At a time when it feels like our kids are completely consumed by technology, organizations and businesses around Denver are offering events to keep youngsters engaged in the world of literature. Read up on these:
Personal Reading Lists and Phone-a-Story hotline
At the Denver Public Library, librarians will curate a personal reading list for your child when you fill out the online form with your child’s age and preferences, in English or Spanish. For kids who love listening, call the library’s Phone-a-Story hotline: 720-865-8500. Kids can select stories ranging from preschool to eighth-grade levels, as well as songs, rhymes, and riddles, with options in four languages.
Young Writers Program
Lighthouse Writers Workshop’s Young Writers Program features year-round workshops for everything from creative writing and graphic novels to screenwriting, journaling, and zine-making. They also support the community via youth outreach programs, and host summer camps supporting kids from third grade and up. High schoolers can also join the Young Authors Collective or participate in Poetry Out Loud—a nationwide initiative that culminates in an annual competition.
Bookbar, the bookstore-slash-bar, hosts ongoing events to show young kids that learning is fun. The A Little Literacy Learning storytime on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m., features pre-reading and pre-writing skill building activities, as well as fine motor practice for younger kids. Café drinks are half price, starting at 10 a.m.
Through the nonprofit Art from Ashes, youth ages 12 through 24 can attend a drop-in Phoenix Rising workshop every Wednesday afternoon and spend time honing their writing and performance skills, with pizza and beverages included. Every First Friday, youth can take part in a writing workshop followed by a 45-minute performance workshop, including one performance by a local poet.
Kids Book Clubs
Second Star to the Right bookstore offers diverse options for kids book clubs, including the Well-Read Black Girl Book Club Meet-Up, the LGBTQ+ Not-So-Straight-On Til Morning Book Club, and the Middle Grade Book Club, in which kids read books before they are published. When kids sign up for the YA Reader Advisory board, they’ll swap ideas and help select which books the store should carry next.
Literary Contests and Critique Groups
Tattered Cover, Denver’s mainstay local bookstore, hosts annual contests for things like writing scary stories and creating unique bookmarks. Aspiring teen authors are encouraged to join local writing groups in which they can share and critique one another’s writing. Tattered Cover also hosts Colorado Teen Book Con, a full-day event with author panels, presentations, food, and a signing party, just for teens.