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Literature Programs

Our Literature Programs commemorate and promote appreciation for our state’s rich literary heritage and engage Missourians in literature and reading. By creating learning opportunities that bring greater awareness to authors and literature from Missouri and beyond, we encourage reading for pleasure among Missourians of all ages to foster communities where literature thrives.

Missouri Center for the Book

The Missouri Center for the Book is a program of Missouri Humanities and the state affiliate of the Library of Congress Center for the Book. Our mission is to commemorate and promote appreciation for and greater awareness of Missouri’s rich literary heritage. This includes hosting an annual regional Book Festival and selecting two books to represent the state at the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. every year. These titles are added to the Great Reads from Great Places book list. The list features books and authors representing the literary heritage of all 50 states and U.S. territories. 

Since receiving Affiliate Center status in 2021, our work is guided by input from numerous literary and literacy-based organizations, authors, and educators from across the state of Missouri who serve on the Missouri Center for the Book (MOCFTB) Planning Team.

Missouri's Great Reads From Great Places

Selections for the 2024 National Book Festival

For Young Readers

Mexikid: A Graphic Novel

by Pedro Martín   

For Adult Readers

Bindle Punk Bruja

by Desideria Mesa   

Missouri's “Great Reads from Great Places” 2024

Features books and authors representing the literary heritage of all 50 states and U.S. territories as part of the National Book Festival in 2024.

Book Festival

The Heartland Book Festival had it’s inaugural debut in downtown Kansas City on October 6th and 7th, 2023.  Read the blog to learn more!

Missouri's “Great Reads from Great Places” 2023

Features books and authors representing the literary heritage of all 50 states and U.S. territories as part of the National Book Festival in 2023.

Meet the Missouri Center for the Book Planning Team

Nelson Appell. Director, Washigton Public Library

Daniel R. Biegelson. Associate Editor, The Laurel Review, Director of the Visiting Writers Series, and Senior Instructor of Literature and Writing, Northwest Missouri State University

Dr. Virginia Blanton. University of Missouri Curators’ Distinguished Professor, University of Missouri-KC

John Brenner. Managing Editor, The State Historical Society of Missouri

Nicole Clawson. Manager Youth Services, St. Louis County Library

Andrew Davidson. Editor in Chief, University of Missouri Press

Kristin Droege. Executive Director, Turn the Page KC

Tina Casagrand Foss. Founder and Executive Director of The New Territory Magazine

Lisa Greening. Executive Director, Turn the Page STL

Sarah Howard. Youth & Community Services Manager, Daniel Boone Regional Library

Rev. Nicholas W. Inman. Director, Laura Ingalls Wilder Home & Museum and Missouri Humanities Board Secretary

Dawn Kitchell. Owner, Neighborhood Reads Bookstore and chair of the Community Literacy Foundation

Maya Kucij. Director, Children’s Literature Festival, Assistant University and Special Collections Librarian, James C. Kirkpatrick Library, University of Central Missouri

Lauren Olson. Director of Community Programming, Turn the Page KC

Robin Rennison. Marketing Manager, University of Missouri Press

Virginia Sanders. Special Initiatives Coordinator, Missouri Arts Council

Kaite Stover. Director of Reader’s Services, Kansas City Public Library

Maryfrances Wagner. Missouri State Poet Laureate (2021-2023)

Laura Williams. Adult and Community Services Manager & One Read, Daniel Boone Regional Library

“I am delighted to have my book, The Last Children of Mill Creek, selected to represent Missouri’s rich literary heritage. It is my great honor to have my stories contribute to a greater awareness of and appreciation for a nearly erased African American community.”

– Vivian Gibson

Read from the Start

Children who grow up hearing stories and looking at books will fall in love with language. Read from the Start, MHC’s family reading initiative, is offered free of charge and empowers parents and caregivers to read to their young children.