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Hub City Waters Young Readers, Hoping They’ll Grow

The lifelong benefits of reading to babies and children are well-documented. Reading to one’s child strengthens the parent-child relationship, and the more words a child learns, the more comfortable he or she is using those words. Children with poor reading proficiency have the greatest risk of not finishing high school and failing to find economic success later in life.

Hub City Writers Project, based in Spartanburg, South Carolina, together with BirthMatters and The Adolescent Family Life Center, looks to address this social issue with a new initiative: Growing Great Readers.

Growing Great Readers is a book drive initiative aimed at new mothers aged twenty-four and younger and their infant children. Modeled after Dolly Parton’s hugely successful Imagination Library, the program donates books on a monthly basis to participating families to assure ready access to quality picture and board books aimed at children ages one to three.

The program launches at the Hub City Bookshop tonight at 4:00 pm, featuring Storytime with retired children’s librarian Bea Bruce, crafts, and cookies and lemonade. The event is free and open to the public.

Dolly Parton, an eight-time Grammy-award winning songwriter and country music legend, launched Imagination Library in 1995 in order to foster a love of reading among her Tennessee county’s preschool children and their families by providing them with the gift of a specially selected book each month. By mailing high quality, age-appropriate books directly to their homes, she wanted children to be excited about books and to feel the magic that books can create. Moreover, she could ensure that every child would have books, regardless of their family’s income. Since then, the program has grown: Imagination Library has mailed 60,000,000 books to children in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Currently over 1,600 local communities provide the Imagination Library to over 750,000 children each and every month.

Also founded in 1995, Hub City Writers Project has published more than 500 writers in sixty-six books, renovated two historic downtown buildings, and given away more than $20,000 in scholarships to emerging writers. It has sold some 150,000 Hub City Press books, provided creative writing instruction to hundreds in the Carolinas and beyond, and hosted lively book launch events in unlikely locales, including an abandoned train station, a river bank, and a concert hall. Hub City has won South Carolina’s Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award for the Arts, the SC Governor’s Award for the Humanities, and 13 IPPY (Independent Publisher) Awards. They also hold an annual book drive that delivers at least 4,000 new and gently used children’s books to elementary students.

For more information on Hub City, click here.