Welcome to the 2021 Pennsylvania One Book website

2021:  Many Books, One Pennsylvania Community

The 2021 Pennsylvania One Book program will emphasize the importance of emotional resilience, social-emotional wellness, and healing through literacy and literature in “2021: Many Books, One Pennsylvania Community.”


The Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide pandemic has changed the landscape for nearly everything that was familiar to families, caregivers, and their young children. Families and caregivers may have experienced unfamiliar situations and encountered circumstances of which they could never have imagined—all the while attempting to maintain consistent support and guidance for their young children.

To meet the demands of this changing landscape, the Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child program for 2021 will be a departure from the traditional program. During 2021, the program will pause and address the needs of families, caregivers and young children in a time that has been difficult.  What hasn’t changed is the commitment to support early literacy for Pennsylvania’s youngest learners.

The 2021 Pennsylvania One Book program will emphasize the importance of emotional resilience, social-emotional wellness, and healing through literacy and literature in 2021: Many Books, One Pennsylvania Community.  Two booklists (for ages 0-36 months and ages 3-6) of recommended titles with a focus on understanding emotions and feelings are now available on the resources tab of the One Book website.  These lists were cultivated by youth services librarians and early learning caregivers and are appropriate for storytimes, classroom sharing, and for reading at home.

Two family fun guides and two activity guides for librarians and caregivers, all of which contain activities that align with the Pennsylvania Standards for Early Childhood, will also be made available in the near future via the One Book website to encourage family engagement and positive learning experiences.


Early Literacy is Important!

Pennsylvania One Book is an established program that highlights the importance of early literacy development in preschoolers and the significance of reading early and often to children.

Facts about the importance of language and reading

  1.  Ninety percent of a child’s brain growth occurs during birth and 4 years of age, so it is suggested that parents begin reading to their child at birth.
  2. When we read picture books to children, researchers have found that 95 percent of their attention is on the pictures. By occasionally pointing to the words in the book, you are helping them realize that it is the text we are reading, not the pictures.
  3. Research has shown that children who play with sounds of words in the preschool years are better prepared to read when they get to school.
  4. The language used in story books is different from what we use when we are speaking. Stories also have a certain structure with a beginning, middle and an end.
  5. Reading aloud introduces the patterns of language and develops vocabulary.
  6. Reading to a child just 20 minutes each day will enable him or her to hear 1 million words in a year and will expand his or her vocabulary by 1,000 words.
  7. Acting out stories or parts of them, having young children use their whole bodies, helps them internalize and understand what is happening in the story.
  8. Reading aloud helps a child develop a longer attention span and encourages the art of listening.
  9. Sharing stories introduces and keeps alive the cultural heritage of our own traditional tales and those of other cultures.
  10. Rhyming is one way that children learn to hear that words are made up of smaller parts.
  11. Writing can be very motivating. It helps children make the connection between the spoken and the written word. Writing begins with scribbles and develops into the ability to write letters.
  12. By using specific names for things, like cat and kitten, not only helps children learn new words, it also helps them understand differences between similar things.