Celebrate Reading Week March 3-9, 2024: Where the Wild Books Are

Monday, February 26, 2024

Celebrate Reading Week: Where the Wild Books Are

#Animals and Beanstack and Books... Oh My!

Whether you're competing in Mayor Deegan's River City Readers challenge, just starting your home library with the JaxKids Book Club (or other book giveaways), or you're looking for some fun, free events for young families in your area... it can be a jungle out there! Get lost in a world of reading and adventure this March 3-9 during Jacksonville's annual Celebrate Reading Week!

Where the Wild Books Are

Jacksonville Public Library and our partners at Kids Hope Alliance, Jacksonville Public Education Fund, Early Learning Coalition Duval, Read USA, Duval County Public Schools, Read Jax, and WJCT have put together a fantastic series of programs and events at libraries and locations across Jacksonville - all to help you foster a love of reading and adventure in your family!

There will be several book giveaways, a chance to learn more about Beanstack and Mayor Deegan's River City Readers challenge, and opportunities for parents to connect to helpful community resources. And if you don't already have one, it's a great time to get a library card.


#Celebrate Reading Week

Programs and Events, March 3-9

Animal Investigation with Molly of Denali

Molly of DenaliMOLLY OF DENALI is an animated PBS KIDS series that follows the adventures of feisty and resourceful Molly Mabray, a 10-year-old Alaska Native girl. Join WJCT Public Media and PBS KIDS’ MOLLY OF DENALI™ for a hands-on, creative play experience where you'll sculpt a local animal and explore early science and literacy concepts.

MOLLY OF DENALI is designed to help kids ages 4-8 develop informational text knowledge and skills, while also highlighting traditional Alaska Native values. Note: These programs are generously supported by the Kids Hope Alliance.

Live from the Library: Clark's Critters

Clark's Critters Reptile Shows logo. Image features a tortoise.A live reptile show for children (ages 5-12) with a variety of snakes, lizards, and tortoises from around the world! Experience this once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet these unique animals up close and in person.

Note: Registration is required for this event and attendance is limited. Please arrive early to check in. Check-in starts 30 minutes prior to the start of the program. When the program begins, unfilled registered spots will be made available to customers on a first-come, first-served basis.

These programs are generously supported by the Kids Hope Alliance.

Junior Lit Chat with Angela Dominguez + Book Giveaway

Thursday, March 7, at 4 p.m. at Webb Wesconnett

Stella Diaz Leaps to the FutureAngela Dominguez is the author and illustrator of several books for children and a two-time Pura Belpré Illustration Honoree. Her debut middle-grade novel, Stella Diaz Has Something to Say, was a New York Public Library and a Chicago Public Library pick for Best Books for Kids, Sid Fleischman Award winner, Global Read Aloud selection, and an ALA Notable.

Angela also recently illustrated the New York Times bestseller, Just Help! How to Build a Better World, written by Sonia Sotomayor. As a child, she loved reading books and making a mess creating pictures.

Note: A limited number of copies of Stella Diaz Has Something to Say will be given to children in attendance, on a first-come, first-served basis.



#Drop Everything and Read

Friday, March 8, from 12 - 1 p.m. at the Main Library

Drop Everything and Read with Katee Sackhoff and Emily Swallow. Image contains two headshots and a Collective Con logo.

Read with the stars! Katee Sackhoff (The Mandalorian, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, Battlestar Galactica, Longmire, The Flash) and Jacksonville native, Emily Swallow (The Mandalorian, Castlevania, Supernatural), are dropping by the Children's Room at the Main Library to read a fun story about girl power and working together! Spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis (no registration is required). Intended for children and their families (but open to all). 

Parking is available for the Main Library at the Duval Street Parking Garage. Library visitors get one hour free with validation (visit the main service desk on the first floor to stamp your parking ticket). 

Please note: There will be no meet-and-greet. If you would like something signed, both Katee and Emily will be at Collective Con at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center this weekend. 


#Early Learning Festival

Pre-K families (with children ages 0-5)

Mr. Joe on a bike, holding a guitarIt's a party and you're invited! Stop by the Main Library on Saturday, March 9, from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. for storytimes, book giveaways, crafts, and more! 

  • "Hello, Mr. Joe!" Storytime at 9:30 a.m.
  • Appearances by Daniel Tiger from PBS Kids
  • Children's Health Screening and other parent resources.
  • Costume giveaway (masks and capes), coloring table, and more!

The event will also feature face painting, balloon twisters, and a Voluntary Pre-K Student Art Showcase. Check out dozens of delightful paintings, sculptures, and more by students in eight local VPK centers. Projects were inspired by the eight all-new books in the JaxKids Book Club backpack. Participating VPK centers include All Saints Early Learning Center, Crawford Early Learning Center, Every Child Can Learn Child Development Center, Lane Avenue Child Development Center, Punkin Place Child Development of Jax, St. Paul Catholic School, St. John the Divine Early Learning Center, and Goddard School - Spartina.

Don't miss the JaxKids Book Club Preschool Party (during the Early Learning Festival)!

JaxKids Book Club logo and owl mascotWe'll be reading Rainbow Soup at 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. No registration is required for these events; however, we do ask participants to arrive a few minutes early to sign in. Note: The first 50 families to attend the JaxKids Book Club Preschool Party will receive a tote from our partners at Harveys Supermarket containing all the fresh fruit and ingredients you'll need to make "Rainbow Soup" at home!

This portion of the event is sponsored by Harveys Gives Foundation, in collaboration with the Library Foundation of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Public Library.

New to JaxKids Book Club? There will also be a free backpack of books (while supplies last) for any four-year-old who did not receive their JaxKids Book Club backpack at a Voluntary Pre-K center in September or October. 

JaxKids Book Club books


#Family Reading Day

Kids (ages 5-12) and their families

Family Reading Day

Join us on Saturday, March 9, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. for a big party inside the Main Library to wrap up this year's Celebrate Reading Week! Come dressed as your favorite book and pick up free books, a backpack, lunch, and more! There will be activities on the 1st and 2nd floors and lots of tables to visit along the way with information for parents and fun giveaways for kids.


  • Special guest: Mayor Donna Deegan to talk about River City Readers
  • Book and backpack giveaway from our friends at Read USA
  • Daniel Tiger, Peg + Cat, and Molly of Denali from PBS Kids
  • Balloon twisters and face painters

Schedule of Events:

  • 11:15 a.m. – Welcome/Kick-Off
  • 11:30 a.m. – Book Character Parade - featuring you!
  • 11:45 a.m. – Jacksonville Zoo Animal Ambassadors
  • Noon – Pick up a FREE lunch (while supplies last)
  • 12:30 p.m. – Book Review Writing Contest Awards Ceremony

Animal Ambassador from Jacksonville Zoo. Photo of a man holding a book and a turtle.


#Our Community Partners

  • Mayor Deegan's River City Readers

    Mayor Deegan’s River City Readers is a citywide literacy challenge for students of all ages. Participants are challenged to read 20 minutes a day and to log their reading in BeanStack

  • Kids Hope Alliance logo

    Kids Hope Alliance (KHA) is a funding agent for the City of Jacksonville. KHA invests millions annually in children's and youth programs and services in Duval County.

  • Jacksonville Public Education Fund logo

    The Jacksonville Public Education Fund works tirelessly to close the opportunity gap for low-income students and students of color in Duval County.

  • Early Learning Coalition of Duval logo

    The mission of the Early Learning Coalition of Duval is to lead and support the early learning community in building the best foundation for children from birth to five.

  • READ USA logo

    READ USA truly believes in the power of book choice and book ownership to change the trajectory of a student and family’s future.

  • Read Jax logo

    Read Jax is a community effort to improve third grade reading scores of students in Duval County.

  • Duval County Public Schools logo

    Duval County Public Schools is the 20th largest school district in the nation and the sixth largest in Florida.

  • WJCT Public Media logo

    WJCT Public Media is the beloved, community-owned public media organization that has served Jacksonville and the First Coast since 1958.

#You May Also Like

Screening Room: The Truth About Reading

Main Library on Friday, March 8, at 6 p.m.

Screening Room: The Truth About Reading with Hope Haven

What is Jacksonville doing for kids who struggle to read and write? Jacksonville Public Library and Hope Haven invite you to watch the eye-opening documentary, The Truth About Reading: The Invisible Crisis Hiding in Plain Sight, from Emmy Award-winning director, Nick Nanton. 

After the screening, Nancy Barnard, Director of Educational Development Services at Hope Haven, will facilitate an important discussion about the illiteracy problem in Jacksonville with a panel of local experts. Hope Haven is a local non-profit whose mission is to ensure that children and families realize their full potential by providing specialized services and individualized educational opportunities.

Discussion Panelists: Dr. Allison Cato-Neuropsychologist at Hope Haven; Marcus Haile, Chief Executive Officer Literacy Alliance of NE Florida; Annessia Powell, MEd-Principal GRASP Academy; and Teri Modisette, Enrollment and Community Relations, with the DePaul School of NE Florida.

Mayor Deegan's River City Readers

Are you participating in Mayor Deegan's River City Readers challenge?

With the Beanstack app, it's easier than ever before to keep track of your reading. All you have to do is read at least 20 minutes per day and log those reading minutes online. You'll be awarded digital badges for logging multiple days in a row and for completing other reading-related activities. At the end of the year, the city’s top young readers will be given prizes!

beanstack logo

apple app store icon   google play store icon

Join the Challenge

  1. Go to the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
  2. Download and open the Beanstack Tracker app.
  3. Using the Find a Site search bar, type Jax Library or River City Readers.

Log your reading minutes:

  1. Go to the Beanstack app*.
  2. The Home screen has a summary of your reading activities.
  3. To log time read, touch the plus sign in the green button at the bottom of the screen.
  4. Touch the Reading button to log time spent reading.
  5. If you have more than one reader in your account, you will be prompted to choose the reader you are logging for.
  6. Choose your logging method.
  7. When logging by book title, if you only know part of the title, you can choose Search for a Title and enter what you know.
  8. Touch the title that you want to log.
  9. If you want to track your reading progress as you progress through a book, keep the Track progress button on. If you would like to only add minutes read to your log, turn off the Track progress button.

*You can also register and log your reading minutes on the Beanstack website