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Free books for kids at the Reading Extravaganza
Reading Extravangza
The Reading Heart organization’s Reading Extravaganza will make a pit stop in Turlock on Saturday at Pitman High School (Photo contributed).

Local students and teachers will have an opportunity to take plenty of books home and to their classroom this Saturday with the first ever Reading Extravaganza at Pitman High School. The event, which is hosted by Fresno non-profit Reading Heart, aims to encourage reading by offering free books to community members.

Like the books, the Reading Extravaganza is free of charge. Once there, attendees will dive into different reading workshops before receiving bags to fill full of brand new reading material. Students will receive a bag to fill with as many books as they can, while teachers will receive at least two so that they can restock their classroom libraries.

Aside from reading, there will be music, food, games, mascots and other entertainment.

While the Reading Heart organization has held several similar events across California, this will be the first time it stops in Turlock, which was made possible by the Turlock Unified School District, New Life Schools, the City of Turlock Police Department, the Turlock Sports Park, Aspiranet Turlock, Amazon Turlock and Fresno, Turlock Costco, Raisin’ Canes, Lays, Starbucks, A&M Tax, Burner Custom Designs, Over Color and Clawson Honda, Truck and Motor.

The Reading Heart organization was founded in 2014 by Danay Ferguson when she was just eight years old. The mission of the 501(c)(3) non-profit it to spread the joy of reading and improve literacy in communities  across the country, especially children with limited access or who are in the hospital.

“I was actually thinking about people who were less fortunate and people in hospitals because they get bored,” said Ferguson, who is now 16.

The organization accepts donations from the community to be turned around and re-donated to individuals in need or at special events like the Reading Extravaganza.

Since the launch of the project, the organization has collected over one million books, visited 254 schools and has donated over 500,000 books to children across the state.

The Reading Extravaganza will run from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday at Pitman High.

For more information on the Reading Heart organization, head to their website at