I never enjoyed reading until my late teens. I mean, an occasional book may have found my interest when I was younger, but I was only really reading because I had to, mostly for school. I can unequivocally say, that has changed a great deal. Many hours have now been spent reading and studying, stories and lessons learned, and new worlds visited. Reading truly is a magical experience where the words on the page and your imagination build the characters, the kingdoms, and the universe. Actually, one of my favorite quotes comes from C.S. Lewis (you may know the Chronicles of Narnia) “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Harry Potter. Lord of the Rings. Graphic Novels. Manga. Comic Books. Authors like Hemmingway, Stephen King, Lovecraft, Homer, and so many others.  Reading in general fuels not only the imagination, but helps build literacy, vocabulary, and vernacular.

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It just so happens that children’s Book Week is right around the corner. Established in 1919, the annual celebration of books for young people, and the joy of reading in general, takes place Monday, May 2nd through Sunday, May 8th. Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative, now officially to its 103rd anniversary. Each year young people participate by attending events at schools, libraries, bookstores, and by engaging with book creators both online and in-person. This year the children’s Book Week slogan is, How Do You Book? Which asks participants to think about what they read, where they read, and how they read.

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This year you can join the celebration at River Lights Bookstore, a part of downtown Dubuque for almost 15 years. Throughout the week all children's books will be 20% off and kids can participate in a scavenger hunt through the store. Customers can also purchase an extra book, which will be donated to the local charity, St. Mark Youth Enrichment. And on Saturday, May 7th, Tante Evie's Storytime Adventures will be held from 10:00-10:30. Staff member Evelyn Buday will read The Bad Seed by Jory John and Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban.

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