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

Tuesday, February 20, 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.


# Book Review Writing Contest

# Tell Us About Your Favorite Book and Win $100 in cash! 

The Celebrate Reading Week Book Review Writing Contest is accepting entries from K-12 students in Duval County now through February 24. All you have to do is tell us: "What is your favorite book and why do you recommend it?"

  • The contest is open to public, private, and homeschool students.
  • The best book review from each age group (K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and grades 9-12) wins! 
  • Book reviews may include text or drawings and should not exceed 300 words. 
  • Submit entries via email to ilovebooks@coj.net or fill out an entry form at your local library. 

You'll need to include your name, parent’s name, grade level, and contact information. To ensure judging is fair and impartial, we ask that you only include your name on the entry form or in the body of the email (not on the book review itself).


# 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.


# 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, giveaways, and more! 

  • "Hello, Mr. Joe!" Storytime and Teemu the Emu book giveaway at 9:30 a.m.
  • Children's Health Screening and other parent resources.
  • Voluntary Pre-K Student Art Showcase (interactive display).
  • Costume giveaway (masks and capes), coloring table, crafts, and more!


Don't miss the JaxKids Book Club Preschool Party!

A young girl holds a book titled Rainbow Soup. The JaxKids Book Club logo hangs in the top right corner.We'll be reading Rainbow Soup at 10:15 a.m. and 11 a.m. It's one of the eight all-new books included in this year's JaxKids Book Club backpack. 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. 


# Family Reading Day

# Kids (ages 5-12) and their families

Drop by James Weldon Johnson Park on Saturday, March 9, from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. for a big party, in front of the Main Library, to wrap up another Celebrate Reading Week! Come dressed as your favorite book or cartoon character and pick up free books, a backpack, lunch, and more!


  • Special guest: Mayor Donna Deegan to talk about River City Readers
  • Book and backpack giveaway from our friends at Read USA
  • Daniel the 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.

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

Get a Library Card

Jacksonville Public Library card

Want the book hook up?

Image representing the Book Hook Up newsletter sign up at the Jacksonville Public Library

Sign up to get the hottest titles in your favorite genres sent right to your inbox each month