Reading books every day with your littles is a wonderful way to raise avid readers. If you’re hoping to encourage a love of reading and literacy beyond bedtime stories, Washington, DC has no shortage of places and events. From author meet-and-greets to puppet shows based on well-loved stories, we’ve found 6 places where characters leap off the page. Read on for a round-up of noteworthy events that bring books to life and get ready to groom the next generation of literati.

photo: Courtesy of Someday I’ll Learn 

Tour the Kennedy Center with The Pigeon
Mo Willems’ beloved character The Pigeon jumps off the page through this exciting augmented reality experience. With The Pigeon as your tour guide, you’ll discover fascinating locations—and lots of fun facts—in the nation’s performing arts center. It’s up to you to figure out if his “fun facts” are a little too fun to be true. Download it from the App Store or Google Play Store to get started.

2700 F St.
Foggy Bottom
202-467-4600
Online: kennedy-center.org

photo: Weston Yoga & Wellness Center via Yelp

Strike a Pose at Storytime Yoga
Every first Tuesday and Wednesday of the month at the Kate Waller Barrett Branch Library in Alexandria, favorite children’s books are retold through yoga poses. Programs include simple yoga poses, breathing exercises, music, and a short “quiet time” featuring a special surprise—bubbles!

717 Queen St.
Alexandria, VA
703-746-1703
Online: alexlibraryva.org

photo: Hirshhorn Museum 

Explore Where Art and Books Meet
Explore contemporary art through stories and movement at the Hirshhorn Museum’s weekly storytime sessions. On February 26th, after a reading of Jane Yolen’s Owl Moon, kids can participate in an imaginary owl hunt, plus create their own wintry artwork! Each week features a fresh and fun theme.

Independence Ave. and 7th St.
National Mall
202-633-1000
Online:  hirshhorn.si.edu

photo: The Puppet Co. via Yelp

Let Puppets Tell the Story
Puppetry may be an ancient art but The Puppet Company has found innovative ways to showcase age-old tales. Using life-sized puppets, gorgeous costumes and creative set design, the company brings stories to life with characters full of personality and wit. Beauty and the Beast is currently showing till March 29.

7300 MacArthur Blvd
Glen Echo, MD
301-634-5380
Online:  thepuppetco.org

photo: Margot Schulman for Imagination Stage 

Let Your Imagination Soar
The stage is the perfect vehicle for books and their characters to come alive! Imagination Stage’s 2020 line-up includes several plays based on characters such as Hans Christian Andersen’s Thumbelina (till April 5) and Mo Willems’ Naked Mole Rat. Additionally, they have weekly drop-in workshops for ages 1-5 and parents/caregivers. Saturday Song Circle and Sunday Fun-Day explore popular children’s books through arts and crafts, dramatic play, music, and movement.

4908 Auburn Ave.
Bethesda, MD
301-961-6060
Online: imaginationstage.org

photo: iStock

Get Prehistoric at Hooray for Books
Bookstores host author visits year-round but Hooray for Books in Old Town Alexandria is a hotspot for local children’s authors and special book events. On February 29, Laura Gehl, author of the Baby Scientist board book series, will entertain the littlest Einsteins with her new release Baby Paleontologist. In addition to reading from her book, Gehl has a hands-on surprise or two—think skeletons and fossils! Later this spring, the bookstore celebrates the 40th Anniversary of Robert Munsch’s beloved picture book, The Paper Bag Princess. Come dressed as Princess Elizabeth, Prince Ronald, or the Dragon, and enjoy crafts and giveaways.

1555 King St.
Alexandria, VA
703-548-4092
Online: hooray4books.com

—Pat Tanumihardja

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