Book Buzz: An Ongoing Literacy Project

Begun in September 2002, Book Buzz is The Missourian’s award winning youth literacy project. The mission of Book Buzz is to get young people in our community inside good books. Our goals are simple: offer children, parents, and teachers suggestions on good books, assure the books are accessible locally and give young readers a forum for feedback on their reviews.

With no bookstores in our area, and limited resources in our libraries, we wanted to use our newspaper as a center for generating excitement about reading.

Our youth book club in the newspaper works like this:

Each month Chris and her Missourian colleague Dawn Kitchell select three books on different youth reading levels, K-8th grade. The Book Buzz mascot, Newsbee, announces the selections in the first weekend newspaper each month in a column Chris writes from the bee’s point of view.

Young readers have six weeks from the book announcement to read the story on their level and write a review. One review from each book is published in The Missourian and others are posted on

The children whose reviews are published in the newspaper then receive the next month’s Book Buzz title as an incentive to keep civic groups, businesses, organizations and individuals have helped make this literacy project an area-wide program.

To date they have donated funds to purchase more than 10,000 hardcover books for our area schools. To make these donations go further, The Missourian has become a book distributor. Each month 115 hardback books are sorted, labeled and packaged by The Missourian and sent to 39 school and public

Book Buzz is available at no charge to newspapers across the U.S. through the Missouri Press Association,

Check out this video to learn a little more about the Book Buzz program.