(DENVER, COLO.) – Four highly acclaimed authors/illustrators from across the United States traveled to the Mile High City last week thanks to Second Star to the Right Children’s Bookstore’s efforts to bring industry leaders in to Denver schools. Best-selling author – illustrator duo Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham shared their new graphic novel “Real Friends” while highly acclaimed author, cartoonist and illustrator Holly Kowitt spoke to students about her latest creation “The Principal’s Underwear is Missing.” Colorado Book Award winner Jean Reidy made a presentation to her fellow Coloradans in the final visit of the week, showcasing her long list of children’s books.
Hale and Pham, who’ve created more than 100 books between them, shared their individual journeys and how their life experiences helped them to reach their current status as two of the biggest names in children’s publishing. Their new book “Real Friends” is an autobiographical graphic novel that tells the tale of Hale’s elementary school experiences and challenges in making and keeping friends. The pair visited both Centennial and Cheltenham Elementary Schools as well as hosting Cesar Chavez Academy students and fellow fans of Hale and Pham at Second Star to the Right. In the final stop atCheltenham Elementary, Hale used an impactful visual aide to teach the students about the importance of persistence and belief in yourself. Hale unfurled a 10-foot laminated compilation of the many rejection letters she received before publishing her first book.Pham showcased her immense talent for both storytelling and illustration, drawing student’s morning adventures in her own unique style at both school visits. Following each of their presentations, Hale and Pham personalized books for their fans with Pham adding an illustration to each book.
As Hale and Pham departed, Kowitt arrived in to Denver for two days of school visits. She started early on Thursday morning in the Cesar Chavez Academy auditorium before a visit to Warder Elementary on Thursday afternoon and Hamilton Middle School on Friday morning. Kowitt, who’s enjoyed multiple roles in the book and publishing industry, used her cartooning skills to tell the students about her career trajectory from artist to illustrator and then eventually author. Following her presentation, Kowitt took requests from the students and drew everything from the school principal to the Empire State Building as they watched.
Reidy closed out the three-day stretch with a presentation to primary age students at Centennial Elementary, even pulling in several participants from the audience to showcase tales her long list of book titles.
Second Star to the Right has many more author visits scheduled in the future and will team up with the Denver Public Library to host Amy Young on June 27 for two Denver stops. Fostering the love of reading in young people and helping to keep books in their hands are core values of Second Star to the Right Children’s Bookstore and its owners, former elementary school educators Dea and Marc Lavoie. The store is continuously working to connect authors and illustrators with young people to encourage reading and writing at an early age.
As former elementary school teachers, the Lavoies have a unique understanding of the challenges facing educators and the store works to support area schools throughout the year. Second Star to the Right offers a special discount to teachers and regularly hosts an Educator’s Night in addition to making regular donations to schools and libraries.
For more information on Second Star to the Right and the store’s packed event calendar, go to www.secondstartotherightbooks.com.