Jumpstart, an organization founded 25 years ago on the philosophy that providing high-quality educational opportunities to all young children contributes to breaking the cycle of poverty, has selected Kat Zhang’s Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon as the featured title of its annual literacy campaign, Read for the Record. Illustrated by Charlene Chua and published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers in fall 2020, the picture book introduces a girl who struggles at craft time to create a dragon that perfectly represents her, and explores themes of self-identity and affirmation through celebration of cultural symbols and family history.
During Read for the Record, which will take place this year on October 28, adults celebrate the transformative power of books by reading to children in their communities. The campaign fosters a positive association with reading and learning and highlights the social-emotional benefits of one-to-one reading. In 2020, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic, more than two million readers across the globe participated in Read for the Record.
“Each year, this day shines a spotlight on the essential role that adults play in supporting the learning and development of children by doing one simple act: reading aloud,” Jumpstart CEO Naila Bolus said in a statement. “At Jumpstart, we view books as windows to different experiences and as mirrors in which children can really see themselves. I think this year’s selected book accomplishes this objective especially well through the importance of celebrating who we are and caring for one another.”
Zhang, whose earlier books include Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao, middle-grade novels The Emperor’s Riddle and The Memory of Forgotten Things, and the Hybrid Chronicles YA trilogy, noted that she is “thrilled” that her book was chosen as this year’s Read for the Record title. “Jumpstart’s mission is so important, and I love that Amy Wu’s story will reach so many children,” she said.
Sharing the author’s enthusiasm, Jon Anderson, president and publisher of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, said, “We are delighted to join Jumpstart in celebration of Read for the Record and its mission to share engaging, quality literature with readers everywhere. Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon will undoubtedly bring joy to the children and adults who read it together.”
A limited number of special-edition, paperback copies of Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon will be sold exclusively by Jumpstart, in both English and Spanish, through its website. This edition will feature reading tips, vocabulary words, reading comprehension questions, and activity guides developed by Jumpstart’s team of early education experts. All book proceeds help bring Jumpstart’s program to preschool children in underserved communities across the country.
Details about Jumpstart’s Read for the Record, and information about pledging to join the campaign as a reader, is available here.