African American Read-In

For the 17th year, the UNI African American Read-In is part of National African American Read-In activities planned nationwide during Black History Month. This virtual event is planned for Feb. 16, 2023, with Iowa first graders.  

For the first time, schools from across Iowa are being invited to participate. The 2022 read-in drew a record 2,300 first graders from among 16 participating school districts with a reworked virtual format. 

Books stacked on the desk. Books stacked on the desk.


The National African American Read-In is sponsored by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) and endorsed by the International Reading Association.

Thanks to generous donors, if you register your class by January 13, 2023, we'll provide each child or classroom -- depending on supplies -- a free book to enjoy!

The UNI College of Education is joined by the following offices and organizations in supporting this year’s event: UNI President’s and Provost’s Office, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, HNI Instructional Resource and Technology Services, Rod Library, Community Engagement Partners, Waterloo Community School District and Cedar Valley Readers Coalition. The read-in is being held in conjunction with the UNI African American Children and Families Conference being held virtually on February 17.

If you have questions, contact Amy Curley at

The Day's Schedule

Morning Program

9-11 a.m.
(Waterloo, Hudson)

  • Live read-along of "Black Magic" by Dinah Johnson
  • Live read-along of "Lily Brown's Paintings" by Angela Johnson
  • Live draw-along with Don Tate, illustrator, "Carter Reads the Newspaper"
  • Puppet Show
  • UNI Student-Led Activities


Afternoon Program

1:30-2:30 p.m.
(Other Iowa elementary schools)

  • Live read-along of "Black Magic" by Dinah Johnson or live read-along of "Lily Brown's Paintings" by Angela Johnson
  • Break: UNI student-led activity 
  • Live draw-along with Don Tate, illustrator, "Carter Reads the Newspaper"


Nationally Recognized Authors

Dinah Johnson

Dinah Johnson

‌Children’s literature is at the center of Dinah Johnson’s life. She is the author of picture book titles including H is for Harlem (Little, Brown, 2022), Indigo Dreaming (HarperCollins, 2022), and Black Magic (Henry Holt, paperback 2021). As Dr. Dianne Johnson-Feelings, she is a professor of English at the University of South Carolina, where she teaches courses in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, American Autobiography, and Creative Writing. All of her work is in the service of children. She hopes that her efforts make others feel the same way as a little girl who wrote to her, “Dear Dinah, You had made my heart sing.”



Angela Johnson


Angela Johnson

‌Angela Johnson is an award-winning poet and children’s author with more than forty books to her credit. She began her writing career in 1989 with the publication of a picture book called Tell Me a Story, Mama, which won the Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award. She has won three Coretta Scott King Awards, the Michael L Printz Award, and the Margaret A. Edwards award for significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature. In recognition of her outstanding talent, Angela was named a 2003 MacArthur Fellow. Born in Tuskegee, Alabama, she grew up in Ohio and currently lives in northeastern Ohio.