SHOW LOW — Representatives from Kids Need to Read, a literacy program for children, visited the Show Low Public Library Saturday, Sept. 7, as part of the “Grow Your Library” program of Mesa.

Board member Gary Mlodzik and his wife, Tina, traveled to Show Low on behalf of Grow Your Library to present a donation of 500 new books valued at $5,612.

In conjunction with the presentation, the library held a special story time presentation for about 60 children and family members in attendance.

Kids Need to Read executive director, Denise Gary, was also on hand, reading an interactive book titled “Ninja.”

All of the young readers received a free children’s book, a Highlights magazine and activity book and their choice of a plush puppy, kitty, bunny or lamb to become their “reading buddy”. The items were courtesy of Kids Need to Read and PetSmart Charities.

Why do kids need to read?

“Kids need to read because, depending where they live, they might have limited exposure to other parts of their state, or the country,” says Mlodzik. “Reading gives kids hope, expands their horizons and allows them to explore the outside world.”

“My wife Tina sometimes reads a book to groups of kids titled ‘Desert Creatures’, Mlodzik says. “There are kids who don’t know what a desert is; they’ve never been exposed to it if they live in a northern state, for example.”

“Kids are always asked in school ‘what you do want to be when you grow up?’ How can they know what they want to be if they don’t know what the options are — if they only know what’s right in front of them. Reading brings them options and choices they didn’t know existed.”

The other point that Mlodzik made was the difference between a real, handheld hardcover book versus a kindle or an IPad. “There’s nothing like holding a real book in your hands,” he assures. “You can fall in love with a book; it brings you comfort and it’s tangible. Digital media just doesn’t do that.”

The national organization holds six events of this type per year in 14 different states. This year, Show Low, Arizona was selected as one of the states to be visited this year.

“We are so thankful and appreciative of the authors and publishers who donate the new books,” explains Mlodzik. “We couldn’t accomplish this without them.”

The Show Low Public Library is open Monday through Saturday, hosting a variety of educational, fun and enriching events for all ages throughout the week. To view the current schedule, visit https://www.showlowaz.gov/library or call 928-532-4070.

Reach the reporter at lsingleton@wmicentral.com

Reach the reporter at

lsingleton@wmicentral.com

Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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