Orlando Sentinel yesterday announced the launch of its sixth annual market-wide reading program. The One Book One CommunityTM selection for 2007 is Richard and Florence Atwaters’ Mr. Popper’s Penguins. The program runs from Sunday, January 14, through Wednesday, February 28. The six-week program, part of the company’s Reading by Nine literacy initiative, is designed to encourage Central Florida children – and the adults in their lives – to read the same book. Publix Supermarkets and Borders are sponsoring this year’s program. SeaWorld Orlando, Radio Disney AM 990 and the Orange County Library System are partners.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a story about a painter and his family, which grows to include twelve penguins. It is a humorous tale of how these penguins learn to march and perform on stage, helping the Poppers make ends meet while delighting all who watch their shows. Mr. Popper’s Penguins is a Newbery Honor Book and was originally published in 1938.
The five previous One Book One Community selections were Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising, Roald Dahl’s first book for children, James and the Giant Peach (2005); the popular book Holes by Louis Sachar (2004); Because of Winn-Dixie by Newbery Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo (2003); and the children’s classic Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (2002). While other communities have launched citywide reading programs, One Book One Community with Charlotte’s Web in 2002 was the first in the nation to focus on a children’s book. It also was the first known program sponsored by a newspaper.
As in the past, the Sentinel has several programs and events planned for the Mr. Popper’s Penguins One Book One Community. These include:
- A writing contest for all ages. In 100 words or less, participants must write about an adventure incorporating the words penguin, ladder and expedition.
- The Sentinel’s Newspaper in Education (NIE) program is providing companion curriculum to area schools and will publish a series of activity ads in the newspaper relating to the book.
- Teachers at public and private schools can win a visit from SeaWorld penguins for their class. Activity ads published in the Sentinel will have contest information. Contest information and activity ads also will be on the NIE website beginning Sunday, January 14 (nieonline.com/orlando).
- The Enzian will host a special screening of March of the Penguins during United Arts ArtsFest on February 4 at 11 a.m. Just before that at 10 a.m. guests from the Sentinel will read excerpts from Mr. Popper’s Penguins in the courtyard.
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins read-alouds are planned for January 25 in classrooms in Orange, Seminole, Osceola, Volusia and Lake counties by Orlando Sentinel employee volunteers.
- There will be a children’s booth at the Zora Neale Hurston Festival January 26 in Eatonville, Florida.
- Giveaways on Radio Disney AM 990 during One Book One Community. Radio Disney’s Kids Concerns Show will feature the program on February 10.
- Borders will hold a book drive February 1 – February 28 for underprivileged children. The community may donate new and gently used copies of Mr. Popper’s Penguins or other children’s books at Borders in Winter Park, Orlando-Sand Lake, Ocoee, Oviedo and Altamonte Springs.
- Numerous readings and “read-ins” at area schools, libraries, bookstores and festivals are scheduled.
One Book One Community is part of Orlando Sentinel’s Reading by Nine program, a multi-year, multifaceted literacy initiative. The company’s vision is to have all children in Central Florida reading in English at grade level by age nine. Through newspaper and Web coverage, Newspaper In Education programs, special events, in-school volunteer programs and charitable grants, the company hopes to help improve children’s reading skills and shine the light on problems and solutions surrounding child illiteracy.
One Book One CommunityTM is a trademark of Orlando Sentinel. Little, Brown and Company publishes Mr. Popper’s Penguins.