What do a National Book Award winner, an Olympic gold medalist, and a picture book character have in common? They are the latest faces gracing the 2021 Get Caught Reading posters. Originally developed in 1999 by the Association of American Publishers, Get Caught Reading was designed to help retailers and wholesalers promote and celebrate the love of reading.

This year’s first three posters will feature author Kacen Callender reading Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh; two-time Olympic World champion and bestselling author Kristi Yamaguchi reading My Name Is Not Isabella: Just How Big Can a Little Girl Dream by Jennifer Fosbury; and Layla (of Layla’s Happiness by Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie) reading Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora.

The trio of names was announced by Every Child a Reader, which relaunched Get Caught Reading in 2018, when the program released a poster featuring Olympic gold medal gymnast Laurie Hernandez.

“This is one of my favorite projects and I’m grateful to the AAP for creating it years ago,” said Carl Lennertz, executive director of the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. “We are keeping the program fresh each year with a new group of role models ‘caught reading.’ The authors pick the book they want to be reading on the poster.”

Making Connections

To line up a new crop of A-list readers, the CBC tapped into its network of industry contacts. Lennertz called upon Lizette Serrano, v-p of educational marketing at Scholastic, to reach out to Callender after they received the National Book Award for King and the Dragonflies. Senior publicist at Candlewick Press Jamie Tan, who is a 2020 CBC Diversity Award winner and had requested that her book donation prize go to Yamaguchi’s Always Dream Foundation, spearheaded the connection. Finally, CBC membership and marketing manager Ryan Mita worked with Aubrey Nolan, who is in charge of special projects at Enchanted Lion Books (publisher of Layla’s Happiness), to have illustrator Ashleigh Corrin design the poster featuring her title character.

The 8 1/2” x 11” posters are available to teachers, librarians, booksellers, and parents free of charge in quantities of 10. Orders can be placed online at the Get Caught Reading Website. “I’m very glad that we were able to drop the $10 postage and handling requirement,” Lennertz said of the poster mailers. “We don’t want teachers or anyone going into their pocket for one more thing.”

The CBC is hoping to add more posters to the 2021 line-up, raising the annual total from six to 10. Among the pending requests are several WNBA stars who have been vocal in the social justice movement, as well as several literacy advocates. New this year is the CBC’s invitation for future poster suggestions, which can be emailed to Lennertz.