A-list celebrities aren’t the only ones proving that it’s cool to be spotted with a book in hand. Every Child a Reader, the charitable arm of the Children’s Book Council, is introducing a new component to its Get Caught Reading program, featuring local leaders of key cultural and social services organizations. This initiative extension is launching on June 24 in New York City, with plans to roll out across the country in the coming years.

This year’s three highlighted NYC leaders are Roderick Jones, executive director of Goddard Riverside, a community services organization offering day care, senior care, and homeless counseling throughout the Upper West Side; Dr. Raymond Codrington, CEO of Weeksville, a Brooklyn cultural center; and Rina Madhani, executive director and co-founder of Start Lighthouse, a literacy nonprofit in the South Bronx. Jones is pictured reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, while Codrington is reading Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, and Madhani is reading Good Talk by Mira Jacob.

Interviews with Madhani, Jones, and Codrington will be released later this summer, along with programming news for Goddard, Weeksville and Start Lighthouse.

The longtime AAP program, was relaunched in 2018 by Every Child a Reader with a grant provided by KPMG, and featured Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez]. In 2019 and 2020, posters included authors Kate DiCamillo, Raj Haldar and Raakhee Mirchandani, along with animated characters Phoebe and her Unicorn.

Getting Onboard

“This all happened serendipitously,” said Carl Lennertz, executive director of the Children’s Book Council and Every Child a Reader. “CBC has the social justice prize with Goddard, and I knew Rod was an avid reader. Then the New York Times ran an article about Weeksville, so I reached out to Ray, and then Rani reached out to learn more about us and she also agreed to do a poster.”

The local leaders join this year’s featured readers: Charlie Jane Anders, Kacen Callender, Shani Mahiri King, Kristi Yamaguchi, The Story Monster and, most recently, the nine contributing authors to the Brown Bookshelf: Crystal Allen, Tracey Baptiste, Tameka Fryer Brown, Paula Chase, Gwendolyn Hooks, Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling Lyons, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, and Don Tate.

“I’m so thrilled that we can shine a national spotlight on these wonderful community organizations that are doing such diverse and important work,” said Ruth Chamblee, chairperson of the Every Child a Reader board. “While they may be local, the powerful message of these role models and their ideas can resonate across the country.”

The three Get Caught Reading posters in this series are sponsored by Lexile, a division of MetaMetrics. Malbert Smith, CEO and co-founder of MetaMetrics, added: “As the developer of the Lexile Framework for Reading, MetaMetrics shares a mission with Every Child a Reader: matching kids with books. We were proud to sponsor a donor growth campaign during the May Children’s Book Week and are thrilled to support the Get Caught Reading campaign.”

Posters are available free of charge to teachers, librarians, and booksellers in quantities of 10 and can be ordered online at GetCaughtReading.org.