Winter Reading Challenge to return to Sarasota County with new goal in January 2020

Sponsors pledge $50,000 in prizes for winners across the nation

Image courtesy Sarasota County

The Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources Department has accepted the Winter Reading Challenge, a national reading competition, for the third year, starting in January, the county has announced.

“Penguin Random House’s U.S. children’s publishing divisions, Random House Children’s Books and Penguin Young Readers will sponsor the third annual Beanstack Winter Reading Challenge in support of public libraries and school systems throughout the United States,” a news release explains. For the participating libraries that reach their goals, the release adds, the 2020 Winter Reading sponsors pledge to divide $50,000 in prizes among them, including author visits and new books.

Given public interest and the fact that participation surpassed the 2019 goal, the release continues, Sarasota County Libraries Department staff members increased the goal for 2020. “[They] and are confident library patrons and visitors will exceed the goal again,” the release says. The collective goal for all 10 library locations is 75,000 minutes, the release notes.

The two authors who will visit one of the winning schools or libraries are Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (The Hero Next Door, part of the Crown Books for Young Readers books) and New York Times bestselling author Max Brallier (The Last Kids on Earth series), the release points out.

The Winter Reading Challenge is free and open to all ages. Participants may register online through Beanstack at On that webpage, they can log time, track minutes read, earn badges and receive reading recommendations, the release adds.

“We’re privileged to take part in the challenge again and encourage library visitors of all ages to participate,” said Renee Di Pilato, director of the Libraries and Historical Resources Department, in the release. “It’s a wonderful way to inspire readers and discover the many ways reading can develop your imagination or spark an interest in new things”.

Registration for the challenge is open, the release notes. The program officially will begin on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020. To register, visit the link.