A Successful and Very Fun Youth Literacy Event!

We had so much fun bringing back our Young Writers and Illustrators Meet, Greet & Create event from its post-pandemic hibernation on Tuesday, March 12th at the Boys & Girls Club of Wakefield. 

The authors who participated were, in alphabetical order, are: Janet Costa Bates (Rica Baptista: Llamas, Iguanas, and My Very Best Friend), Rebecca Caprara (Spin), Carol Gordon Ekster (Trucker Kid), Betsy Ellor (My Dog is NOT a Scientist), Fred Gracely (Misfit’s Magic), Samantha Lewis (Nature Activity Book for Little Ones), Kari Percival (How to Say Hello to a Worm), Shawn M. Peters (The Unforgettable Logan Foster Book #1), Lisa Stringfellow (Comb of Wishes), Susan Tan (My Kingdom of Darkness: A Branches Book, Pets Rule! #1), Dirk Tiede (Paradigm Shift) and Kip Wilson (One Last Shot).

We were eager to welcome TWELVE local authors and give away over 100 BOOKS for FREE to all ages, preschool to high school, thanks to an Employee Vibrant Community Grant from Corning Incorporated and in collaboration with Whitelam Books in Reading.

This event was held in space provided by our community partner: Boys & Girls Club of Wakefield located at 467 Main St, Wakefield, MA. Participants received an author scavenger hunt, could try out our typewriters, created bookmarks and art, enjoy a hot cup of cocoa and some sweet treats, and get to know several talented authors along the way. 

Oh--and they leave with a book signed by the author--for FREE--and we took pictures with a Fuji Instamax camera so kids left with a photo of themselves with the author to remember the great event!

It was a lot of fun! Each author introduced themselves and talked about the book they would be giving away followed by a question and answer period. The authors really enjoyed getting to meet all the kids as well as each of the other authors.

Great big thank you to our board of directors members Emily Seward, Elizabeth Christopher, and Kerri Leonard for help with the logistics of welcoming families and distributing books in an orderly fashion, as well as contributing hot cocoa and sweets, taking photos and otherwise simply being super helpful! 

Another big thank you to George Getty for helping set up, welcome families and break everything down. 

And finally, we could not have done this event without the assistance of some young helpers who served hot cocoa, set up and distribute sweets, lugged things in and out of the space, set up tables, chairs and anything else we asked them to do: Thank you to Emma, Vera, Clara, Madeline, Charles and Ella! 

Special thanks to a last-minute donation from Gloria and Merrill Mezikofsky of 10 signed copies of two of their picture books. 

We gave away picture books, early reader/chapter books, middle grade novels and young adult novels (including one graphic novel:)! 

Any remaining books were donated. Some went to our local Wakefield Library where the wonderful Annie posed to show which books would be on the shelves and available for kids to check out soon.

Other books went to benefit a local school's fundraising as a raffle, others went into the Boys & Girls Club of Stoneham and Wakefield's club libraries and some will be given away as part of the collaborative programming with the Arts Collaborative of Wakefield's "Tell Me a Story" exhibit taking place at the Albion Cultural Exchange during the month of April.

It was so great to meet so many of you who came out. We look forward to this returning to an annual event where we get locally created books into the hands of kids and connect them with the local authors who wrote them.

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