[pullquote_left]by April Hunt[/pullquote_left]
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Join Mayor Heartwell in Fighting Illiteracy in Grand Rapids

A few weeks ago my daughters inadvertently obtained buttons (they love their buttons!) at the main library in downtown Grand Rapids. Unlike their science buttons for the Summer Reading Program, these buttons read, “I Read With the Mayor” and had depictions from some of their favorite books on them.

My 5 year old was nonplussed. “Who’s the mayor?” she asked. “I don’t want to read with a mayor!” I told her that her great grandmother, who is still living, was a mayor. She liked the idea of reading with Granny, and thus accepted the button.

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But I failed to take the opportunity to teach her about local government (I know–really interesting material for a five year old!). What does a mayor even do??

Now that GRPL is kicking off their seventh annual Mayor’s Book Club, I am going to talk to my girls about what being a mayor means. I’ll tell them what our mayor does and show them photos of Mayor George Heartwell. Then I’ll tell them that they can join his book club.

My Daughters Will Be all About Joining the Mayor’s Book Club.

Especially if there’s a prize at the end. (I hear it might even be new buttons!)

 And your kids aged eight and under can join, too!

The book club kicks off August 27 and runs through next July. Each month a new book will be featured and read by the mayor to a local classroom or preschool. We can follow along at home by reading the same book and then taking our booklet (available at local branches) to the library for a stamp. Once the booklet is full, you can cash in for that coveted button. You can sign up for the Mayor’s Book Club here.

I challenge you to go beyond just reading the books, though. Why not use this time to talk to your children about local government and why it’s important to be involved in your community? Explain why we vote for things that are important to us. Tell them that the mayor is dedicated improving literacy in our town and is doing this club so that more kids can learn to read.

Talking government with kids becomes more real if it is attached to something tangible like a reading program.

So grab your booklet from your local public library branch and join us!

GRPL Mayor’s Book Club for Kids Titles

August     There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books by Lucille Colandro
September    Sophie’s Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller
October    How Big Could Your Pumpkin Grow? By Wendell Minor
November    Tiger in My Soup by Kashmira Sheth
December    Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg by Lori Mortenson
January    The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
February    Off to Market by Elizabeth Dale
March        The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty
April        The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
May        20 Big Trucks in the Middle of the Street by Mark Lee
June        Xander’s Panda Party by Linda Sue Park
July        Tap the Magic Tree by Christie Matheson