Thursday, May 22, 2014

Children's Book Week Author Reading

Sabrina Lou's smart and talented 4L class
Last week was Children's Book Week, and we at Godine celebrated with a contest for students in Brookline, Boston, and Cambridge schools. We asked over 100 elementary school kids: "Why do you love reading?" Their answers were smart, funny, and made us think more about why we love publishing quality books for children.

We picked seven winners for the competition who were featured on our blog (here!). We sent them a free book based on what they like, such as our popular Swallows and Amazons series. We also invited the winners and 26 Honorable Mentions to an exclusive Author Reading at Porter Square Books in Cambridge, MA starring themselves!

Fourth grader Hannah C. reads her entry at Porter Square Books!

The kids got to read their entries in front of an 80 person crowd. After the event, they signed copies of a book we printed and bound for them. They are real, published authors by a real, independent publisher.

I loved the event. I love children's books. I previously interned with Cambridge-based Barefoot Books, and after making my passion known, our Sales Manager approached me and asked if I'd like to plan a Children's Book Week promotion.

Children's Book Week was May 12 - 16 and it focused on bridging the gap between kids and the literary world. I thought of running a social media contest, but what elementary school kids have social media?

After coming up with the contest and author reading, we just knew it was the right step to take. I believe this will become an annual event at Godine and I hope to attend next year as part of the audience.

Fourth grader Claire G. reads to her adoring fans!

Only at Godine would I have been able to take leadership on such a great event, and I am thankful for one of the most enriching and educational internships in the publishing industry.

One teacher emailed me after the event and said, "Many of [these students] started the year struggling with reading and writing and last night gave them the opportunity to prove how that has all changed. A few students hadn't planned on reading but overcame their shyness when they approaced the stage. I hope you went home last night knowing you made a tremendous impact on many, many children and families."

I'd also like to thank my fabulous co-intern Serene Hakim for her help. We judged the contest together, and thanks to her we were able to represent Godine at Porter Square Books.

Read more about the event in Publisher's Weekly here.

I'm not sure what the future holds for me (should I make this blog post an attempt to hire me? In a children's book department? Or anywhere?), but it was great getting hands-on experience that made a difference through such a wonderful Boston-based publisher. Porter Square Books was nothing but fantastic, and the kids, educators, and families who showed up to the event gave me a real hope for the future of publishing.

I can't say it enough: thank you all! Most importantly, thank you to David and the staff at Godine.

- Erinn Pascal

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