Take on Our Challenge: Read Across the Library!

We are five weeks away from the 20th annual National Book Festival! If you are a parent following this blog, you are likely a fan of the Library or the festival, but how could you get your kids excited, too? We challenge you and your family to read across the Library!

The Library of Congress collects widely, and contains the largest collections of comics, maps, foreign language materials, and more in the world. Can you read a book that matches material from each of these 12 areas of the Library? Use the descriptions below and examples from past National Book Festivals as inspiration for the challenge. Or, use the challenge as a way to organize your experience at this year’s National Book Festival; representative titles are included below.

When you find the perfect book, you can use this printable book journal and “bingo”-style game board to have kids record their books and to compete or compare their challenge with siblings or friends.

Bingo board representing areas of the Library's collections

Read Across the Library game board

International collections (African & Middle Eastern, Asian, European, Hispanic): A book about countries and cultures in these regions; a book by an author from these regions; a book translated from languages spoken in these regions: Africa and the Middle East, Asia, Europe, Central and South America.

  • All the Way to Havana by Mike Curato (ages 3-8)
  • Nya’s Long Walk by Linda Sue Park (ages 5-8)
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (ages 8-12)
  • When My Name was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (ages 9-12)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Kwame Mbalia, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (ages 8-12)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Angela Dominguez, Stella Diaz Never Gives Up (ages 6-9)

Science, Technology and Business: A book about business, farming, money, or the economy; a book about running and managing a business or farm; a book that made a lot of money! A book on STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math; a book about cooking and food.

  • Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World by Reshma Saujani (ages 9-16)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Sophie Blackall, If You Come to Earth (picture book, ages 5-8).
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Jon Scieska & Steven Weinberg, AstroNuts Mission 2: The Water Planet (ages 8-12)
  • 2020 festival, teen stage: Tonya Bolden, Changing the Equation: 50+ US Black Women in STEM

Copyright Office: A book about creating: writing, art, anything! If the book helps you develop your originality and creativity, it fits!

American Folklife Center: A book with stories from fairy tales, folktales, and mythology; a book that retells a famous story.

  • Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly (ages 9-12)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Kwame Mbalia, Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky (ages 8-12)
  • 2020 festival, teen stage: T. Anderson & Jo RiouxThe Daughters of Ys (graphic novel)

 Geography & Map Division: A fantasy or nonfiction book with a map; a book where the characters travel or go on an adventure; a book about traveling around the world.

  • Tunnel of Bones by V.E. Schwab (ages 8-13)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Pam Muñoz Ryan, Mañanaland (ages 8-12).
  • 2020 festival, teen stage: Sabaa Tahir, A Thief Among the Trees (graphic novel)

Law Library: A book about civics: the government, citizenship, and/or kindness to others. A book about a court case or police work.

  • Turning Pages: My Life Story by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor (ages 5-10)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Veronica Chambers (and the staff of the NYT), Finish the Fight!: The Brave, Unruly, and Radical Women Who Fought for the Right to Vote (ages 8-12).
  • 2020 festival children’s stage: Kelly Yang, Three Keys (ages 8-12)
  • 2020 festival, teen stage: Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed, Yes No Maybe So
  • 2020 festival, teen stage: Nic Stone, Dear Justyce

Main Reading Room: A book about general knowledge; encyclopedia, reference book, a fun facts book, a handbook, or a collection of stories. A book about genealogy; a book about family, especially families with many generations; a book about legacies and traditions.

Manuscript Division:  A book about history, particularly books with primary sources such as letters, diaries, and notes.

  • Child of the Dream (Memoir of 1963) by Sharon Robinson (ages 8-14)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Barb Rosenstock, Leave It to Abigail The Revolutionary Life of Abigail Adams (picture book, ages 4-8).
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Deborah Hopkinson, Thanks to Frances Perkins: Fighter for Workers’ Rights (ages 6-10)
  • 2020 festival, teen stage: Mike Curato, Flamer (graphic novel)

Motion Picture, Broadcasting and Recorded Sound: A book about TV, music, or movies; a book written by a singer or an actor or actress; a book that was made into or based on a TV show or movie.

Serial and Government Periodicals: A comic book, comic book series, or graphic novel; a book that features newspapers and newspaper articles.

  • Secret Coders: Secrets & Sequences by Gene Luen Yang (ages 8-14)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Jerry Craft, New Kid (graphic novel, ages 8-12)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Dav Pilkey, Dog Man:Fetch-22 (Dog Man #8) (ages 7-12).

Performing Arts: A book about theater, music, comedy, puppets, the circus, dance, and all other performing arts; a book that is perfect for read-alouds.

  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (ages 9-14)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Dan Brown, Wild Symphony (picture book, ages 3-7)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Mo Willems, Because (picture book, ages 3-7)
  • 2020 festival, children’s stage: Connie Schofield-Morrison & Frank Morrison, I Got the School Spirit (picture book, ages 3-6)

Prints & Photographs: A book of photographs or about photographers; a poster or art book; a book about drawing, architecture, or art.

Can YOU read across the largest library in the world? Let us know if you complete the challenge, or if you have suggestions of books in the comments section!

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