HIGHLAND PARK – Families will have the opportunity to put down their electronic devices and head over to the Highland Park Library to read together, do projects, meet their favorite children’s authors, and raise money for a worthy cause at the Kid Lit Fest & iRead event on Saturday, January 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“The 112 Education Foundation does iRead, a read-a-thon every January to raise money for special events where the kids get pledges and read,” said Marcia Beach, children’s librarian at Highland Park Library. “It’s a big fundraiser for them and the Kid Lit Fest is their kick-off.”
Beach said the Kid Lit Fest includes the authors, the storyteller and the crafts for anyone interested in children’s literature, while the library partners with the 112 Education Foundation for iRead.
Carol Wolfe, executive director 112 Education Foundation, has been with the Foundation nearly nine years, and this will be her 10th iRead (previously called Read-A-Thon).
“I am so proud of how much this event has grown over the years and partnering with the Highland Park Library for the kick-off has helped to generate a lot of excitement for reading in our schools,” she said.
Beach said there will be a variety of children’s authors featured, as well as three new additions:
- Carolyn Crimi is the picture book author of Dear Tabby for kindergarten to second graders
- Mike Grosso is a first time author. His first book, I Am Drums just came out for fourth to sixth graders
- Suzanne Slade does a lot of non-fiction and her new book, The Music in George’s Head about composer George Gershwin is written for kindergarten through fourth graders.
A table will be set up for The Book Stall in Winnetka where the featured authors’ will have book signings, and a schedule will be posted of when and where all the teachers will be reading.
Beach explained that the teachers will be volunteering from different D-112 schools and divided among four stations in the children’s department. Each teacher will read aloud from one of his or her favorite books for 20 minutes at a time while students will gather around to hear the stories. “Kids can listen to their favorite teacher or visit several teachers,” said Beach.
In addition, Chris Fascione: Juggling Funny Stories will provide entertainment for the whole family through storytelling, acting, juggling and comedy. The storyteller will perform in two 45-minute shows at 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m
For those interested in crafts, children will have the opportunity to design their own bookmarks. At the digital media lab, students will visit the book cover photo booth where student’s pictures will be superimposed onto book covers
Beach said children who come to the library on January 7 will receive a log from the Foundation to record reading, and students will receive a 30-minute credit on their reading log for attending the event.
Wolfe said readers will all receive special ribbons and ArrivaDolce has “generously donated” a certificate for a free gelato for fund raisers. To encourage reading throughout the month, “students in each grade in each school with the most minutes read will receive a special prize as will the top fundraiser in each school,” she added.
Beach said this is her first year putting the event together with Jessica Speer, youth services manager, since former children’s librarian Harriet Gilman retired after about 15 years of service. Beach is excited that the event will bring many people to the library.
According to Wolfe, in 2016, 2,390 NSSD 112 students read for 1.7 million minutes and raised more than $28,000 for the 112 Education Foundation.
“The monies raised from iRead help fund our Author Visit and other programs,” said Wolfe. “As part of our Author Visit program, each school receives $1,200 per year to bring in a nationally known author for the students. Other Foundation programs include our music partnership program with Ravinia which brings music residencies and performances to Highland Park middle school and elementary school students and our annual Kids Go Classic concert and our new Reel 112 Film Festival.”
Wolfe said she enjoys seeing the “healthy competition between the schools for the trophy, as the staff in our schools really goes all out to encourage the students.” She believes that author visits are so important and “is touched” when students donate their own money. “One year a student made a container out of a toilet paper roll and put in all their pennies and other change,” she added.
Below is a listing of author appearances from the Highland Park Library on Saturday January 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The iRead Kick-Off Celebration
Author Appearance Schedule
9 a.m. to 11 a.m
Class Dismissed Grades 3-5
The Pet War Grades 3-5
Matthew Cordell Author & Illustrator
Wolf in the Snow Preschool – Grade 1
First Grade Dropout Preschool – Grade 3
Justin Case Grades 2-3
The Knowing Book Preschool-K
Eric Kahn Gale
The Bully Book Grades 4-7
The Wizard’s Dog** Grades 3-7
11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Josh Schneider Author & Illustrator
Theodor Geisel Award Winner
Tales for Very Picky Eaters Grades K-4
Everybody Sleeps (But Not Fred) Preschool – Grade 2
Bedtime Monsters Preschool – Grade 3
Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover Preschool – Grade 2
Andy Rash Author & Illustrator
Archie the Daredevil Penguin Preschool – Grade 2
Game Over, Pete Watson Grades 4-7
The Creature from the Seventh Grade series Grades 4-7
The Music in George’s Head Grades K-4
The Inventor’s Secret Grades 3-6
The House that George Built Grades 1-3
1 p.m. to 3 p.m
The Friendship Garden series Grades 2-5
The Barftastic Life of Louie Burger series Grade 3-6
Sammy’s Sleepaway Summer Grades 2-3
Dear Tabby Grades K-3
Rock & Roll Mole Grades K-2
Henry & the Buccaneer Bunnies Grades K-2
I Am Drums* Grades 4-6
*The author’s first novel