Young Readers Festival

Juan Felipe Herrera’s ‘Imagine,’ Illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Lauren Castillo, Chosen as 2021 Young Readers One Book

The work of two acclaimed creative artists, translated into two languages, equals one extraordinary book for young readers in South Dakota.

The South Dakota Humanities Council is pleased to introduce the 2021 Young Readers One Book South Dakota Imagine/Imagina, written by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. There are currently separate versions available in English and Spanish, but SDHC's special edition will include both versions. SDHC created the Young Readers Initiative, an extension of the established and successful South Dakota Festival of Books and One Book South Dakota programs, in 2014 to excite children about books.

More than 10,000 young readers in South Dakota will receive the Spanish/English special edition. Given the creators' credentials, it will indeed be "special."

Herrera, the United States Poet Laureate from 2015-2017, is an eloquent linguist whose collaboration with Caldecott Honoree Castillo on Imagine has been lauded by critics.

South Dakota Festival of Books Director Jennifer Widman is excited to get copies of Herrera's book into the hands of third graders this fall.

"We think Imagine will spark ideas in our state's young readers as they read Herrera's story of being a child with dreams who grew into an adult with even bigger accomplishments," she said.

Herrera, Castillo and other young readers authors will appear in virtual school visits and a special pre-recorded  video during the Virtual 2021 South Dakota Festival of Books.

About the Young Readers Festival

An extension of our established and successful South Dakota Festival of Books and One Book South Dakota programs, SDHC launched the Young Readers Initiative and Young Readers Festival of Books in 2014 to excite children about books and in turn prevent the common problem of summer reading loss. The program was created to shape powerful learning habits for youth when they are most impressionable; therefore, setting the stage for a lifetime of joy from reading. 

Combining book ownership with face-to-face visits with authors and artists creates the kind of lifelong excitement for reading and writing that we want to achieve.

The Young Readers program is made possible by generous donors, including United Way of the Black Hills, First Bank and Trust, John T. Vucurevich Foundation and Northern Hills Federal Credit Union, who help us provide books to students throughout South Dakota. 

Virtual 2020 Young Readers South Dakota Festival of Books Videos

Below are seven Young Readers author/illustrator videos — FREE for teachers, librarians, and parents/guardians to access. 

Alison McGhee

"Bink & Gollie: Three for One: Creating the 2020 Young Readers One Book" – McGhee talks about how Bink & Gollie came to be and answers questions from South Dakota students – focused on 3rd grade

Brenda Child

"Dreaming Up Bowwow Powwow" – Child answers questions about the creation of her bilingual picture book; viewers can also access two readings of the book - 2nd grade and up


Angelica Shirley Carpenter & Edwin Fotheringham (with Jennifer McIntyre)

"Writing and Illustrating The Voice of Liberty" –Carpenter (author) and Fotheringham (illustrator) show how the words and pictures in their book evolved and answer questions about their creative process – 2nd grade and up

Helen Frost

"I See the Campanile: How Childhood Memories Find Their Way into My Stories" – Frost, a Brookings native, shows photos and shares childhood memories that influenced her poetry books, especially Blue Daisy and Applesauce Weather – 2nd grade and up

Suzanne Hovik Fuller

"Researching & Writing The Girl Who Moved to the Town that Wasn't There" – Fuller talks about using primary sources like newspapers to research her book about the founding of the town of Egan in Dakota Territory – 4th grade and up

Steve Sheinkin

"Making History Fun: How I Research and Write My Books" – Sheinkin uses examples from three of his books to show how he finds facts and organizes them into book form – 4th grade and up, especially good for middle school

2018 Young Readers Festival featuring Kara LaReau.

Kara LaReau speaks to a large crowd of third graders at the 2018 Young Readers Festival of Books in Sioux Falls. 

Subscribe to E-news for More Information

Interested in finding out more about the annual Young Readers Festival of Books? Subscribe to our e-newsletter to receive additional information about the 2020 event in Brookings as it is released. 

2019 Resources: 'Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People' E-Book, Audiobook

Many classes are still enjoying the classroom resources we provided for the selection featured in 2019 — Tatanka and Other Legends of the Lakota People by Donald F. Montileaux. For your convenience, we're providing continued access to these materials. For the E-Book, Audiobook, and other supplemental materials including teacher guides and student activity books, click below.