Our motivation for tutoring kids, hosting book clubs and buying books for students came from the Marthas understanding how literacy and building a home library is essential to academic success, high school graduation– and even correlates to people staying out of prison, which if you think about it isn’t odd considering we know that prison populations generally have a high number of high school drop outs. Getting books into homes and getting kids excited about reading is so much more than a cutesy book fair (but we love cutesy book fairs!) So we were happy to work on this inaugural event!
First, thanks to all of the authors for being awesome and supportive: Cecil Castellucci, Elise Allen, Leslie Margolis, Ben Zelkowicz, Cameron Baity, Julia Gibson, Lisa Yee, Scott Bly and Kristen Kittscher. Extra thanks to Cecil, author coordinator, for helping wrangle the other authors. They were incredible!!!
Every student at Cheremoya Elementary was given a book signed by one of the authors, which is over 300 books totaling over $4000, generously purchased by the Hollywood United Neighborhood Council, The Cheremoya Foundation, Counterpoint Records and Books, and us! Cheremoya is a 100 year old school (2015) that has kids from the Hollywood Hills alongside kids from the flats, and the parents and community work hard to level the playing field for all students by increasing arts and other awesome extracurricular opportunities like this one.
Skylight Books was the ever-perfect local, indie book seller! The amazing Kim Woo from the Goldwyn branch of the Los Angeles Public Library was on hand, and thanks to Eva Mitnick at the Central Library for giving such great PR. Eric Menjivar from State Assemblyperson Mike Gatto (congrats on your reelection) presented each author with a certificate of recognition. Lady Glitter and Tattoos did beautiful work and donated back to the event. The UPS store on Hollywood and Western donated the event signs (high five Jackie & Myrna!). The Hollywood Arts Council provided a great, free art table activity stocked with the coolest kid art making materials imaginable (thank you Shauna!) Four delicious food trucks and one amazing photo booth rounded it all out.
The people who got there earliest and stayed the latest for an eleven hour day were a handful of high school and college kids fondly known as the Marthas. Even the ones who worked four or six hours on a Saturday deserve props! Kellyn, the event intern, worked tirelessly behind the scenes for months on this. She’s taking a larger leadership role in our organization, and it’s exciting to watch young adults grow up into such compassionate, conscientious, kick ass leaders!
From now till the end of the year, it’s homeless people, socks, toiletries and blankets on our agenda. We hope you’ll join us in that arena, too!
Hollywood Children’s Book Fair Producer
Do-Good Advisor to the Punk Rock Marthas year round