Kids Reading Across RI Program

9th Annual Kids Reading Across Rhode Island

May 19, 2018

Warwick Public Library TableThe State House was rockin’ on Saturday, May 19th with the kick-off celebration of the 9th annual Kids Reading Across Rhode Island (KRARI) program. Celia C. Pérez, author of the 2018 KRARI selection The First Rule of Punk, signed books, fielded questions from the KRARI Jr. Press Corps, and addressed children and adults in the Governor’s State Room.  The kick-off also marked the beginning of the 2018 statewide Summer Reading Program, “Libraries Rock!” Music, zine making, and a dynamic story about finding your place make The First Rule of Punk the perfect complement to the programming and events happening in Rhode Island public libraries throughout the summer.

Celia C. Pérez spoke to a packed room of children and families, noting that Celia C. Perezbefore she was a writer, she was a reader whose happiest childhood memories include lazy summer days spent reading from the time she woke up until well past bedtime. Ms. Pérez grew up a child of immigrant parents who had little money for books, but a second-hand set of the World Book Encyclopedia brought home by her father and a “magical item” called a library card showed her experiences beyond her own. A fan of Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, and S.E. Hinton, reading helped a young Ms. Pérez make sense of the world around her and showed new possibilities. While her love for reading never faltered, Ms. Pérez realized early on that the books she loved didn’t show families like her own. Writing The First Rule of Punk came from a desire to show kids that there are all kinds of stories, and all kinds of writers. Ms. Pérez told the audience, “I wanted to write a story that I wanted to read when I was twelve.”

Hundreds of parents, children, librarians, and teachers attended the public celebration, which included a performance from the West Warwick High School Jazz Band. Attendees were invited to screen print their own “Libraries Rock!” t-shirts with the Providence Comics Consortium, and had a chance to try their hand at making zines. The Cranston Public Library braved the rain and wind to bring their new mobile reading spot called "booklit" for families to enjoy while they waited outside for the day’s events to begin. Nineteen public libraries and organizations also offered hands-on activities inspired by The First Rule of Punk, and shared information about their summer programs for children and families.

High school actors from the Jacqueline M. Walsh School for the Performing Arts, in partnership with The Gamm Theatre, performed a preview of the play they wrote based on The First Rule of Punk. Their raucous performance captivated the audience and captured the punk rock, DIY spirit of the book. The full-length production will be performed at schools this spring.

author with library book groupThroughout the summer Rhode Island public libraries will be hosting programs featuring The First Rule of Punk, using book sets supplied by the Office of Library and Information Services and the RI Center for the Book. Public schools also received book sets and students and teachers will discuss the book this spring.

Kids Reading Across Rhode Island is a project of the RI Office of Library and Information Services in partnership with the Rhode Island Center for the Book. Kids Reading Across RI 2018 is supported with major funding from Institute for Museum and Library Services, Ocean State Charities Trust, Andrade-Faxon Charities for Children, TD Bank, TD Charitable Foundation, School Librarians of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Library Association

Check out the collage animation created by kids at the animation pop-up station offered at the kickoff by the Providence Children's Film Festival and The Media Education Lab.

2018 Kids Read Across RI: "Express Who You Are" Collage Animation from PCFF on Vimeo.

For more photos, visit Flickr.

The First Rule of Punk Play Pawtucket Public Library tablescreen printing tshirts

Kick Off Celebration!

Meet Celia C. Pérez, author of The First Rule of Punk. Each family will receive a free copy of The First Rule of Punk that they can have signed by the author. Enjoy activities with RI public libraries and organizations, music, art and more!

Saturday, May 19, 2018
Doors open 2:00 - 4:00 PM
RI State House
Free parking in the State of RI lots

Honorary Chair: Governor Gina Raimondo


An Evening with Celia C. Pérez

Teachers, librarians, and children's book enthusiasts are invited to An Evening with Celia C. Pérez, author of The First Rule of Punk. Enjoy light Mexican cuisine and drinks as we meet the author and learn about her creative process and inspiration. This program is free and open to adults, but requires registration.

Friday, May 18, 2018
6:00 - 7:30 PM
La Galería Pueblo
209 Central Avenue
Central Falls, RI

Kids Reading Across Rhode Island, Rhode Island's One Book, One State community read program for kids, is kicking off its 9th year! This program, offered by the Rhode Island Office of Library and Information Services in partnership with the Rhode Island Center for the Book at the Rhode Island Council for the Humanities, encourages students across the state in grades 4 through 6 to read the same book, and engage in community discussions and programs. This year’s selection is The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez.

The First Rule of Punk

The First Rule of Punk

A 2018 Pura Belpré Award Honor Book and a 2018 Rhode Island Latino Books Month selection!

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school--you can't fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malu (Maria Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School's queen bee, violates the school's dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malu loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malu finally begins to feel at home. She'll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!


Author Celia C. Perez

Celia C. Pérez

Celia C. Pérez. will speak and sign books throughout the afternoon and The First Rule of Punk will be given out (one per family) while supplies last.

Inspired by punk and her love of writing, Celia C. Pérez has been making zines for longer than some of you have been alive. Her favorite zine supplies are her long-arm stapler, glue sticks, animal clip art (to which she likes adding speech bubbles), and watercolor pencils. She still listens to punk music, and she’ll never stop picking cilantro out of her food at restaurants. Her zines and writing has been featured in The Horn Book MagazineLatinaEl AndarVenus Zine, and NPR’s Talk of the Nation and Along for the Ride.

Celia is the daughter of a Mexican mother and a Cuban father. Originally from Miami, Florida, she now lives in Chicago with her family and works as a community college librarian. She owns two sets of worry dolls because you can never have too many. The First Rule of Punk is her first book for young readers.


Performers and Exhibitors at the Kick Off Event

Major Support for Kids Reading Across Rhode Island 2018

Visit Flickr for photos of the 2017 kick off celebration!
Read about the 2017 kick off event.


Danielle Margarida
Youth Services Coordinator