On Saturday, March 4, the 51st running of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race will begin in Anchorage, Alaska. Then for the next ten to fourteen days, 34 mushers will make their way across Alaska to Nome guiding teams of 12-14 dogs across the historic Iditarod Trail, a trail used by dog sled teams in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s to transport goods and services across the wintery terrain. At that time cars were just starting to make an appearance and horses were still the standard mode of transportation in most parts of the world, but according to iditarod.com dogs were used over horses in Alaska because “Pound for pound, the sled dog is the most powerful draft animal on earth, and a team of twenty dogs averaging perhaps 75 pounds each can easily match a team of horses weighing more than twice as much.” Dogs were also faster than horses across the snowy ground and easier to feed.
At O’Fallon Public Library, we will be encouraging kids to participate in the “IditaREAD” challenge starting on March 1 and lasting until March 31. There are 25 checkpoints in the Iditarod Race, so we are challenging young readers to read 20 minutes for each checkpoint for a total of 500 minutes! There will be encouragement along the way which includes a specially made IditaRead “dog” tag and a healthy snack for the journey. All of those who finish the race and fill out a book recommendation for their favorite book, will get their very own stuffed Husky dog which is a popular breed chosen to guide the sleds in the race. Kids can stop by the library to follow the progress of the teams, find great books to read about the Iditarod, and pick up a reading log to track their own reading progress. Information and a downloadable reading log are available on our website at ofpl.info/iditaread.
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