Books By The Bay

Last night I participated in the South Sound Reading Foundation‘s Books By the Bay Gala fundraising event, (made possible with help from Rhonda Munzinger at Barnes & Noble Books), with Julie Paschkis, Robin Cruise, Judy Bentley, Eric Brooks, Ken Mochizuki, and Jim Lynch.

The South Sound Reading Foundation’s principle: To ensure that every child is read with for 20 minutes a day starting at birth, in an effort to increase the number of children entering school prepared to learn, read and succeed. Reading just 20 minutes a day with young children is the key to healthy brain development, family bonding, and success in school.

There was champagne. There were hors d’oeuvres. There was music beautifully played by a youth chamber ensemble. There was a chandelier. All against a backdrop of the Puget Sound.

Never have I had it so nice at a book signing. But best of all, there were people there supporting the cause and buying books.

While listening to foundation members tell about their heartwarming experiences of opening up the world of books to children, I was reminded why illustrating children’s books feels like a slightly higher calling than just being a run-of-the-mill, free-lance commercial illustrator.

I spent much of the past week (while waiting to hear back from my editor on the sketches I sent in a few weeks ago for BOOM BOOM . . . this is the sound of me sitting here, patiently . . . ) writing a post about arts integration for my arts-in-education advocacy blog, Pebbles In The Jar. Arts integration is a method of partnering arts and non-arts curriculum to more fully engage students and deepen learning. Doesn’t writing and illustrating children’s books kind of do the same thing?

That might explain why so many of the people I have met in the children’s book realm are caring, thoughtful, intelligent people. They use their art to get kids to read. They also tend to support the arts, schools, libraries, racial/religious/gender equality, social justice, world peace, and walk-a-thons. They’ve got your back.

And some of the kids are pretty cute, too.

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