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Young Readers

Young Readers Program

Since 2014, SDHC has selected a book for the Young Readers One Book program to share with children across the state. Through a partnerships with South Dakota’s educators, we are shaping powerful learning habits to increase our youth’s reading achievement levels when they’re the most impressionable through books ownership, author interactions, and class materials.

We began this program with just a few thousand books and this year we delivered over 14,000 to 381 schools! Without the support of sponsors and donors like you, we would have never received such a remarkable milestone of providing a book to every third grader in South Dakota. In addition, this support has allowed us to form lasting partnerships that help us equip educators with invaluable class materials such as classroom guides, author videos, and author interactions at the Festival of Books.

As we look ahead to the coming months, we’re excited to announce

our goal of raising $105,500 for 2024’s Young Readers One Book!

Let’s come together and create a brighter future for our children and empower them to dream big by visiting or clicking the button below. Please help us in continuing this program in 2024!

Watch 2023’s Young Readers One Book author engage with students across South Dakota!

Young Readers Program
The Tale of Desperaux - Kate DiCamillo

Young Readers One Book

The 2023 Young Readers One Book selection is The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering. The hero of this Newbery Medal-winning book is Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, a serving girl named Miggery Sow, and the adventures that bring them together.

Kate DiCamillo was the first featured author when the Young Readers One Book program launched in 2014. “There’s something really powerful about writing books for kids,” DiCamillo said. “I think of it as peripheral magic. All those things that you stop believing when you’re an adult are still possible when you’re a kid. Something miraculous is happening just out of the corner of your eye. I love tapping into that.”

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

68% of Our Youth

Read Below a Proficient Level

Our partnership with South Dakota educators, Black Hills Reads, and SFEC, we areshaping powerful learning habits to increase our youth’s reading achievement levels when they’re the most impressionable through book ownership, author interactions, and class materials.

As an extension of our established South Dakota Festival of Books and One Book South Dakota programs, SDHC launched the Young Readers One Book program in 2014 to increase literacy excitement and inspire children’s imagination. The Young Readers Festival hosts at least a dozen children’s/YA authors and illustrators to speak directly to students in schools and local cultural centers after they’ve received their free books and classroom materials. 

Our program’s success is only made possible through the generous donations we’ve received over the years. We’re grateful for the many supporters who have joined us on this incredible journey. While we’ve gone from delivering a few thousand books to over 14,000 across the state this year, we acknowledge that our mission goes beyond these contributions. As we work to inspire young minds, we invite others to join us in our efforts to profoundly impact and inspire our youth in 2024 and beyond.

Young Readers Festival authors can be found on the Festival of Books page.