Young Readers

Smashie McPerter

Young Readers One Book

Each year, SDHC selects the Young Readers One Book to share with children across the state. This program, which provides books to upwards of 12,000 students at over 200 schools throughout South Dakota, is made possible by generous donors, including First Bank and Trust and Northern Hills Federal Credit Union.

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.

Download the Candlewick Press Teachers’ Guide for this book.

Young Readers Festival of Books

As an extension of our established and successful South Dakota Festival of Books and One Book South Dakota programs, SDHC launched the Young Readers Initiative in 2014 to get children excited about books and in turn prevent the common problem of reading loss during summer months.

The Young Readers Festival hosts at least a dozen children’s/YA authors and illustrators who speak directly to students in schools and at local cultural centers. Together with the Young Readers One Book, these events shape powerful learning habits for youth when they are most impressionable, setting the stage for a lifetime of joy from reading.

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

Young Readers Festival of Books

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South Dakota Humanities Council
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Brookings, SD 57006
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