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Chapter Four: April News from Madison Reading Project

April has been a fun and busy month for MRP! This month we celebrated a huge milestone by giving away our 400,000th book to the amazing kids and educators at Reach Dane Union Corners! We also distributed over 1,300 book and activity packs to Dane County’s youngest readers through our My First Pages program with the help of our incredible community partners.

We had a blast at the Madison Capitals game this month which helped raise awareness of MRP programs and brought in over $6000 and some high interest books collected by the team during their annual book drive. We were also joined by the Wisconsin Garrison which made for lots of extra excitement amongst the kids and grown ups at the game.

READ(y) to Wear tickets went on sale this month! Don’t miss out on a super fun and fashionable event on June 14th that will help us ignite a love for reading one book at a time.

Our Year-to-Date Impact
  • Books given: 34,715

  • Kids impacted: 19,627

  • Community partners served: 128

Our Impact Since 2014
  • Books given: 412,047

  • Kids impacted: 239,602

April Highlights
  • Free Book Fair at Madinah Academy

  • READ(y) to Wear

  • New to the Blog - Representation in Nature with Ashley Jefferson

  • Books We Love

Free Book Fair at Madinah Academy

We had a fantastic time working with staff and students at Madinah Academy during our Free Book Fair. We were able to share high interest with every child and educator and contributed some books to the school library! We also had the opportunity to listen to children share their experiences celebrating Ramadan and got to check out their beautiful new space!

My First Pages

Our My First Pages program started two years ago and has grown into a thriving support system for educators serving Dane County's youngest readers! Since the launch of our pilot program, we have given over 22,000 books to educators, kids and families as well as literacy resources, activities, reading tips, and materials from the Madison Public Library.

This program is made possible from support from American Family Institute for Corporate and Social Impact.

Book Report News

This school year, we gave out classroom books to more than 1,000 teachers through our Books for Educators program. As a way to wrap up this year’s program and show our appreciation for teachers, the first 50 educators who completed a form were invited to shop for 10 books at our center during Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12). More than 200 educators applied for this within the first few days! We are excited to share that anyone who applied for the giveaway will be given "first dibs" to sign-up for our Books for Educators program this August.

We created a book list and several blog posts to help educators and families celebrate Earth Day and the start of spring. We were also lucky enough to have Ashley Jefferson as a guest blogger this month! Ms. Ashley (she/her) is an early childhood expert and play advocate. She brings her 20+ years of experience as an early childhood teacher, museum curator, and performer as the Founder of Play Plan Afrikan (, an early learning collective, and Nguzo Babies (, a children's puppet show.

Ms. Ashley is also a prolific curriculum author, the popular being her Kwanzaa 365 curriculum to help classrooms integrate cultural diversity. Her passion is offering support and quality resources to families with young children to restore the beauty of childhood and family pastimes. You can learn more about her book below (its one of our Books We Love this month!).

April and May Book List Recommendations
April Books We Love

Our April Books We Love all focused on themes of environmental activism, nature, and community. You can donate these books by shopping from our wish lists.

Black Beach: A Community, an Oil Spill, and the Origin of Earth Day by Shaunna and John Stith (Authors), Maribel Lechuga (Illustrator), little bee books (Publisher)

This true story of the first Earth Day - told through the eyes of a fictional child - will inspire readers of all ages to stand up for their planet.

All of Me is Nature by Ashley Renee Jefferson (Author/Photographer), Kristiana Vellucci (Illustrator), Little Feminist Press (Publisher)

There is no better way to learn about our five senses than stepping outside! Follow kids of all colors, genders, and ability levels, as they explore nature with their fingers, toes, noses, ears, and taste buds. Written as a sweet poem that will become an anthem for all nature explorations, these beautiful full-color photographs show how we can sense and experience nature everywhere.

Turtles of the Midnight Moon by María José Fitzgerald (Author), Knopf Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

When poachers threaten the island they love, two girls team up to save the turtles—and each other. An eco-mystery with an unforgettable friendship story at its heart from a fresh new voice in middle grade.

There Goes the Neighborhood by Jade Adia (Author), Disney-Hyperion (Publisher)

A raised fist against the destructive forces of gentrification and a love letter to communities of color everywhere, Jade Adia's unforgettable debut tells the darkly hilarious story of three best friends willing to do whatever it takes to stay together.


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