Reading Challenges

leap pad tablet

Baby Book Bees

For kids under age 1.

3d printing pen

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

Help prepare kids for kindergarten.

family Roku

Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch Challenges

Designed to promote life-long readers, and each challenge is tailored for specific grade levels.

kids excited learning on laptop

Other Challenges

We have lots of great challenges including Pet, Antiracist, Read Woke, and Crafting Creative Stories.


beanstackAbout Beanstack

Reading Challenges are hosted on Beanstack. Not familiar with Beanstack? Beanstack is a tool that gives you access to new challenges that can help you to achieve your reading goals and allow you to participate in fun activities. You can complete goals and activities to unlock digital badges and earn prizes. The library offers challenges for every age group and will be providing new challenges that support reading, math, writing, social justice, personal health, and so much more! And between Challenges, you can use Beanstack to log all of the books that you read.

Visit the Beanstack portal page

bookbeesBaby Book Bees

Sponsored by the Lawrence Family, Baby Book Bees is our latest initiative meant to encourage parents to start reading to their children from day one. Even though babies can’t read yet, their brains are constantly absorbing new information through what they see and hear. By reading to your baby, you are exposing them to new words every day.

There are many ways for a baby to interact with a book, all of which are beneficial . . . looking at the pictures, grasping the book in their hands, turning the pages - even putting the book in their mouth! These are all ways for babies to learn what books are, how they work, and to develop positive associations with reading.

Baby Book Bees is the first step in your child’s journey to read 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. If that sounds like a lot, let’s break it down. If you read just one book a day, you will have read 365 books in a year. That is 730 books in two years, and 1,095 in three years. By the time your children reach kindergarten, they will have established strong early literacy skills. 

1000bookswebnobg1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten is funded in part by the Darien Rotary Club. We encourage all families and caregivers to read 1,000 books with their children before they enter kindergarten to help ensure their child has the necessary early literacy skills to succeed.

Need help with the program? Email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Check out our winners on the 1,000 Books "Wall of Fame."

Book Logs: 1-100 | 101 - 200201 - 300 |  301 - 400 | 401 - 500 | 501 - 600 | 601 - 700 | 701 - 800 | 801 - 900 | 901 - 1000

Visit the Beanstack portal page


reading challenges logosCaudill, Bluestem, and Monarch Challenges

Keep your children's learning going just by reading!

The Rebecca Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch award books are designed to promote life-long readers, and each challenge is tailored for specific grade levels. We have challenges designed around the award books, and kids can earn a certificate and a free book just for reading!

Which challenge is right for your child?

Rebecca Caudill books are for grades 4-8.

Bluestem books are designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles.

The Monarch encourages children grades K-3 to read critically and become familiar with children's books, authors, and illustrators.

To get started, download and print the form at home . . . and start reading. Read the books digitally though eMediaLibrary/Libby/Overdrive with your IPPL card.

Rebecca Caudill

Once you complete the challenge as outlined in the form, simply take a picture of the form with your phone, and email it to Mid-Kids Librarian Monica D. at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you have any questions, email Monica.

Visit the Beanstack portal page

Lincoln Award

The Lincoln Award Challenge is for students in grades 7-12. The intent of this award is to encourage teens to read for pleasure and to foster a life-long appreciation of reading. There are 20 books on the list, and earn a prize for reading five. The prize: a book from the list to keep for your personal collection. Go to Beanstack to sign up, view the books, and participate. For questions or more information, contact Teen Librarian Michelle D. at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 630/884-8020.



Debuting this September is our new Pet Reading Challenge where you earn digital badges and prizes for reading to your pet. It doesn't matter if your pet has feathers, scales, or fur- just read. 

Pet Reading Challenge

Crafting Creative Stories

November 2020
For Teens & Adults. Have you ever wanted to create a short story or novel, but don't know where to start? These activities will help you with the basics and provide more in-depth strategies for developing your stories. This is also a great resource to help you get ready for Write-On, NaNoWriMo, or the Illinois Famous Author Project.

Antiracist Reading Challenge

Starting November 1
For teens in grades 7-12. Are you ready to be the change? Are you willing to put in the effort required to work towards antiracism? Read 5 of the 30 books and engage in activity prompts to earn digital badges and your own copy of one of the books listed in the challenge.

Read Woke

Starting November 1
All Ages. “Read Woke is a movement. It is a form of education. It is a call to action. ”According to its founder Cicely Lewis, a Read Woke book must:

  • Challenge a social norm
  • Give voice to the voiceless
  • Provide information about a group that has been disenfranchised
  • Seek to challenge the status quo
  • Have a protagonist from an underrepresented or oppressed group
  • Discover diverse books, log activities, and READ WOKE!