The Pizza Hut Book It! Program, known for instilling a love of reading in more than 14 million students across the U.S. each year, announced a new literary partner beginning in the 2016–17 school year: two-time Newbery Medal Award-winning author Kate DiCamillo. This announcement also marks the start of enrollment for Book It! in the 2016–17 school year.
DiCamillo’s award-winning book, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures, illustrated by K.G. Campbell, will be incorporated into all Book It! classroom materials, teacher printables, and web creative at www.BOOKITprogram.com. Winner of the 2014 Newbery Medal, Flora and Ulysses is an adventure novel starring 10-year-old Flora Belle and her superhero squirrel Ulysses. The book is celebrated in teacher circles for helping students explore interpersonal relationships, expand their vocabulary, create superhero-themed artwork, and begin learning about poetry and philosophy.
“Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty, but rather as a gift,” DiCamillo says. “The Pizza Hut Book It! program perfectly aligns with this philosophy by emphasizing the fun of opening a new book and celebrating the satisfaction that comes from reading another story. Millions of adults have fond memories of being a Book It! kid, and I’m honored to work with Pizza Hut to share my own love of reading with the next generation of Book It! students.”
DiCamillo uses her platform as a world-renowned writer to encourage children to find the joy in reading. Starting in 2014 she served for two years as the Library of Congress’s National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. This summer, she will also serve as the 2016 National Summer Reading Champion, and will be traveling to promote her new novel, Raymie Nightingale, to be published on April 12.
“Kate embodies the same passion for reading that is palpable across every level of Book It!, from the students and teachers in the classroom to Pizza Hut leadership to the restaurant team members who get to help children celebrate their reading achievement,” says Natasha Collins, manager, Pizza Hut Book It! program. “To add an award-winning author of Kate’s caliber is not only a testament to the esteemed status of the Book It! program but also to Kate’s true commitment to instilling a love of reading in young people.”
For the past four years, Book It! has partnered with Jeff Kinney, author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series, to encourage a passion for reading in a fun and relevant way.
“Millions of children grew up with Book It! and Greg Heffley together and were inspired by his diary to reach their reading goals,” Collins says. “We appreciate Jeff as our inaugural literary partner and his unflagging support for promoting childhood literacy. As we pass the torch from Jeff to Kate, we look forward to continuing the mission that Jeff helped us to start: encouraging kids across America to read their hearts out.”
Book It! is simple, flexible, fun, and free to use in the classroom. Running every school year from October 1 through March 31, the goal of the program—available for children from kindergarten through sixth grade—is to foster a love of reading. Students who meet monthly reading goals set by their teacher receive a Reading Award Certificate to redeem at participating Pizza Hut locations for a one-topping Personal Pan Pizza and a Passport to Reading Award.