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The Winter Reading Challenge helps our partners activate their communities to read more in 2020 and into the future.

Penguin Random House’s (PRH) U.S. children’s publishing divisions, Random House Children’s Books (RHCB) and Penguin Young Readers (PYR) will sponsor the third annual Beanstack Winter Reading Challenge in support of public libraries and school systems throughout the United States. This year, a record number of over 1,500 schools and libraries are expected to participate, reading to surpass last year’s collective goals of at least 5M minutes and 75,000 books during the month of January. Top-performing libraries and schools will earn “Golden Penguin” and “Golden House” awards. PRH pledges to donate $50,000 in prizes, including author visits and new books, to be shared among the winners.

Participating libraries will use Beanstack, a web and mobile application, to track self-directed reading time and help build a culture of reading in school and at home. Schools may also use Beanbright, a new free product that offers similar features to Beanstack with streamlined options for customization and mobile use. Beanstack is marking the 2020 Winter Reading Challenge with the release of its new Badge Book, an activity log and sticker book that motivates young readers while working hand-in-hand with the online portion of various national reading challenges.

Using Cutting Edge Software to Track Reading
The Beanstack software platform and mobile application make it easier for students and families to keep a history of their reading and stay motivated, while providing insights and data about reading habits to school and library administrators. It can also suggest book titles readers might enjoy based on their interests and reading “doorways.” Since launching in 2013 with an appearance (and subsequent investment from Mark Cuban) on Shark Tank, Beanstack has become the #1 most-used reading challenge software for US libraries.

“Over the last two years, we’ve often had the term ‘Fitbit for Reading’ applied to our solutions,” says Zoobean co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Felix Lloyd. “The Winter Reading Challenge helps our partners activate their communities to read more in 2020 and into the future.” Participants will log their time spent reading and books read throughout the month of January on their library’s or school’s individual Beanstack or Beanbright site.

“Our focus on growing and creating readers, and supporting educators in their daily efforts to do so aligns so well with Beanstack’s initiative—this is an engaging and fun challenge that we know will motivate kids to participate,” says Adrienne Waintraub, Executive Director, School & Library Marketing, RHCB and Carmela Iaria, Vice President & Executive Director, School & Library Marketing, Creative Marketing Director, PYR. “With our donation, we will be able to build up diverse collections in libraries across the country, which we believe is such an important part of supporting the development of young readers.”

Prizes to Include Author Visits, New Books
As part of a generous prize package, Penguin Random House will donate $50,000 worth of new books to enhance library collections. PRH will also sponsor author visits from Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich (The Hero Next Door, Crown Books for Young Readers) and Max Brailler (The Last Kids on Earth series, imprint TK), who will visit the top-performing schools and libraries to further inspire young readers. As in previous years, prizes are awarded based on four elements: outreach, active participation, logging numbers, and community (social) sharing. “Libraries are the heartbeat of their schools and communities, and we are thrilled to directly support their work with this challenge,” says Lloyd.

Last year’s Winter Reading Challenge enrolled 65,323 readers nationwide, who logged over 150,000 books and 13.5M minutes of reading.

The third annual Winter Reading Challenge kicks off on January 1, and PRH will announce the results and top finishers this February.


Zoobean, Inc. provides a mobile app and other products that help people achieve reading goals by tracking reading and participating in reading challenges. The company’s flagship product, Beanstack (, helps public libraries and school districts create, manage, and measure reading challenges. A sister product, Beanbright (, offers school buildings a streamlined, ready-out-of-the-box version of the reading challenge service. Most recently, the company has introduced Badge Books (, which are sticker books that work hand in hand with the free Beanstack mobile app. Zoobean’s investors include Kapor Capital, Mark Cuban, RevUp Capital, the AT&T Aspire Accelerator, and Amazon’s Alexa Fund. Its founders were previously Washington, DC’s teacher of the year and Google’s first head of K-12 education outreach.

Random House Children’s Books ( is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, and nonfiction, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multimillion-copy series. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Penguin Random House LLC.

Penguin Young Readers Group is one of the leading children’s book publishers in the United States. The company owns a wide range of imprints and trademarks including Dial Books, Dutton, Grosset & Dunlap, Kathy Dawson Books, Kokila, Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Workshop, Philomel, Puffin, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Viking, Razorbill, Speak, and Frederick Warne. These imprints are home to such award-winning, New York Times- bestselling authors as, Laurie Halse Anderson, Judy Blume, Jan Brett, Max Brallier, Eric Carle, Ally Condie, Roald Dahl, Tomie dePaola, Anna Dewdney, John Flanagan, John Green, Oliver Jeffers, Mike Lupica, Richelle Mead, Richard Peck, Ransom Riggs, Ruta Sepetys, Sabaa Tahir, Jacqueline Woodson and dozens of other popular authors. Penguin Young Readers Group is also the proud publisher of perennial brand franchises such as the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys series, Peter Rabbit, Spot, the Classic Winnie the Pooh, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Madeline, Mad Libs, the Rangers Apprentice, Skippyjon Jones, and Who HQ among many others. Penguin Young Readers Group is a division of Penguin Group LLC, a Penguin Random House company.

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest trade book publisher, is dedicated to its mission of nourishing a universal passion for reading by connecting authors and their writing with readers everywhere. The company, which employs more than 10,000 people globally, was formed on July 1, 2013, by Bertelsmann and Pearson, who own 75 percent and 25 percent, respectively. With nearly 275 imprints and brands on six continents, Penguin Random House comprises adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital English- and Spanish-language trade book publishing businesses in more than 20 countries worldwide. With over 15,000 new titles, and more than 600 million print, audio and eBooks sold annually, Penguin Random House’s publishing lists include more than 80 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.