Free Books for Children and Teens at Weekend ‘Wizard of Oz’ Performances

Wizard of Oz cast members Lion, Scarecrow, Dorthy, Tin Man and the Wicked Witch promoting summer reading book giveaway. Photo by: Stacy Wheeler.Wizard of Oz cast members Lion, Scarecrow, Dorthy, Tin Man and the Wicked Witch promoting summer reading book giveaway. Photo by: Stacy Wheeler.

By Akilah Nosakhere and  Susan Fisher from Muncie Public Library, Brittany Covert and Bridget Duggleby from Muncie Civic Theatre, and Stacy Wheeler from Classroom Connections of ECI—

Muncie, IN—Muncie Civic Theatre (MCT) is partnering with Muncie Public Library and Classroom Connections of East Central Indiana to distribute free books at upcoming performances of The Wizard of Oz at Canan Commons in downtown Muncie.

Classroom Connections of ECI (formerly the Back To School Teachers Store) recently received tens of thousands of new books to give to children in our community under their Books Kids Keep Program.

“Children’s book distributions and ownership of books are some of the most important, successful ways to get children to read at grade level,” said Stacy Wheeler, Executive Director at CCECI. “We are thrilled to have great community partners who know the importance of every child having access to quality books.”

CCECI has already distributed more than 13,000 books to children attending preschools and K-12 schools in the community and has plans for other upcoming summer book distribution events. “Thanks to supporters and community partners, Classroom Connections of ECI can provide 50,000 books annually to East Central Indiana children who may lack storybooks at home,” said Wheeler.

MPL will promote its Summer Reading Program by including bookmarks in all of the books to be given away. “The Summer Reading Program is an important summer activity for all public libraries,” said Akilah S. Nosakhere, MPL Library Director. “It’s a proven way to combat the backslide in education that students experience during the summer months.”

In addition to the MCT performances, both MPL and CCECI will work closely with the Whitely Community Council Education Alliance and other organizations to conduct pop up story times and book giveaways throughout the summer months to promote the love of reading.

The Muncie Civic Theatre will offer outdoor performances of The Wizard of Oz nightly at 7pm at Canan Commons, Thursday, June 17 through Sunday, June 20. Tickets can be purchased online at or in-person at the box office at Muncie Civic Theatre.

The Friday through Sunday, June 18-20 performances will feature the book giveaways beginning at 6 p.m. until show time with volunteer support from the Altrusa Club of Muncie who also supports childhood literacy activities. Children and their families are invited to visit the book table while supplies last each evening and books will be available for everyone, even if they are not attending the performance.

In case of rain, the book giveaways will be rescheduled to take place at other summer events.