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Literature Programs

Our Literature Programs commemorate and promote appreciation for Missouri’s rich literary heritage. By creating programs that bring greater awareness to local literature, we are encouraging reading for pleasure and expanding literary education for Missourians of all ages.

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”

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.

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 Book Festival – “Where Stories Come to Life”

Missouri Humanities and Reedy Press co-hosted the first ever Missouri Book Festival in Washington, Missouri on August 27, 2022.

Meet the Missouri Center for the Book Planning Team

Julius B Anthony. President, St. Louis Black Authors of Children’s Lit & President, St. Louis Regional Literacy Association

Nelson Appell. Director, Washigton Public Library

James Baumlin. Distinguished Professor, Missouri State Univesity and Former
MOCFTB Board Member

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

Virginia Brackett. Author and Former
MOCFTB Board Member

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

James Brubaker. Editor, Southeast Missouri State University Press

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

Betty Coleman. Missouri Humanities Board Member

Andrew Davidson. Editor in Chief, University of Missouri Press

Kristin Droege. Executive Director, Turn the Page KC

Nina Furstenau. Author, The Common Ingredient Newsletter

Joe Galler. Managing Director, Metro Theater Company

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

Josh Stevens. Publisher, Reedy Press

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

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

Robin Westphal. Missouri State Librarian

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.