Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, with titles ranging from the Harry Potter series to Clifford the Big Red Dog, created a Summer Reading Road Trip to encourage youngsters to use some of their summer vacation time to read. That tour made a stop at Books & Books in Coral Gables on Saturday on June 18.
Julie Amitie, executive director of Marketing, Trade Division, for Scholastic and participating on the tour, explained about the event and its purpose.
“This is the first time that we’re engaging in a cross country tour of this magnitude for summer reading,” Amitie said. “We wanted to put a focus on summer reading, choosing books to read for fun over the summertime, because studies show that if kids choose books for fun they are more likely to stick with their reading and it helps them avoid the summer slide in reading level.
“So we have two RV’s that are touring the country this summer, with 50 family reading festivals that we’re hosting in about 25 different markets,” she said. “The RV’s will be travelling about 10,000 miles in total. We’re partnering with bookstores, libraries and schools across the country and hosting community events.”
Planned for families with “kids ages zero to 12,” the tour has everything from picture books up to middle grade novels. There were four popular authors participating at Books & Books: Gables resident Christina Diaz Gonzalez with one of her books, Moving Target; Miami Beach resident Walter Wick with his Hey Seymour and I Spy series; Boca Raton resident Lisa McCourt with one of her titles, I Love You Stinky Face, and Mike Maihack of Tampa who has published three graphic novel style books.
Christina Diaz Gonzalez, who appeared at the Gables location and just days later in Kissimmee on the tour, was happy to participate, signing books and talking face to face with members of her reading audience.
“I think it’s a wonderful thing,” Diaz Gonzalez said. “I’m thrilled to be a part of it because it gets kids excited about reading for fun. It’s not associated with schoolwork; it’s just summer reading, enjoyable and it promotes reading year round. I’ve also enjoyed meeting other writers.”
One of her young fans who was delighted to meet a favorite author and get her autograph was Emily Derby.
“I like books a lot,” Emily said shyly. “The thing about reading is that it has a lot of adventures and a lot of stuff that’s fun to read.”
Scholastic has an online Summer Reading Challenge for kids, teachers and parents at www.scholastic.com/ups/campaigns/src-2016.
Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables, is hosting a new Harry Potter midnight release party on July 30.