Family Reading Night will celebrate “Pets, Love, Books!” this Friday evening, March 1. The annual free community event organized by The Missourian will be held from 5:30 to 8:30 at Washington Middle School.

The guest author/illustrator will be Lisa Papp, who 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. 

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, children, (with a parent’s help), can submit photos of themselves with their pet to These pictures will be used to create an opening show beginning at 5:30 p.m. during Family Reading Night. Families who attend also will be invited to bring items to donate to the Franklin County Humane Society.

Requested items include:

Training treats, rawhide bones, equine pelletized bedding for kitty litter, bath mats for use inside pet cages, Fancy Feast broths for coaxing a cat into eating more food so they can grow stronger; toilet paper to help clean up all kinds of spills, paper towels to clean up the daily “accidents,” disinfecting wipes, hand sanitizer and pocket folders for medical records and pet ownership resources.  

Following the author presentation, children and families can listen to stories read by community leaders and local high school students, participate in crafts based on books, and win books. 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 Last year, more than 30 donated baskets are collected by the Family Reading Night committee and awarded to children at the end of the event for their home libraries.

Family Reading Logs have been distributed to many schools and are available online at 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.

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.