2006 Winners

New York, NY, March 2, 2007: James Patterson announced today – NEA's national Read Across America day – the 39 winners of the 2006 James Patterson PageTurner Awards, who will receive cash prizes totaling $500,000. Among the winners are libraries, schools, bookstores, and innovative individuals and organizations that go to extraordinary lengths to spread the joy of books and reading across the country.

From the Washington Center for the Book in Seattle, who started the breakthrough – and now widespread – "One Book" program, to the nonprofit organization 826 National, which works tirelessly to encourage creativity in children of all ages by providing enthralling reading and writing experiences, this year's winners come from 34 cities in 23 states, and their amazing efforts reach as far as troops stationed in the Middle East and underprivileged children in Botswana, Africa.

Mr. Patterson is also honoring an elementary school principal who got his students geared up about reading by skydiving out of a plane; a New Orleans literary festival that continues to bring excitement and fun to a community still dealing with the effects of Hurricane Katrina; a California "Bookseller of the Year," dedicated to her cause since 1977, who hosts more than 600 author events a year; a Queens librarian who let kids in her community dye her hair purple to prove that reading actually can be fun; an African American Read-In program that brings in local heroes such as a pro football Hall of Famer turned Supreme Court justice to get the community excited about reading; and a national organization whose mission is to provide as many underprivileged children with their "first book" ever. And the overwhelming list goes on.

James Patterson says, "I love being able to help those who spread the word that reading a book is still one of the great joys in our lives." This year's winners truly embody the spirit and energy of the PageTurner Awards – to spread the excitement of books and reading as far and wide as humanly possible. And for that, we salute them all!

$100,000 PageTurner of the Year Award:

Washington Center for the Book | Seattle, WA

In 1998 Washington Center for the Book held the first annual "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book." This fun, innovative event relied on one simple concept: what if a city could come together to read, learn about, and enjoy the same book? Now called "Seattle Reads," this large scale event brings together the city of Seattle through the power of one book. The program soon caught on nationwide, and now over 450 different locations across the country, ranging from Los Angeles to the nation's capital, host their own "One Book" programs. While there is no way to count the vast number of people affected each year, Washington Center for the Book proves that one simple idea can get hundreds of thousands of people excited about reading in a fun, community-oriented way! The Washington Center for the Book, under the direction of Program Manager Chris Higashi, holds various literary programs and forums, as well as hosts the annual Washington State Book Awards for local authors.

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$50,000 PageTurner Champion Awards:

University of Minnesota's African American Read-In | Minnesota, MN

Now in its 18th year, the African American Read-In at the University of Minnesota is an annual celebration aimed at incorporating black literature into the community during Black History month each February. With literary workshops, school-oriented programs and noted speakers, like local hero Alan Page, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and current Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Read-Ins affect at least 12,000 community members each year in Minnesota alone. Backed by the university, co-sponsored by Barnes and Noble, and covered yearly in the Minnesota Daily newspaper, this busy two-day event also paved the way for similar read-ins in Delaware, Michigan and New York. With downloads and complete information on how to host your own African American Read-In it's no surprise that this programs reach just keeps growing. They host a free weekly book club, as well as coordinate reading and educational visits to local high schools during the school year, proving that books and reading can be fun all year around!

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826 National | San Francisco, CA

Want to get your kids genuinely excited about reading, writing and learning? Take them to 826! Based out of San Francisco, but with offices in New York, L.A., Seattle, Ann Arbor and Chicago this non- profit organization, co-founded by author Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, What Is the What), is focused on improving children's reading and writing skills while encouraging their creativity through innovative techniques such as inviting school classes for field trips and turning the children's work into published books. All services are free of charge and can range from one-on-one tutoring to English as a second language help. The organization is so popular that there is an overabundance of volunteers at many locations. Even famous funnymen like Jon Stewart, Ben Stiller and Will Ferrell have joined in, lending their names and time to help raise money at fundraisers throughout the country. Unique to the San Francisco location, there's even a Pirate Store that sells published magazines and books written by students. With a new Boston branch opening this fall, 826 National will continue to bring the joy of reading to kids everywhere.

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All Hallows High School | Bronx, NY

All Hallows High School is located in the Bronx, NY–in the poorest congressional district in the United States. Due to a dedicated staff, a required Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R) daily reading hour, numerous reading and writing-based curriculums, as well as a strong school-wide mentoring program, All Hallows High has increased SAT verbal scores by 16%, and AP English scores by 40% since its inception. In 1998 the entire graduating class was accepted into four year colleges and the school has since maintained a near perfect college acceptance rate. With national outlets like the Wall Street Journal highlighting their phenomenal progress and visits from the likes of native New Yorker film director Spike Lee, All Hallow High is garnering attention each year for their ability to educate and nurture students to become the best they can be.

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First Book | Washington, D.C.

First Book (www.firstbook.org) is a nonprofit organization with a single mission: to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books. Through hundreds of local Advisory Boards, the First Book National Book Bank, and the First Book Marketplace, the organization provides an ongoing supply of new books to children participating in community-based mentoring, tutoring, and family literacy programs. First Book has provided more than 46 million new books to children in need in thousands of communities nationwide.

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$10,000 PageTurner Par Excellence Awards:

The Dollywood Foundation's Imagination Library | Nashville, TN

Actress/Singer/Songwriter Dolly Parton started this program in 1996 as a way to help local children in her Nashville area hometown realize a love of reading from the earliest age. Working with preschoolers, the program was meant to get kids excited and enjoying reading as soon as possible, with the main goal to physically put a book into the hands of every child each month, from the time they are born until they are five years old. The idea took off, and has grown to give out over 2.5 million books nationally, even going international with the opening of Imagination Library Canada. Currently, over 600 cities in 40 states have implemented the Imagination Library–all of which are managed by the Dollywood Foundation to ensure that the books are age appropriate and delivered on time. In 2000, Dolly received Association of American Publisher's (AAP) honor and just last year she donated the proceeds of her cookbook sales to benefit the library.

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Family Literacy Foundation | San Diego, CA

Since winning a 2005 James Patterson PageTurner award, the Family Literacy Foundation has increased their outreach by almost 100,000 people. Through their main reading-related programs, United Through Reading, Building Bridges with Books and Youth Reading Role Models, the foundation has clocked over 204,000 volunteer hours. Each program aims to reinforces and foster the relationships between children and their parents, family members and friends, through a fun, worthwhile connecting activity–reading. Since 1989 the foundation has successfully educated and increased awareness in people of all ages about the importance of reading. Even First Lady Laura Bush has become involved, serving as the honorary chair of the United Through Reading program, which allows deployed U.S. soldiers to read books to their children via video, allowing troops to stay connected with their loved ones back home.

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Books for Boys at The Children's Village | Dobbs Ferry, NY

Another 2005 James Patterson PageTurner winner, Books for Boys at the Children's Village is a unique and innovative program that utilizes a staff of teachers, librarians and volunteers to read and share books with at-risk youth ages 6-21. This year, more than ever, hundreds of kids are being exposed to poetry, reading programs and writing tutors, but most of all each child is encouraged to learn and to have fun while reading! Their projects include a visiting author series, internship programs that allow college student to work with the boys over the summer, and mentoring programs. Even "C.S.I. New York" actor/author Hill Harper stopped by recently to read and talk to the boys! And this May, The Children's Village will honor Pam Allyn, the founder and director of Books for Boys, at their annual Circle of Friends gala at Chelsea Piers in New York City, for all her hard work and dedication to the program.

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Pam Shelton, Botswana Book Project | Botswana, Africa

Pam Shelton is a United States citizen and former librarian who quit her job after 25 years as a Vermont librarian to move to Botswana, Africa. After visiting Africa on several occasions, Pam moved there, and set out to create much-needed libraries in schools throughout Botswana. More importantly, her mission was to get books shipped into the country so that children of all ages could learn to read–something they can't do if they do not have the resources. And, it proved to be no small feat. With the help of Books for Africa, she has brought and distributed more than 300,000 books to Botswana in just under ten years. The Book Project also aims to conduct workshops, establish permanent storage facilities and libraries, and promote literacy to all the children that receive a book through the program.

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Behind the Book | New York, NY

The non-profit organization, Behind the Book, based in New York City, works with low-income youth in the city's public schools, grades K-12. Their motto is "Creating opportunities for tomorrow through creative reading experiences today." They reinforce the excitement and importance of reading while emphasizing literacy skills and offering unwavering support to children working to further their education. Behind the Book was honored last year as a James Patterson PageTurner winner, and since then the organization has almost doubled their outreach, directly working with almost 900 students in 8 schools during the 2005-2006 school year. Their continuous goal is to solidify their connection with teachers, students and parents–all while making reading fun. Their weekly author series draws in authors like Jennifer Egan and Rick Moody, who happily help spread the joy of reading in the big apple!

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Purvis J. Behan P.S. 11 | Brooklyn, NY

P.S. 11 is a New York City Public School located in Brooklyn. As a Title 1 school (set to ensure the academic achievement of the underprivileged) with close to 500 Pre-K to 5th grade students, they lack the necessary funds and donations to keep their library and classrooms stocked with books. Despite this setback, the school has continuously used their time and energy to promote reading and literacy not only to the students, but to their parents and community as well. They hold an annual Book Bash for all students–which has raised thousands of dollars to improve the school's library–as well as an annual Pajama Party–hugely popular with the students, who come to the gym-turned-huge-slumber party dressed in their pajamas–and Read-a-thons aimed to teach kids that reading is an important, lifelong and most of all, fun part of their futures.

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$5,000 PageTurner Award Winners:

[Listed in alphabetical order.]

2nd Chance Books – Austin Public Library | Austin, TX

Started in 2003, Second Chance Books seeks to get books into the hands of incarcerated teens in Austin, Texas. By working with the Austin Public Library and the Gardner Betts Juvenile Justice Center, this program has reached thousands of teenagers over the years; bringing them bi-monthly book clubs, an in-house library, and access to numerous author talks each year. A Reader's Advisory service was also started, giving each teen a forum to openly discuss their interests, so that librarians can help them find the types of books they want to read, making reading a fun and intriguing experience instead of a requirement or a chore. Relying on grants and donations, Second Chance Books, winner of the 2006 Texas Library Association Award (amongst several others!), has set a standard for other libraries to reach out to at risk teens and encourage them with a book.

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Books For Soldiers | Winston-Salem, NC

Books for Soldiers operates on a simple mission: to get books out to the soldiers overseas so that when they have downtime, then can enjoy themselves and have a piece of home with them. During the first Gulf War, the founder of Books for Soldiers had friends deployed internationally, and knew they were in need of reading material. So he started shipping old books he could find and asked others to pitch in–sending over 1,000 books the very first year. As the idea caught on, Books For Soldiers set up a self-service website so that volunteers nationwide could send out books and other mementos from home to soldiers around the world. Even better, the site provides a way for soldiers and military officials to request specific items. A Books For Soldiers volunteer can simply look up the request, find the books and send them off. The site currently gets 7,000 requests a month and fills 99.9% of them, totaling over 100,000 shipments sent yearly.

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Debra McKee – Laundry Basket Library | Mansfield, OH

In 2001, Debra McKee wanted to make books more accessible to families in the elementary school areas, as well as at risk areas in her town. So, she set up the Laundry Basket Library-by simply placing laundry baskets throughout the city that read "Take a Book and Return a Book." Starting with just three locations, the program has grown to distribute over 1,000 books a month to twenty-four sites ranging from supermarkets to clinics and shelters. This innovative idea now runs with the help of volunteers, and of course, serves the community by allowing anyone to take their very own book, and replace or return it for others to enjoy. Debra's hard work and her passion for reading and education, brings joy to readers across her entire community (while even garnering local attention for such an innovative idea), and for that was chosen as one of this year's winners.

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Decatur Book Festival | Decatur, GA

The Decatur Book Festival is an annual free festival that brings together authors, music and food for an all out celebration of books and reading that catered to over 50,000 people last year alone. Only a few years old, this festival, enthusiastically supported by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other organizations like Target, has already grown to include workshops, author talks, aspiring writers' conferences, and a Book Market street fair. It also holds children's activities, cooking author demonstrations and poetry readings. Each year over 100 authors (including big names like Arianna Huffington and Michael Connelly), and 400 volunteers, join in to educate and entertain thousands of guests looking to meet their favorite authors, learn more about their favorite subjects, or just sit back and enjoy the festival. Most importantly the Decatur Book Festival creates a free and accessible forum for everyone to learn, read and enjoy books of all kinds.

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Elaine Petrocelli – Book Passage | Corte Madera, CA

Award-winning bookstore, Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA, now with two locations in northern California, is known for their outstanding community relations, their travel and mystery writer conferences, and for holding over 600 well-attended author events each year. But behind the scenes, President Elaine Petrocelli–previously named "Bookseller of the Year" by industry magazine Publisher's Weekly–is working day and night to keep books and bookselling exciting as well as effective. Founding Book Passage in 1977, Elaine has become one of the most well known booksellers in the country due to her passion and persistence, her media savvy, and her thorough community outreach. She is known for partnering with important local community groups and charities, like Litquake and the Marin Education Fund, and appears regularly on radio and television programs to promote author events as well as to speak about the importance of books and reading.

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Emma Rodgers, Black Images Book Bazaar | Dallas, TX

For over twenty-nine years, Emma has been a constant force in spreading the joy of reading to those around her. As co-owner of the Black Image Book Bazaar located in Dallas, TX, she tirelessly aims to help authors and customers alike get the most out of their book experiences. Most notably, Emma helped conceive of the Romance Slam Jam, a unique annual conference that allows black romance writers to showcase their work and possibly even win an eponymous "Emma Award," which honors excellence in romance action. This four day event also includes workshops, luncheons and awards and is now the largest African American genre-specific event for published and aspiring authors and readers. In addition to her dedication to the bookstore, which has been the subject of local press articles in outlets like the Dallas Morning News, Emma has also written articles for Black Issues Book Reviews. Thanks to Emma and her dedication to her community, writers and readers everywhere are reading and loving it.

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Harlem RBI's REAL Kids Summer Literacy Program | New York, NY

This unique program, which started eight years ago as part of Harlem RBI, helps over 250 youth each summer. The REAL (Reading and Enrichment Academy for Learning) Kids Summer program focuses on improving reading levels, maintaining reading involvement during summer breaks, and improving the overall physical health of the participants. During the summers of 2005 and 2006, 86% of the students improved or maintained their reading scores and 85% showed improvement in their overall reading comprehension. Along with reading, the kids participate in competitive baseball and softball leagues to facilitate teamwork and positive social interaction. By combining reading courses and sports, the Harlem RBI's REAL Kids Summer Literacy Program has developed an amazing way to get children reading and enjoying themselves, all summer long!

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Huckleberry Hill School – Fit and Lit Program | Lynnfield, MASS

During the 1999-2000 school year, Huckleberry Hill School decided to motivate their kids to read using a very unique approach. They implemented a program called Fit and Lit–designed by the school library specialist and physical education teacher–which combines reading with physical activity. Over 450 students earn points for their out-of-school reading and exercising activities, and there are prizes and incentives throughout the school year. The main goal, however, is to get the children reading and exercising more for their own pleasure or interest, and not as a requirement. The most recent data collected shows a total of 12,950 hours of reading completed, as well as over 58,750 miles (of physical activity) covered, and the numbers continue to grow. The Fit and Lit program has worked so well that the school was invited to present their idea at the Massachusetts School Library Media Association (MSLMA) Annual Conference in October of 2005, spurring other schools in the state to star their own versions.

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Jill Lamar – Barnes & Nobel | New York, NY

As Director of the Discover Great New Writers Program at Barnes & Noble headquarters in New York, NY Jill aims to get the word out on new literary authors that the public may not be aware of. They turn the spotlight on unknown and vibrant authors via over 800 Barnes & Noble stores nationwide. Each year, Jill also works on the Discover Great New Writers Award, which seeks to reward two writers (one for fiction and one for non-fiction) every cycle with $10,000 each, and showcases the writer's work at various Barnes & Noble locations. The Discover Great New Writers Program and Awards have been the subject of much industry news. Thanks to Jill's strong commitment to the program, book lovers around the country are now able to discover books and authors they may have never heard of before.

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John and Sharon Bushell | Homer, AK

Everything that John and Sharon Bushell do is geared towards getting kids excited about reading. From putting on school assemblies across the country, to Sharon publishing her own children's book series, to John–or Johnny B as the kids call him–playing music to tell a story, the Bushell's aim to entertain. For the past three years, they have toured various cities, giving performances and instilling a love of reading along the way. Last year alone they reached over 25,000 kids, ranging from Kindergarten to 8th grade, by putting on more than 60 shows. While they reside in Alaska, John and Sharon spend nine months out of the year traveling around the lower 48 states to whatever school needs them. Kids, adults and educators alike all sent in nominations praising how much their hard work and fantastic message has touched them, and made them want to read everyday. They truly embody the spirit of the James Patterson PageTurner Awards.

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Kathy Patrick – Beauty and the Book | Jefferson, TX

In 2000 Kathy Patrick opened the first ever full-service hair salon and bookstore, Beauty and the Book, and never looked back. Since then, the small shop in Jefferson, Texas has attracted over 115 authors and has been featured in newspapers ranging from The New York Times to The Washington Post. Shortly after founding Beauty and The Book, Kathy also created her own book club called The Pulpwood Queens which was featured in a national segment on ABC's "Good Morning America." It started with six readers, and quickly grew to include thousands of members in over seven states, with a few international clubs starting overseas! Through her love of reading and determination to have fun, Kathy's efforts have reached woman everywhere and continues to inspire people around the world.

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Kendra Cullin, Borders | Ann Arbor, MI

As a Category Marketing Specialist at the Borders headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Kendra Cullin is always willing to help out, contribute ideas and is an irreplaceable employee who knows every nook and cranny of the book marketing world. Those who come into contact with her are impressed by her enthusiasm and natural ability to get a job done well. Whether implementing marketing strategies, managing sales plans or starting her own event planning business, Dream Big Events, servicing all of Canton, MI, it's clear that Kendra Cullin is dedicated to bringing books and fun to her entire community.

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Literacy, Inc. | New York, NY

Literacy, Inc (LINC) is an award winning non-profit organization that has a 10 year history of creating unique and effective programs to get kids excited about reading. Focusing on communities in the New York City area, Literacy, Inc. is the past recipient of the Partnership Organization Award from the National Network of Partnership Schools of Johns Hopkins University and the Youth in Action Award from the New York Life Foundation. LINC also recently received the Dr. King Community Service Organization Award for Literacy Initiatives. In the 2006 academic year, LINC worked with schools, teachers, restaurants and other businesses to develop 123 reading programs and held 170 literacy events, reaching thousands of kids city-wide. LINC even has its very own initiative, the Community Literacy Network Champion Award, which honors people that stand out as literacy champions in their communities. According to the organization, they have provided over 60,000 extra hours of reading education to children, with over 600 community partners and more than 2,100 active volunteers.

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Main Street Automotive Magnet School – Comic Book Program | Dayton, OH

Main Street Automotive serves students between the ages of 14 and 21 in an un-graded setting. In struggling with getting the kids to read, a teacher tried a new approach–he gave them comic books to use during their reading time. The school found that giving the kids comic books to read allowed each student to read and understand at his own pace, but at the same time be genuinely interested in and excited about what they were reading. After the first six months, word of mouth spread and participation in the program increased by 50%. The school had such success with the program in its first year that they have decided to make it a part of their curriculum moving forward, and hope to have even more success with it in the years to come.

Mary Yockey – Anderson's Bookshop | Naperville, IL

For over fifteen years, Mary Yockey has been a buyer for Anderson's Bookshop, a well known independent book store chain just outside of Chicago. Even Oprah Winfrey herself has been to the store, proclaiming it "the best independent bookstore in the country." Mary's hard work and dedication to getting interesting and much loved books onto the shelves–and authors in the stores (even our own James Patterson has entertained a packed house there)–is what helps make Anderson's stand out above the rest. Anderson's also participates yearly in the Book Angel Project, which works to place books in the hands of disadvantaged children in local communities.

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Morningside Elementary – Reading Restaurant Library Program | Brownsville, TX

Every spring, the library at Morningside Elementary School, catering to over 760 children, turns into a Reading Restaurant. Varying in theme each time–past years have included a reading rodeo and a jungle jamboree–the library is decorated accordingly. Books that match the theme are chosen, and added to the menu for kids to "order." For two weeks each year, the library looks like a fully functioning restaurant, but instead of eating, kids are able to read new and interesting books of their choosing. The 4th and 5th graders get the prestige of being the "servers," and getting to help their "customers" read a book, sometimes even reading it out loud to listeners. The school showcases reading year round by leading up to this program with school-wide book parades, as well as requiring book presentations–but nothing gets the kids as excited about books and reading as much as their Reading Restaurant Program, a true reflection of the spirit of these awards.

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National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) | Baltimore, MD

The first book for the blind was not printed until the 1950's, and most Braille books were not even designated for a certain reading level. The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children has spent over twenty years trying to change that, and many other obstacles facing the advancement of resources available to blind readers. They hold reading contests that start in Pre-K and run through the high school level, as well as organize an annual Braille Carnival and Braille Flea Market. Every event the NOPBC holds is focused on teaching the importance and fun of reading to the blind, and providing a network of information and opportunity for all involved. Currently only 10% of blind children use Braille, yet 90% of employed blind adults are fluent in Braille–so starting young is the key to success. The NOPBC is bridging that gap and is an invaluable resource to blind children and their families nationwide.

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Paul Ingram, Prairie Lights | Iowa City, IA

Since the late 1970's, independent bookseller Prairie Lights in Iowa City, IA has been a beacon of literary events in Iowa City. Most notably, book buyer Paul Ingram has spent decades bringing national and international high profile authors to the store–as well as promoting these events on a local radio program called "Live from Prairie Lights"–giving customers a chance to meet and learn from their favorite writers. Because of Paul's hard work and dedication to books, the author program is one of the best known in the country, and he continues to make sure everyone who visits Prairie Lights leaves with a book that they'll enjoy!

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Peggy Faul – Badges with Books | Ferguson, MO

As a parent educator for over 20 years Peggy Faul, in collaboration with the City of Ferguson Chief of Police, came up with a way to get books into the hands of at risk children. In 2003, Badges with Books started buying age appropriate books and stocking them in all Ferguson police cars so that each child who comes in contact with an officer leaves with a free book. Many children that are getting into trouble do not have many books at home, or are not interested in them. This program aims to bridge that gap, allowing for respected officers to pass along the knowledge that reading is important. By receiving a book for free, each kid is given the opportunity to focus their free time on education, instead of getting into trouble on the streets. This community-wide partnership continues to grow each year, with new books being purchased around the clock for kids to enjoy!

The Poisoned Pen | Phoenix, AZ

With two locations, one in Phoenix and one in Scottsdale, The Poisoned Pen bookstore which serves as an amazing book and author event resources to the surrounding area. They specialize in crime fiction and are touted as "A Mystery Bookstore and more," with books of all kinds, including British and Canadian titles, multiple active book clubs and a collector's corner of precious signed books. Most importantly, The Poisoned Pen holds hundreds of events each year, including author visits and book clubs.

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Principal Owens, W.G. Rhea Elementary School | Paris, TN

How did the Principal Scott Owens of W.G. Rhea Elementary School get his kids to read over 100,000 books in just one year, and show them that it can be fun at the same time? He simply promised them that he would jump out of a plane! And in the spring of 2004, when over 600 students collectively read almost 23,000 more than their requirement, Principal Owens kept his promise. The program, called "Jump into the Power of Reading," was a huge hit that has since motivated the kids to collectively read over 1 million books. Not only did the kids get to see their principal jump out of a plane because they read books, but other teachers–and even a local Senator–sky dived too!

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Roosevelt Brown, Reading Literacy Learning, Inc. | San Diego, CA

For the past twenty-five years, Roosevelt Brown's name has been synonymous with reading. He is known throughout his community for encouraging kids to read, study, and learn. In his spare time, Roosevelt made a second career for himself by teaching others about his passion for books through volunteer work, organizing book donations, mentoring others, and even taking time to teach kids how to build their own personal library so they can enjoy–and preserve–every single book they read. His work as Director of the non-profit organization Reading Literacy Learning has reached an immeasurable number of children since its official founding in 1994. Most notably, Roosevelt orchestrates the Children's Book Party, an annual gathering for children of all ages to get a free book, enjoy music, dance, and participate in other book related activities. In 2006 alone, over 1,000 kids participated in the 22nd annual party–each walking away not only with a new book, but a newfound appreciation for reading.

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R.J. Julia Bookshop | Madison, CT

This independent bookseller, established in 1989, hosts over 200 events each year and even holds writing workshops and kids events that are free and open to the public. Local and international authors alike have visited R.J. Julia over the years. They also have a café that features changing art exhibits from local artists. Customers from around the world can even view staff recommendations and order them on the spot through the company's official web site. R.J. Julia owner Roxanne Coady appears regularly on Connecticut Public Radio to discuss books and authors, and the store has been voted #1 by the Advocate Best of New Haven Reader's Poll for three years running.

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San Miguel Academy of Newburgh | Newburgh, NY

The San Miguel Academy of Newburgh is a Catholic school aiming to serve those who live in the toughest and lowest income part of the city. The first hour and a half of every school day begins with lessons in reading and language arts, and with the help of volunteers, as well as a qualified reading specialist on staff, the academy is determined to raise the reading levels of all students. San Miguel believes in small class sizes for a better teacher-to-student ratio so that students can master the English language and learn to have fun reading. As a completely self-funded organization, their dedication is to making sure students receive the best education possible, especially with regard to literacy and reading.

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Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance | Columbia, SC

The Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, known as SIBA, is a non-profit organization that brings together independent booksellers throughout the south, creating a network of ideas, creativity and bookselling. SIBA currently runs three main programs–Authors Round the South, "The Spoken Word" and The SIBA Book Awards–which nominates and awards SIBA's best books across multiple categories every summer. "The Spoken Word," a syndicated and popular radio program on NPR features authors, literary discussions and performances. Authors Round the South, which brings all author events and appearances together on one website, is the top information resource for news, booksellers and customers looking to discover a passion for reading. While their outreach is immeasurable, book lovers everywhere are touched everyday by SIBA's passion to spread the joy of reading.

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Susan Scatena – Queens Library | Queens, NY

At the beginning of the summer, Susan Scatena challenged local kids to get at least 250 children to read over 1,000 books collectively. If they did, she promised to sit in a tub of Jell-O and let the kids dye her hair! In the end, over 353 kids read a total 4,654 books! On September 8th, 2006, over 300 onlookers (including some members of the local press) watched as the Queens Librarian sat in a giant pool of multi-flavored Jell-O. Next, a drawing was held to pick three lucky kids who took turns dying her hair. What color you ask? Bright purple, of course. Susan has been a librarian for over twenty-four years, but decided that a great way to get her kids to read, and to enjoy every second of it, was to challenge them to "The Great Jell-O-Sit-Down"–and it worked! Thanks to her innovative idea, the children read over four times the required amount and realized how fun reading can be.

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Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival | New Orleans, LA

This March, the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literacy Festival will celebrate its 21st anniversary–despite the numerous setbacks brought on by Hurricane Katrina. For five days every year, the festival is held in the famous French Quarter district of New Orleans, showcasing theater performances, playwriting competitions, music, and numerous literary panel discussions and workshops. This festival now fills over 10,000 seats each year, recently adding a unique outreach program called Writers in the Schools, which sets up visiting festival authors to talk with English classes at schools throughout the city. Donations of books are also made to the school's in house libraries so students can continue their learning.

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University of Southern California Literacy Programs | Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California orchestrates numerous literacy-based programs each year, making them a well deserved winner of the James Patterson PageTurner Awards. Their commitment to teaching the importance of reading to students of all ages is clear by their work with 800-1,000 K-12 kids each year. From their English Language support program Literacy One, to their unique America Reads and America Counts initiative, the University of Southern California has year after year combined mentoring, educational projects, and strong passion to benefit local school children in the southern California area.

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