Dear Families,

Welcome to my Thirteenth Annual Community Reading Challenge! This year we are excited to delve into the theme of outer space exploration with the slogan "To Infinity and Beyond!" We hope that this theme, coupled with the recent resurgence in space programs, will encourage readers to be curious about the universe around them and to appreciate their role within it. The book list promises to be filled with intergalactic travel, biographies of the first astronauts, history of the space race, and of course, aliens! I hope that the space exploration theme will also show how full of adventure science can be.

I'm also excited to share that this year we are shaking things up a bit. The upcoming Reading Challenge will be held over winter break in order to encourage students to read during their time off. The Reading Challenge Festivals, where we celebrate students' spectacular reading accomplishments, will be held in January and February rather than in the spring. The Festivals will feature guest author readings, activities, free books, prizes and certificates for readers from the New York State Assembly! Finally, to culminate the Reading Challenge we are working with Columbia Astronomy Public Outreach to hold stargazing and lecture night in February for all of our readers. My office will reach out with more details in early January.

The 2016 Reading Festivals will be held at the following local libraries:

Morningside Heights Branch
2900 Broadway at 113th Street
Thursday, January 28th
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Bloomingdale Branch
150 West 100th Street
Between Amsterdam and Columbus
Friday, January 29th
3:30 - 4:30 p.m.

George Bruce Branch
518 West 125th Street
Between Broadway and Amsterdam
Wednesday, February 17th
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

In this booklet, in addition to the reading list, you will find a reading log, suggested activities and events, and tips for parents and guardians to encourage reading at home. The book list includes recommendations for Pre-K through eighth grade reading levels, along with some at an advanced level. Participants are encouraged to check out any books that look intriguing, regardless of reading level!

I am kicking off my Community Reading Challenge on December 21st, 2015 and the Book Festivals will run from January 13th to January 28th. If you have any questions about this year's Challenge, please don't hesitate visit any of the participating libraries or call my Community Office at (212) 866-3970.

Very truly yours,

Daniel O'Donnell
Assembly Member