Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents

Interested in hosting a Together series? Sign up for an informational webinar!

Find out about our new wordless picture book list!

The New York Council for the Humanities' Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents program offers a forum for parents and their 9- to 11-year-old children to come together to talk about books and ideas at their local library. 

Studies show that between the ages of 9 and 11 children begin to lose interest in reading for fun. Research also shows that parents' own reading and involvement in their children's reading has a strong impact on their future reading habits. Together gives libraries an opportunity to address these trends by involving parents and kids in discussions about a variety of personal, public, and historical issues through the close reading of selected picture books and novels. Families read a book at home before each Together session. During the session, an open exchange of ideas between parents and children encourages family participation in learning while emphasizing the importance and pleasure of reading.

Each of the six 90-minute Together sessions is co-facilitated by a librarian and a humanities scholar from the local community.  The sessions alternate between picture books and novels, all of which explore key themes in American life such as courage, freedom, and community.   

To host a Together series at your library, find a humanities scholar who is willing to serve as co-facilitator and submit your application to the Council. If your application is successful, the Council will supply all the books, contract directly with your scholar co-facilitator, and provide your library with a $1000 stipend to cover necessary expenses such as childcare and materials.

Host sites that have previously hosted a Together series must demonstrate community buy-in through a financial or in-kind match. For more information, please see What costs is the host site responsible for? in our Common Questions.

Special Initiatives:

  • Together Wordless Picture Book List: The Council is now offering a new Together book list! Made up of six wordless picture books and graphic novels, this list explores the themes of community and connection. This list is perfect for libraries that serve English language learners and struggling readers.

How to apply to host a Together series at your library:

Find a humanities scholar from your community to serve as the series co-facilitator.
Libraries are responsible for identifying a humanities scholar (or graduate student) to co-facilitate the six 90-minute discussions with a librarian. For more information, see The Scholar Co-Facilitator in our Common Questions.

Choose a librarian to serve as co-facilitator.
Libraries are also responsible for identifying a librarian who is willing to co-facilitate the six 90-minute discussions with the scholar co-facilitator.  For more information, see The Host Site and the Librarian Co-Facilitator in our Common Questions.

Designate spaces in your library.
Find a space in your library where group discussions can be held uninterrupted.  Also, make sure that there is a designated space for your childcare provider to watch younger siblings.

Apply to the Council.
Complete and submit the Together application. Include the resume of the scholar you have identified with your application. Application and notification deadlines are listed at the top of this page.

Participate in a training session.
If your application is accepted, the scholar co-facilitator and the librarian co-facilitator will both be required to attend the Together training session in September (dates TBA). The Council will cover all transportation costs. Locations are subject to change.

6. Schedule, promote and host a Together series.
The Council provides templates on our Host Site Coordinator Administration page for flyers and other promotional materials. Make every effort to gather 8 to 15 families for your Together series.  For more information, see Implementing a Together Series in our Common Questions.

7. Follow-up.
Within three weeks of the end of your series, return the Host Site and Participant evaluation forms as well as Council-supplied books.

Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents is presented in partnership with the New York Library Association and the Empire State Center for the Book.

This project is supported by the We the People initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.