Celebrate Read Across America with CHPL and Imagination Library

By Lisa Soper, Youth Services & Programming Coordinator, Downtown Main Library, and Tiana Henry, guest contributor from Cincinnati Children’s  

This week, students and educators in Hamilton County are joining millions of their peers to celebrate Read Across America. Started in 1998 by the National Education Association (NEA), Read Across America has grown into the nation’s largest celebration of reading. While March 2 is the official Read Across America Day, the event has expanded into a year-round initiative designed to create and celebrate our nation of diverse readers. Through this program, the NEA provides book recommendations, connections with authors, and resources that promote diversity and inclusion.  

Special Storytime Includes Black Hair Care Tips 

To join this celebration, the  Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library is hosting a special Virtual Storytime at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 2, featuring the book Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry. We also are reading stories, sharing tips on styling textured hair, and giving away some free books. Register for this Zoom program today! This event is in partnership with the Hamilton County Imagination Library affiliate and The Greater Cincinnati Reach Out and Read Coalition. 

Get Free Books in the Mail 

Aside from the event, did you know your child can get free children's books each month? The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library is sending a free book in the mail every month to any child in Hamilton County under the age of 5. The Imagination Library offers free, high-quality, age-appropriate books and there are no income restrictions for participants. Children could receive classics, such as The Very Hungry Caterpillar, as well as new fun books, such as Hair Love. Enroll today at ohioimaginationlibrary.org 

“Reading with your child starting from birth has been proven to help prepare them for kindergarten,” said Tiana Henry, Cincinnati Children's community engagement specialist who oversees the medical center's Imagination Library and Reach Out and Read programs. “The Ohio Governor’s Imagination Library helps to equip parents with the books that they need so they're able to read to their child every day. 

 “After a child graduates from Imagination Library, they should keep their reading journey going by getting a Library card and exploring the wonderful books at the Cincinnati & Hamilton County Public Library, said Henry. 

Older Kids Can Celebrate Read Across America, Too 

Looking for a way to celebrate Read Across America with older kids? Check out CHPL’s event series, the Creativity Project, for ages 10-14, which meets on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at 6:30 p.m. Inspired by the book The Creativity Project, edited by Colby Sharp, this creative writing book club gives kids the tools to create their own stories. Each month we’ll play with a format or prompt to create a story. Participants have the freedom to explore, try, make, or learn as they please—there are no grades or attendance. There is no wrong way to create, but we can help each other get better!  

For more fun programs to celebrate reading, check out CHPL’s events calendar.