We are ALL Readers is an innovative opportunity for children of the West Bay/South County region and their families to mingle with authors of acclaimed literature, engage in story walks and creative programs about literature, hear and read stories together, make their own books, and more. This week-long celebration of diverse children’s literature is a collaborative project of librarians, authors, and educators from the West Bay region and across Rhode Island, also including authors from nearby states.
All children deserve the opportunity to see themselves reflected in literature. All children also deserve the opportunity to travel into different life experiences, times, and cultures through the pages of a book. The goal of We are ALL Readers is to create an event that celebrates windows and mirrors in children’s books, spurs the imagination of young readers, and gives children the opportunity to engage with great literature and build authentic connections with authors.
Reading is critical to kids’ academic growth, but it is also important for social and emotional development. Researchers have found that reading fiction actually increases the reader’s capacity to understand what other people are thinking and feeling. Reading books written from a diversity of lived experiences helps kids build empathy and communication skills for the 21st century. In this recent period of COVID-19, when so many children have lived in isolation from their peers and their teachers, the social-emotional development has been particularly and dramatically affected.
This extensive group of collaborators has come together to plan a week-long celebration of diverse children’s literature across the West Bay for the first week of April. During the week we will have smaller events, culminating in a celebratory book festival on April 9, 2022.
In partnership with local public and school libraries and other community organizations, they are planning to host:
Storywalks in East Greenwich, North Kingstown, Kingston, West Warwick, and Exeter featuring a diversity of picture book stories with outdoor installations of picture book pages along a walking path, so that children, families, and caregivers can explore the book and the outdoors together.
Free virtual author visits for local elementary schools on April 8th. Authors will provide 20-minute zoom storytimes and Q&A with students at local schools.
Bookmaking and comics workshops for kids and poetry writing workshops for teens, hosted by local teaching artists.
A book festival on April 9th, featuring a diverse lineup of award-winning children’s book authors and illustrators who will speak and read from their work, interact with children, and sign books.
A free book for each child attending and bringing a stamped event passport to the event on April 9th. Children will be able to collect stamps at all of the planned events and storywalks.
The planners are currently seeking volunteers and authors/illustrators willing to donate their time. To volunteer, please contact Jeanette Bradley at email@example.com.