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

This year’s guest author/illustrator is 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, the theme for this year’s Family Reading Night is Pets, Love, Books. The Franklin County Humane Society also 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

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 rugs.

Children who attend 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.

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 should contact Penny Heisel at

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.

Family Reading Logs will be distributed to many schools, will be published in the Feb. 16-17 issue of The Missourian, and will be 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, Washington School District 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.