Special guest – Celebrated children's author Christopher Paul Curtis is our special guest reader. His works include “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963,” “Bud, Not Buddy,” “Bucking the Sarge,” “Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money” and his January 2007 release, “Mr. Chickee’s Messy Mission.” “Bud, Not Buddy” received both the Newbery Medal and Coretta Scott King Award in 2000.Feature production – “Light Up Your Life With Reading, Books and Friends,” this year’s production and event theme (written by Anyika McMillian-Herod and directed by Monique Ridge Williams), will treat audience members to a colorful selection of staged readings and works written by and for African-Americans, a Writer’s Walk and other literary activities.
An award-winning event – DCCCD’s African-American Read-In, endorsed by the International Reading Association, received the 2005 James Patterson PageTurner Award, a first-year national award for nominated literacy projects. The Dallas read-in took first place among more than 1,500 nominees and applicants. Patterson is an author, New York Times writer and program founder.
A model program – DCCCD’s citywide African American Read-In is a national model for other literacy program events and has created several literacy initiatives, including the George Dawson Literacy Awareness Campaign. Through the Dawson campaign, George Dawson “Hold Fast to Dreams” scholarships are awarded annually to DCCCD students from the United States and other countries. The late George Dawson, a former south Dallas resident who learned to read at age 98 and wrote his autobiography (“Life Is So Good”), is the read-in’s literacy hero.
Partners and sponsors – K104-FM, KKDA-AM, KRNB-FM, WFAA-TV, the Dallas Morning News, WRR-FM, Time Warner Cable, NTheKnow.com, DCTV, the Downtown Business News, Jokae’s African American Books, the Dallas Weekly, Black Images Book Bazaar, Barnes & Noble, Scholastic, Holt Rinehart Winston, Highlights magazine, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, McDonald’s, Sam’s Club, PRO-LINE International, Amerigroup, Cadbury-Schweppes Americas Beverages, Dallas Public Library, LIFT, Harlem Book Fair, Dallas Children’s Theater, National Council of Teachers of English/Black Caucus, Enterprise, DART and Millennium Motor Cars.Community read-ins – The DCCCD read-in helps kick off Black History Month and encourages other groups in the community to hold their own events and to report back how many people participate. More than 35,000 Dallas-linked readers (students, organizations, families, book clubs and others) were documented in 2006; the Dallas citywide read-in goal is 10,000.
Volunteers – In addition to the work of scores of DCCCD employees, more than 90 percent of the people who help stage the DCCCD annual read-in are volunteers; they are corporate professionals, stay-at-home moms, educators, local professional performance artists, published writers and community activists. Although they primarily are African-American, volunteers of all races support and serve the read-in. And more than 85 percent of those volunteers return the following year, renewing their commitment to service, literacy and learning in their community.