On Monday, November 16, 2015, KidLit TV threw our first birthday party! The “Big One” marks one year of delivering top shelf video, audio, and text-based kid lit media for parents and educators. Prior to the Big One, we launched a new KidLit TV Facebook page, started sharing our photo memories on Instagram, launched our podcast series — thanks to the suggestions of many parents and educators — and created new initiatives to further connect us to our audience! We won our first Gold Parents’ Choice Award too!
KidLit TV’s founder Julie Gribble, and StoryMakers host Rocco Staino were joined by members of the KidLit TV team, parents, kids, children’s literature advocates, and some of your favorite kid lit authors and illustrators including Tad Hills, Paul Oh Zelinsky, Nick Bruel, Pat Cummings, Kelly J. Light, Dan Yaccarino, Mike Curato, Roxie Munro, Steve Light, John Parra, Angela Dominguez, Kat Yeh, Jeff Baron, Ame Dyckman, Adam Lehrhaupt, Chris Shirley, Emma Walton Hamilton, Katie Davis, Marvin Terban, and many more. It was an exciting event, filled with tons of energy!
Party guests were the first to see Roxie Munro’s completed commission of a painting commemorating the history of KidLit TV’s headquarters. The painting, set in the late 1920s is an ode to the Julie and Glenn Gribble’s fathers, and their beloved cats.
Charity Partner: ArtWorks for Youth
To make our first anniversary extra special, we partnered with Tad Hills in designating ArtWorks for Youth as our charity partner for the evening. Though they began their outreach and programming in the Big Apple 15 years ago, since 2003, ArtWorks for Youth has carried out its mentoring mission entirely in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. They harness the transformative power of creativity in providing visual art instruction, academic support, and vital programming to the students they serve.
Party guests donated more than 50 children’s books to supplement the organization’s modest, 1000-volume library. In addition, we raised more than $2,250 to benefit ArtWorks for Youth’s programs via a silent auction that night. The live auction featured artwork generously donated by illustrators including: Rosemary Wells, Jon Agee, Harry Bliss, Lauren Castillo, Matthew Cordell, Mike Curato, Tony DiTerlizzi, Tad Hills, Oliver Jeffers, Steve Light, Matt Phelan, Giselle Potter, Laura Vaccaro Seeger, Bob Shea, Bob Staake, Naoko Stoop, and Will Hillenbrand.
Run primarily by American volunteers serving 1 to 6-week stints, ArtWorks for Youth’s art instruction programming encourages underserved Port Elizabeth students to use a variety of mediums to foster creative self-expression. Through performance art and co-written screenplays, for example, students find a safe forum for grappling with challenging life stressors and discover they are not alone. Their Sister’s Keeper group for young readers gives neighborhood children a weekly opportunity to read and write with ArtWorks for Youth volunteers. In addition, their feeding program provides breakfast, late-day meals, and emergency nutritional support to those in dire need.
Because books are unusually expensive in ArtWorks for Youth’s service area, the organization’s library is a vital community resource. The library’s collection has reached nearly 1000 items and includes materials for students from kindergarten through twelfth grade. Thanks to the AWfY lending program, many children are spared an hour-long walk to the nearest library, where even obtaining a library card can present insurmountable obstacles.
How You Can Help
If you missed KidLit TV’s “Big One” celebration, but would like to help, it is not too late. ArtWorks for Youth is run by volunteers who travel to Port Elizabeth to assist the program in a variety of ways. If you would like to volunteer or to donate to ArtWorks for Youth, you can contact them using the links below.
While it was our birthday party, it was more fun to give than receive! We gave away baskets filled with first edition books signed by StoryMakers guests, plush toys from MerryMakers, and tons of swag! Our Facebook fans and Periscope viewers won gifts by participating in tagging contests and simply watching us throughout the night. If you come here often you know the giving never ends. Keep watching StoryMakers, Read Out Loud, and follow us on social media for more opportunities to win.
Beverages and Bites
No KidLit TV party is complete without great food and cocktails. We enlisted Muddling Memories cocktail creator Cody Goldstein, to create drinks from Tim Federle’s Gone with the Gin, Hickory Daiquiri Dock, and Tequila Mockingbird. Marja Samsom, the Dumpling Diva prepared a medley of dumplings to satisfy most any palate.
KidLit TV’s first birthday party was made extra special thanks to our sponsors. Books of Wonder, Book People, Go Go Squeez, MerryMakers, and Montauk Rum graciously provided guests with discounts, gift cards, snacks for our youngest fans, plush toys, and libations.
Julie, Rocco, Katya, and the KidLit TV team thank everyone who attended in-person, via Periscope, or in spirit for joining us! We’ve done so much in one year to bring parents, teachers, and librarians closer to the kid lit their children love; imagine what another year of our original programming, articles, and curated content will bring!
We’ve got more great things ahead, but we’re always open to suggestions. Drop us a line!