Beyond the Book

Beyond the Book

Engaging developing readers and their families through the joy of reading.

Illustration from Milo Imagines the World

About Beyond the Book | Sign Up for Beyond the Book | Winter 2023: Milo Imagines the World | Supporting Your Developing Reader

About Beyond the Book

Beyond the Book is a literacy program centered on developing readers, children in kindergarten through third grade. By highlighting vibrant stories that represent the wonders of children's literature, Beyond the Book aims to inspire children and families to discover the many resources the library offers. DC Public Library is uniquely positioned in young readers' communities to spark their curiosity and encourage reading for fun as well as show caregivers how they are empowered to help their child grow into a confident reader. When children find the joy in reading in a supportive environment, they are better able to build the reading and learning skills they need to thrive. 

This seasonal program builds on the Books from Birth program, an initiative with Imagination Library that mails a new book a month to children ages 0-5 in D.C. Beyond the Book, generously funded by the DC Public Library Foundation, is a city-wide reading and learning club for developing readers, children in kindergarten through third grade, that engages Books from Birth graduates as well as children across D.C. around a carefully selected title along with fun and educational learning activities that will deepen their understanding and enjoyment of the book as well as build their reading skills. 

Join the Beyond the Book Club!

Child reading in the libraryChildren in kindergarten through third grade across the District are invited to sign up for Beyond the Book! To sign up for Beyond the Book, visit your neighborhood library or fill out the form embedded below. Once you sign up you can stop by your neighborhood library to pick up your membership card. 

Your membership includes:
  • A Beyond the Book Club Membership Card
  • A Quarterly Newsletter with Tips and Tricks for Developing Readers
  • A Free Copy of the Featured Book and/or Activity Kit Related to the Season's Books (While supplies last)
  • Exclusive invites to author talks and other fun family events
  • BONUS: Does your family have a library card? If not, caregivers can sign up for a DC Public Library card when their child signs up for Beyond the Book! Click here to learn what you should bring to sign up for a Library card.

Winter 2023 | Milo Imagines the World

About This Season's Book

Cover image for Milo Imagines the WorldHave you ever met someone and in seconds you’ve made a decision in your mind about who they are and what their lives are like? In this story, we see young Milo’s perception of others changes. He is on a long subway ride with his older sister to visit someone important. To pass the time, he studies the faces around him and makes pictures of their lives. Milo’s character development is similar to that of our own when we confront our implicit bias and stereotypical perceptions of others. Milo’s story reflects how although we are different, our humanity links us together. He learns a lesson about embracing the differences of others.

All children deserve representation in children’s literature and Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson, the team behind the Newbery Medal winner and Caldecott Honor book Last Stop on Market Street once again deliver a poignant and timely picture book that's sure to become an instant classic. Children of incarcerated parents will find representation through Milo's story. DC Public Library hopes that all children will find their story through Milo's vivid story.

Check out this title from your neighborhood library.

Milo Imagines the World Activity Packet

Milo Imagines the World, Activity Book and Developing Reader TipsGo Beyond the Book to build on your experience of reading Milo Imagines the World with fun learning activities! Matt de la Peña's Milo Imagines the World is a delightful read that explores the complex concept of implicit biases. We at DC Public Library hope that you can use this story to help your child learn how to explore their own perception of others and how to connect with people from varying backgrounds. This activity guide will help children explore their imagination and provide space for children of incarcerated parents.

Sign up for Beyond the Book at your neighborhood library to receive your very own activity book! If you complete the activity packet, please send a picture of your favorite activity to or tag us on social media, using the hashtag #BeyondTheBookDC!

Read More Books Like Milo Imagines the World

Did your family love reading Milo Imagines the World? There are many other age-appropriate titles that you can find at your neighborhood library that help your child explore their imagination and opinions based on their lived experiences. See a few of our favorites below:

Supporting Your Developing Reader

What Is A Developing Reader?

A Developing Reader is someone that is learning how to use foundational reading skills and their background knowledge to understand text. A developing reader is interested in books but can’t yet read them independently or may be able to read some words but require support to convey meaning from print. Developing readers tend to be between the ages of children 5-8 that are starting their educational journey.

Developing Readers enjoy a variety of books, both fiction and nonfiction. As they gain more foundational reading skills such as the mastery of phonics and word comprehension they increasingly read books with more complex text and vocabulary words. Most excitingly, is that developing readers begin to discover that reading happens everywhere. 

How do children learn to read?

There are five key important categories that are important to be successful readers. These categories are not listed in a particular order.
Caregiver reading to their children Fluency
Fluent readers have mastered the multitasking skills of a reader’s ability to decode words and comprehend them at the same time. Fluent readers read smoothly and with expression. Read aloud to your child and listen to them read aloud. Discuss with them what a reader sounds like. Reading familiar text will help your child build their confidence as a reader and their fluency skills.
Children checking out books Reading Motivation
Make reading personal for your child. Children should love the things that they are reading. The more they enjoy the topic of books, the more they will want to read. Keep your child’s interest at the forefront of the reading process. Allow them to explore and pick books that appeal to their interests.
Child reading at the MLK Library Comprehension
Comprehension is all about your child’s ability to understand what they are reading. Comprehension is the ability for the child to make connections with the story to their own life, make predictions, explain the story, and so much more. A developing reader’s comprehension skills can be strengthened by making observations about illustrations and discussions around the story’s plot. Repetition also makes a big difference, so make sure you reread stories and make observations about the illustrations. Have a conversation with your child about what they are reading.
Caregiver reading aloud with their child Decoding
Words are made of letters and those letters make sounds. Combined sounds make words that possess meaning. Decoding is what happens when readers put sounds together to figure out words. Practice sounding out words with your child and practicing common sound patterns they often hear. As their decoding skills grow, they will learn more about how to sound out larger words and identify more complex sound patterns such as vowel sounds and consonant blends.
Caregiver and child reading together Background Knowledge
This is all about what a child knows before they open the book. What is in their immediate environment that gives them access to the information presented in the text? You can build upon your child’s knowledge by teaching them new vocabulary words and introducing them to new experiences.

Developing Reader Tips

Developing readers have to do a lot of work as readers. This is the beginning of their journey where they will start to read not only for enjoyment but also for performance. It is important to keep it fun while encouraging them to learn new reading skills.

Start with what the child knows and likes. Read about things that are of interest or bring joy, like sports, the arts and other activities. Think about all of the things you’ve done to help your child to enjoy the practice of reading. Keep doing those things and elevate your practice by supporting their book selections, and discussing how reading relates to life activities and experiences.
  • Pause when you are reading together and ask them questions about the story or think your thoughts out loud so they can see how you make meaning from the stories you read.
  • If your child knows the alphabet song, start to sing the song with the letter sounds versus the letter names.
  • Expand the alphabet song by finding names of things they love that match the sound or sound pattern. This can be done as you’re walking around your neighborhood.
  • When you are at the Library, look for Easy readers, Read Alouds, Picture Books and Books of Poetry. These are great kinds of books for your developing reader. The Library's Books for Kids page is a great place to find titles for readers of all levels!
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