By Denise Gary
Photographs © Denise Gary

Kids Need to Read introduced authors PJ Haarsma and Frank Beddor to the middle school students of ASU Preparatory Academy as part of the KNTR Reading Revolution program, produced in partnership with Arizona State University and ASU Preparatory Academy to increase literacy and graduation rates among disadvantaged students. Both authors provide highly engaging presentations, always leaving students motivated to read!

First up was PJ, presenting to the sixth grade students, who were studying The Softwire series in their English language arts classes.

Kids Need to Read had provided class sets of the series to the school.

Eighth grade students also attended PJ’s presentation, as the series had been integrated into their English language arts, math, science, and social studies core curriculum last year. (See Reading Revolution: Stupendous Student Softwire Presentation for more information.) The Softwire is incorporated in the Reading Revolution program to emphasize the value of reading and its connection to every facet of life, encompassing a variety of topics, including economic, social and time measurement systems.

Students were introduced to the science behind the science fiction novels.

There was a movie audition . . .

. . . and the chronicle of an alien encounter.

It was obvious how much the kids enjoyed PJ’s captivating program!

Frank Beddor presented to the seventh grade students, who were studying The Looking Glass Wars series in their English language arts classes.

Kids Need to Read provided class sets of the series to ASU Preparatory Academy, as well as class sets of Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll.

The students compared and contrasted the novels, as The Looking Glass Wars purports to be the “true” story of Alice in Wonderland, long hidden from the public.

The Looking Glass Wars is incorporated in the Reading Revolution program to emphasize the value of reading and its connection to an imaginative, prosperous future.

There was a little something about a certain Cheshire Cat. . . .

It was so much fun to watch the students laughing at Frank’s entertaining program!

Kids Need to Read provided each student with two volumes of Frank’s Hatter M graphic novels.

Following the school presentations, Barnes & Noble hosted both authors at the Chandler, Arizona Barnes & Noble location. PJ and Frank signed books to promote the store’s holiday book drive for KNTR.

The following day, Kids Need to Read brought the authors to Cocopah and Ingleside middle schools for more presentations. In addition to providing the school libraries with multiple copies of both authors’ books, we were able to provide each student attending Frank’s programs with a Hatter M graphic novel, due to an extremely generous donation by Frank Beddor to Kids Need to Read. We are so grateful for the time and talent each author gave, inspiring students to love reading!

More Photos: Reading Revolution: PJ Haarsma and Frank Beddor Inspire Literacy and Imagination

More Reading Revolution Program Information

Reading Revolution Program Partners

Arizona State University
ASU Preparatory Academy
Canyon State Academy

Reading Revolution Funding Partners

American Woodmark Foundation
Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation
Avnet Contributions Council
Cardinals Charities
Employees Community Fund of Boeing Arizona
Fry’s Fund
John F. Long Foundation
National Home Library Foundation
Otto & Edna Neely Foundation
Walmart Foundation
Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund

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