Family Reading Night, a free community event organized by The Missourian, will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 Friday, March 1, at Washington Middle School.

This year’s guest author/illustrator is Lisa Papp. She will share her book, “Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog,” a February Missourian Book Buzz Pick. This book can be found in most area school libraries thanks to donations to the Book Buzz Youth Literacy Project.

This new book is a companion to the 2017 Missourian Book Buzz Pick, and 2018-19 MASL Show Me Award Nominee, “Madeline Finn and the Library Dog.” In the new book, Madeline finds a way to help more dogs and read more stories with a heartwarming exploration of life in an animal shelter.

In celebration of the book, the theme for this year’s Family Reading Night is Pets, Love, Books! The Franklin County Humane Society will share information on responsible pet ownership.

There will a reading room for children to read to dogs and families will be invited to bring essential shelter supplies to donate, including bath rugs with rubber backing, blankets and towels.

Children -- with a parent’s help -- can submit photos of themselves with their pet to emissourian.com/petpic. These pictures will be used to create an opening show beginning at 5:30 p.m. during Family Reading Night.

Children who attend Family Reading Night will not only meet Papp, they can listen to stories read by community leaders and local high school students, participate in crafts based on books, and win books. Last year, more than 30 baskets of books will be given away at the end of the event, following a readers’ theater performed by the Washington Police Department.

Anyone interested in donating a basket of new books to promote reading are encouraged to contact Penny Heisel at penny.heisel@washington.k12.mo.us. Last year, more than 30 donated baskets were collected by the Family Reading Night committee and awarded to children at the end of the event for their home libraries.

Families who read together at least 15 minutes each night for a week prior to Family Reading Night can log their time and bring their completed logs to the event to be part of a drawing for book prizes. The Family Reading prizes are sponsored by the Washington High School Football Team and Washington NEA.

Family Reading Logs will be distributed to many schools and will be published in the Feb. 16-17 issue of The Missourian. The Family Reading log is available HERE for download.

This is the 19th Family Reading Night, which celebrates families reading together. The event is sponsored by The Missourian, School District of Washington and Washington Optimist Club.

Additional support is provided by the Washington Public Library, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of New Haven and Neighborhood Reads bookstore and more than 100 volunteers.