HGF's PJ Library program gives away its first Spanish-language gifts.

AGAWAM, MASS.--Over 2,400 Spanish-speaking Jewish children will be reading age-appropriate books in their native language this month, thanks to the expansion of the PJ Library program into Mexico.

PJ Mexico Children PJ Library is a free Jewish children's book program conceived and implemented by the Agawam, Mass.-based Harold Grinspoon Foundation. Through monthly mailings, it delivers the gift of free books and music to more than 100,000 children throughout North America.

The PJ Library program has been implemented in nearly 200 U.S. and Canadian communities. It has also been launched in Australia and, through sister program Sifriyat Pijama, in Israel.

According to PJ Library founder Harold Grinspoon, the expansion of the successful non-profit Jewish book program into Mexico represents "one step closer" in filling his vision.

"My dream is that one day Jewish children all over the world will be reading the same Jewish books in many different languages," Mr. Grinspoon says. "We hope Mexico will serve as a PJ model for many other Jewish communities throughout Latin America. "

PJ Library in Mexico

The expansion of PJ Library into Mexico represents the first Spanish-language implementation of the program. Run by Universidad Hebraica, an institution training Jewish schoolteachers throughout Latin America, the Mexican implementation of PJ Library will be largely school-based.

It will distribute Spanish-language PJ Library books to over 2,400 Mexican children (ages 2-7) attending one of eight Jewish day schools in Mexico City or programs at the main JCC/sports center there. The program will also be available to Jewish children in Monterrey.

The $300,000 annual program was made possible through a challenge grant provided by Jewish Mexican-American philanthropist Daniel Jusidman. Two anonymous community donors and participating schools matched that grant to round out funding.

"Twelve beautiful books -- translations of English-language PJ titles from Kar-Ben Publishing -- have already been published," reports Mark J. Joffe, PJ Library's director of international development. "Another 12 are in production."

With 12 PJ Library books translated, the Harold Grinspoon Foundation is working to develop Jewish children's book programs in other Latin American countries as well. At this time, Spanish-language PJ Library books are not available in the United States.

PJ Library Mexico has already launched its Facebook page (www.facebook.com/PJLibraryMexico) and is currently working with partners to develop a website. An Oct. 9 gala event kicked off the program's launch.

About PJ Library Mexico

For more information about the PJ Library program in Mexico or about its international expansion, contact PJ Library Director of International Development via e-mail at international@hgf.org.