JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The average price for a children's hardback book is $20. Because of that cost, it can be expensive buying books.

Reading is critical for a child's educational development, so the Jacksonville Jaguars wanted to help put books in the hands of children in low-income families.

They did Wednesday.

The Jaguars donated enough books for more than 40,000 children to receive three hardbacks each.

"The fantastic part about this particular distribution is that all the 120,000 books are staying in the local community," said Katie Niersbach, of First Book, a nonprofit that connects book publishers and community organizations to provide new books for children in need.

The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation and partners teamed up with First Book to give 120,000 new children's books to low-income families in northeast Florida and south Georgia.

"If you want to achieve anything great in life, you have to read," former Jaguars safety Donovin Darius said. "A great leader is a great reader. This first book is so important for these young children."

Children from the Early Learning Coalition of Duval County received the books and got to hang out with Jaguars mascot Jaxson de Ville.

"They're able to give these individuals, these children something they can use for the rest of their lives," Darius said.

First Book says a child without access to books won't have the chance to become an engaged and capable reader. And that's the organization's goal: to end illiteracy.

"Children who have books in the home are much more likely to succeed in school," Niersbach said. "And we know that success in schools means success in life."

First Book has distributed more than 100 million free and low-cost books in thousands of communities. If you would like to donate books to First Book, go to www.firstbook.org.