Family Reading Night, a free community event organized by The Missourian, will celebrate its 20th event Friday, March 6, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Washington Middle School.

This year’s guest author/illustrator is Peter H. Reynolds — the creator of dozens of books, including past Missourian Book Buzz Picks “The Dot” and “The Word Collector.”

Reynolds will share his newest book, “Be You!,” an upcoming March Book Buzz Pick.

In celebration of the book, the theme for this year’s Family Reading Night is “Be a Reader!”

Area schools can win a visit from Reynolds March 6 by participating in a mural contest. Any kindergarten through eighth-grade school in The Missourian’s circulation area can enter the contest by creating a mural following the theme “Be a Reader!” Murals should draw inspiration from Reynolds’ books.

An official mural entry form can be picked up at Neighborhood Reads bookstore, 401 Lafayette St. in Downtown Washington.

The deadline to return completed murals is Wednesday, Feb. 26. Official rules can be found at

Children who attend Family Reading Night will not only meet Reynolds, but can listen to stories, create art in this year’s makerspace, and win books.

Last year, 66 baskets of books were given away at the end of the event, following a readers’ theater performed by the Washington Police Department.

Washington Parents as Teachers will host a toddler activity room throughout the event.

Local organizations, businesses and individuals can help make this 20th event a record-breaking opportunity to send kids home with books by donating a basket of new books. Book baskets can be dropped off at the Washington Public Library, Neighborhood Reads or South Point Elementary School before March 6.

Neighborhood Reads also is offering a discount on books purchased for baskets. Get more information in the store.

For additional questions on donating a basket of books to Family Reading Night, contact Penny Heisel at Please include the name and address of the donor on the basket.

Family Reading Night celebrates families reading together. The event is sponsored by The Missourian, Washington School District and Washington Optimist Club. Additional support is provided by Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of New Haven, the WHS football team, Washington NEA, Washington Public Library, Neighborhood Reads and more than 100 volunteers.