CASPER, Wyo. — On Tuesday, May 16, nearly 8,000 books will be distributed to first-graders at Wyoming Reads literacy celebrations held in each of the state's 23 counties.
First Lady Carol Mead will be a special guest at the 18th annual Natrona County celebration, held at the Natrona County Library and Nicolaysen Art Museum with nearly 1,100 Natrona County first-graders in attendance from public, private, and home schools. The celebration will begin at 11 a.m.
In addition, 250 Natrona County first-graders will receive their first library card. Celebrity Readers from the community will be stationed at the library to read books to the children, who will also enjoy a picnic lunch and a special fairytale about "The Good Queen Sue" — a tribute to Sue Jorgensen, in whose memory this event was established.
The fairytale is presented as a play performed at the Nicolaysen Art Museum, featuring students from the Natrona County High School Theatre department. Music will be provided by Richard Turner from the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra.
Earlier this year, children had the opportunity to choose which book they would like to receive from the following options:
· "Mother Bruce" by Ryan T. Higgins
· "The Most Magnificent Thing" by Ashley Spires
· "Strictly No Elephants" by Lisa Mantchev
· "Hoot and Peep" by Lita Judge
· "Good Night Baddies" by Deborah Underwood
· "Groovy Joe: Ice Cream and Dinosaurs" by Eric Litwin
Wyoming Reads celebrations focus on the joy of reading, highlighted by each child receiving a hardback book with their name printed inside the cover, donated by the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation.
John Jorgensen established the Sue Jorgensen Library Foundation in 1996 and founded the Casper Cares, Casper Reads festival to honor his late wife's commitment to children and reading. The celebration was expanded statewide as Wyoming Reads in 2006.
"Sue was always very dedicated to children and to literacy," says John. "She believed that literacy was the foundation for everything in life." That vision continues to fuel this community literacy initiative.
Partners in this year's Wyoming Reads celebration include the McMurry Foundation, Tonkin Foundation, Casper Rotary Club, Natrona County Recreation Joint Powers Board, Friends of the Natrona County Library, Casper Kiwanis Club, Wyoming Community Foundation, Rocky Mountain Power, Sinclair Refinery, and a number of generous individuals.
Governor Matt Mead has issued a proclamation naming May 16 as Wyoming Literacy Day. To view the proclamation, visit wyomingreads.org/news
For more information on Wyoming Reads, please visit wyomingreads.org