Do you have a four-year-old child in your household? Do you live in Mesa County? If so, your four-year-old has a free book waiting for them.

Mesa County Libraries, along with One Book Colorado, is giving away free copies of the book "The Little Red Fort." According to the Mesa County Libraries official webpage, copies are available for any child who is, was, or will be 4 years of age during 2020.

The free book, “The Little Red Fort” by Brenda Maier and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez, is based on the classic tale “The Little Red Hen.” The story involves a girl who wants to build a fort and tries to enlist the help of her brothers. Copies of the book are available in English and Spanish.

Question: How do they know if I have a four-year-old? Do they scan your kid and have some way to determine their precise age? Do they require that you bring the child's birth certificate? I called the central library in Grand Junction and asked. Their response? They say they'll take your word for it.

At first, I was confused as to why I wasn't familiar with this title. For no particular reason, it was assumed that this was a fixture in the world of child literature. Upon further investigation, I learned the book was originally published in 2018. I haven't been a four-year-old since 1974, so it's no wonder I don't recognize it.

How do you get your hands on a free copy? They are available until October 25, 2020, at all Mesa County Libraries locations including:

  • Downtown Grand Junction
  • Clifton
  • Collbran
  • De Beque
  • Fruita
  • Gateway
  • Orchard Mesa
  • Palisade

All you have to do is swing by and pick up a copy. If you use the Curbside Pickup, you can request a copy for your four-year-old when scheduling your pick-up time.

You may be saying to yourself, "Hey, I've seen this book somewhere before." Chances are you have seen it. Downtown Grand Junction businesses are participating in a StoryWalk. Pages of the book "The Little Red Fort" have been placed in windows of participating businesses around town. As you make your way through downtown, keep an eye on the storefronts of various businesses. You'll see pages from the book. Give them a read, or head to area libraries to get your own copy.

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2020 marks the ninth year for One Book Colorado. This year alone, One Book Colorado will provide more than 75,000 books to 4-year-olds statewide.

Here's a chance for your family to enjoy storytime. No doubt you are well aware of the value of reading together as a family. In this day and age, you won't find much for free. This is a valuable exception. While speaking with the library, they confirmed copies are still available. Swing by a Mesa County Library location before Sunday, October 25, 2020, to get your free copy.

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