of children’s books so that they are ready for distribution. 

  • Hold a book drive:  We always need new or gently used children’s books.  This is a great opportunity for school groups, church groups, girl and boy scout troops, and corporate groups.

  • Donate Books!  Books for Kids accepts new and gently-used children’s books for all ages (babies-young adult) through individual donations and book drives throughout the entire year.

We are in need of:

  • Baby Board Books
  • Children’s Picture Books
  • Children’s Fiction and Non-Fiction
  • Juvenile Literature
  • Children’s Dictionaries and Cookbooks
  • Children’s Books with Universal Themes (friendship, animals, science, etc.)
  • Parenting Books
  • Multicultural Children’s Books

We  cannot accept:

  • Textbooks of any kind
  • Withdrawn or discarded library books
  • Old books with mildew, torn pages, handwriting, or highlighting
  • Magazines
  • Encyclopedias or other reference books
  • Adult books


Books for Kids relies on financial gifts from local corporations, foundations and individuals. The program has received grant support from The Harley-Davidson Foundation, Fleck Foundation, Next Chapter Book Sellers, J.P. Morgan Chase Foundation, Target Stores, Faye McBeath Foundation, Assurant Health, Proven Direct, Bessie A. & Harold M. Stratton Fund and Journal Communications, Inc.

Books for Kids also maintains active partnerships with many corporations, churches, and schools. Some current Books for Kids partnerships include: Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Northwestern Mutual, Baird, Rockwell, U.S. Bank, Fleck Foundation, CH2M Hill, Roundy's Foundation, Next Chapter Booksellers, Half Priced Books, Wauwatosa Village, Bayside Travel, Reformation Lutheran Church, Brown Deer Middle School, and the Volunteers of Lake Country.

Book Distribution

Every Thursday afternoon between 2:00 and 6:00 pm teachers and parents throughout the city of Milwaukee are invited to the "Giving Library” located within the Next Door  to choose books for Milwaukee’s children.  Parents and teachers can visit once per month and should bring their own bag for the books.

Thank You!


Next Door | 2545 N. 29th Street | Milwaukee, WI 53210 | (414) 562-2929

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