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‘One Book, One Bellefonte’ to Hold Kickoff Event

Bellefonte READS Committee has revealed the choice for the 2020 “One Book, One Bellefonte” celebration. The community-wide selection is “Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus,” written by Dusti Bowling.

A free book give-away night is scheduled from 6 to 7:30 p.m. today (Jan. 23) at Bellefonte Area High School.

The picture book “Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You,” by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Rafael Lopez will be offered as a companion for younger readers.

Community members of all ages will be able to select a free book, made possible by many benefactors, and join in some entertaining literary activities at Thursday’s event.

Last year, about 1,000 books were given away and many more were ordered for this year. The Bellefonte Reads committee has also obtained 200 prints of Rafael Lopez’s illustrated cover for the picture book for the event. Event organizers will give the prints out as long as supply lasts.

Limited copies of “Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus,” a sequel to this year’s selection, also will be available.

The mission of Bellefonte READS is to foster a love of reading in the community.

Jackie Wynkoop, literacy coach at the Bellefonte middle and high schools, is co-chair of the Bellefonte Reads committee, along with Nicole Kohlhepp, literacy coach at the Bellefonte Elementary School. The entire committee of about 20 members have met since summer, along with Laura Sarge, children’s librarian at Centre County Library in Bellefonte, to raise funds, seek grants and increase involvement in the Bellefonte Reads project.

“We have booked [Dusti Bowling,] the author of the 2020 book and she will come and speak to the middle school and then to the Adult Book Club at the Centre County Library in Bellefonte,’ Wynkoop said. ‘I picked up the book myself earlier in the process and found myself laughing out loud. I immediately thought it might be a contender for One Book Bellefonte.”

“After the 2019 event, so many kids read the selection, ‘Refugee,’ that students were coming to the library and looking for other books by the author.”

That is good news for any teachers, librarians or parents who want to foster the love of reading in their kids.

Some of those who helped to fund the free book event include, but are not limited to: a grant from Believe in Reading; Walmart on Benner Pike; Bellefonte Women’s Club; AAUW; and the school district staff’s “wear jeans on Friday” money, when staff members contribute at least $1 each.

Learn more about Bellefonte Reads here.