Creating lifetime readers is the goal and it’s all thanks to Pizza Hut. Wait, what? That’s right, you read me correctly. National Young Readers Week is an annual event that was co-founded in 1989 by Pizza Hut and the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Pizza Hut created The BOOK IT! Program as a national reading incentive program that rewards kids for reading with pizza coupons and classroom parties and promotes reading as a fun activity, not a chore. National Young Readers Week is part of BOOK IT! to encourage all participating BOOK IT! schools to use this week as a reminder of how fun reading is. Hundreds of schools across the country celebrate reading by inviting “celebrity readers,” such as local heroes including firemen, police officers, high school and college athletes, government officials, etc.
In the spirit of young readers everywhere, UNC Press encourages kids to check out two really awesome books. The Origin of the Milky Way and Other Living Stories of the Cherokee, edited by Barbara Duncan, is really cool because it is presented in free-verse lines that capture the rhythm and tone of the oral traditions from which they originate. The stories introduce young readers to long traditions of understanding Cherokees’ relationships to one another, to animals, to plants and the earth, to the world of spirits and ghosts, and to their own language and history. It introduces Cherokee culture to children in a fun and exciting adventure of storytelling.
Many of the fourteen original stories collected in The Adventures of Molly Whuppie and Other Appalachian Folktales, by Ann Shelby, feature the escapades of Molly Whuppie, the heroine of British folktales transported across the Atlantic and set in the mountains of Appalachia. Molly deals with giants, unwanted boyfriends, her family, an ogre who refuses to do housework, and another traditional Appalachian folktale hero, Jack. The stories are based on plots found in a number of traditional southern Appalachian folktales.
Reading shouldn’t be a chore. With so many wonderful stories and adventures for kids to embark on, every week should be National Young Readers Week! Celebrate reading!