ABOUT THIS EVENTWhen a young child sits on the lap of someone they love, or on the reading rug of a beloved library, turning pages and pouring over illustrations, their brain is doing the incredible work of building a model for their world. Here, guided by a book, the stage is being set for higher-level critical thinking, and curiosity opens their minds. A kind, listening ear for the child’s stories and revelations reinforces good self esteem and empathy. When you see how much reading matters, how deep the learning goes, it really does feel something like magic. But it’s not magic: It’s brain chemistry! And all children need it to ﬂourish!“Books Are Magic” is a joyful testament to the power of books, and also a fervent call for awareness of a deep inequality in our education systems that cannot continue. Our annual gala is also celebration of those who have improved the landscape of literature, literacy, and education through their work. During our event program we will recognize the recipients of our annual awards: the John Graham Tucker Leadership Award, the Book of the Year Award, and the Educator of the Year Award, in order to shine a spotlight on the people who make such a difference in the daily lives of our students and help our organization do the vital work of increasing access to books for all children.
MONDAY, MAY 1, 2023 6:30pm ET Current at Chelsea Piers in NYCANNUAL SPRING GALAHONORINGJOHN GRAHAM TUCKER LEADERSHIP AWARD RON SUSSMAN & STEVE SUSSMAN BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD THE MAGICAL YET WRITTEN BY ANGELA DITERLIZZI, ILLUSTRATED BY LORENA ALVAREZ EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD LA-FLEUR MATTHEWS PRESCHOOL TEACHER AT FRIENDS OF CROWN HEIGHTS IN BROOKLYN, NY BOOKS FOR KIDS
Dear Friends,Did you know that when people are asked about their favorite book of all time, most adults respond with the title of a children’s book? Those were the books that were read to us when we were younger, the very ﬁrst books we were able to read on our own, and the books that left indelible marks on our hearts and our souls. We can’t always remember the title of the book we read a week ago or the details of the story, but I know I can remember every detail of Charlotte’s Web and The Secret Garden, and I remember most of the words of Where the Wild Things Are. It’s hard for many of us to imagine a world without the comfort of those stories, characters, rhymes and illustrations. But access to books is not something to be taken for granted. Not every child grows up having someone to read them Goodnight Moon or The Snowy Day at bedtime. Not every child knows what it’s like to stare at a bookcase full of books and still lovingly pull out the same book 18 nights in a row for a bedtime story. Not every child grows up relating to Alexander and the No Good Very Bad Day or pretending to be a Very Hungry Caterpillar. At Books for Kids, we imagine a nation where every child from birth to kindergarten is surrounded by books, has an adult who reads with them every day, and has access to high-quality early education that provides a foundation for a lifelong love of reading and learning. But our nation has a long way to go before that vision becomes a reality. The fact is far too many children have no books in their homes and many preschools are so under- resourced that they have very few books on their shelves. That’s where we come in. We provide easy access to a library, books, and foundational literacy resources, giving children a chance to grow and succeed. Our programs help children develop their conﬁdence, curiosity, and love of learning. Books for Kids makes a difference. This difference is what sets them up for success. This difference is what Books for Kids delivers with your help. This evening we celebrate the work that we do, the children and families supported by the work, and those who inspire and contribute to making a difference. We celebrate leaders Ron Sussman and Steve Sussman, heads of Sussman Education and Lightswitch Learning, who live in the world of literacy education, have taught us so much, and have supported Books for Kids with books, connections, and generous funding for so many years. We celebrate eductors like La-Fleur Matthews, a pre-k teacher and a great supporter of our program who has her students take turns reading their library books to the whole class. We celebrate one of the favorite books in our libraries this year, Angela DiTerlizzi’s The Magical Yet, which speaks to the frustration every child feels about everything they can’t do… Yet! We celebrate the magic of books and reading. And we celebrate all of you who make the work we do possible.Have a wonderful evening!Books for Kids Executive Director Robin AdelsonA LETTER FROM THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
OUR HOST COMMITTEE WARMLY WELCOMES YOU!* Member of Board of Directors ** Associate Board MemberRob Bachmann**Ted Brolsma*Selma Bueno*Jordan Dudeck* & Peter SmithSteven Fuchs* and Brian LancasterAnna Harman and Chris Berger*Kellie Hinkle*Amanda Hirsh*Maya Kalman Ingram** and James IngramKelly O’Brien**Alexi Poretz*Deepka and Suraj Sani*Pia Sharan**Evangeline Shih* and David DecimaBecca* and Marc StronginMimi Swain*Natalia Wojcik*Dawn* and John Yiannoullou
ENSURING INCLUSIVE AND EQUITABLE EDUCATION IN PURSUIT OF LIFELONG LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR ALLHELPING TO SHAPE OUR NEXT GENERATION OF INNOVATORSWe’re committed to shaping the great leaders and thinkers of tomorrow.Konica Minolta proudly supports Books for Kids and their mission to promote literacy among preschool-aged children in under-resourced communities.Books For Kids Sponsorship Ad_C 2022.indd 1Books For Kids Sponsorship Ad_C 2022.indd 1 4/18/22 3:16 PM4/18/22 3:16 PMWordsmithLibrarianAlexi PoretzBibliophileBookwormAnna Harman & Christopher BergerRiva Horwitz & Joshua EasterlyThe Shachar FundThe Sani Family FoundationRebecca & Marc StronginJohn & Dawn Yiannoullou and FamilySelma BuenoDrs. Ronit & Doron Kalman
WordsmithLibrarianAlexi PoretzBibliophileBookwormAnna Harman & Christopher BergerRiva Horwitz & Joshua EasterlyThe Shachar FundThe Sani Family FoundationRebecca & Marc StronginJohn & Dawn Yiannoullou and FamilySelma BuenoDrs. Ronit & Doron Kalman
“It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is good stuff.” — Fred Rogers
JOHN GRAHAM TUCKER LEADERSHIP AWARDRON SUSSMAN & STEVE SUSSMANSussman Education, founded in 1971 by Joe and Elaine Sussman, has been serving New York City schools for more than 50 years, providing high-quality curriculum resources to the city’s most diverse school districts. The mission of Sussman Education is to help parents and students be the best they can be, and to provide the resources parents and teacher need to help their children succeed socially, emotionally, physically, and academically. Joe and Elaine’s sons, Ron and Steve, took over the business and launched Lightswitch Learning, a publishing imprint dedicated to family engagement, social emotional learning, career exploration, and literacy in 2012.Ron Sussman is the President of Sales for Sussman Eduction/Lightswitch Learning. He has been a leader in K-12 digital and print distribution in New York City schools for over 20 years. Ron served as Board Chair of Books For Kids for 7 years. Steve Sussman is the President of the Curriculum Division for Sussman Education/Lightswitch Learning. Steve has collaborated with educational leaders in New York City and beyond, conducting market research to inform the design of supplemental programs that meet the demands of education policy, and evaluating thousands of educational solutions to bring the newest and best to schools across the country. Ron and Steve have been longstanding supporters of and friends to Books for Kids. They have provided books for our libraries, connected us with education professionals as well as prospective donors and Board members, and they sponsored the full renovation of two Books for Kids libraries. We are deeply grateful to Ron Sussman and Steve Sussman for their leadership, support, and generosity. It is our honor to present these brothers with this year’s John Graham Tucker Leadership award.
BOOK OF THE YEAR AWARD THE MAGICAL YET WRITTEN BY ANGELA DITERLIZZI ILLUSTRATED BY LORENA ALVAREZ PUBLISHED BY LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERSWe are proud to present the award for Book of the Year, chosen for its impact on the lives of our kids, to Angela DiTerlizzi and Lorena Alvarez for The Magical Yet. Fitting in beautifully with our “books are magic” theme, The Magical Yet is a book that we at Books for Kids hold in the highest regard in our libraries as it’s one of those special books that delights and captivates children as well as the adults around them. In fact, this moving and uplifting book has brought some of our fellow educators to happy tears! Through its rhythmic cadence and enchanting illustrations, The Magical Yet charms and inspires readers with its empowering messages of trying new things, never giving up, not fearing failures, prioritizing perseverance, persistence, potential, patience, and practice. It’s ok that we can’t do everything right away - from the day we’re born, each one of us is accompanied by a special companion, a major game changer and most amazing thought rearranger, the Yet. With Yet’s magic, the child in each of us can see where we’re going, and we’ll get there even if we aren’t there YET.“Yet’s a dreamer, a schemer,a hope-er, a try-er A maker, a do-er,a gotta-ﬂy-higher.This Yet ﬁnds a way,even when you don’t,And, Yet knows you will,when you think you won’t.” The Magical Yet
EDUCATOR OF THE YEAR AWARDLA-FLEUR MATTHEWS PRESCHOOL TEACHER FRIENDS OF CROWN HEIGHTS- BROOKLYN, NY— ROSETTA SCOTT, EDUCATIONAL DIRECTOR AT FRIENDS OF CROWN HEIGHTS PARK PLACEMs. Matthews is a very dedicated and enthusiastic individual who loves what she does. She is a very instrumental teacher here at Friends of Crown Heights where she provides instruction...and is an additional source of encouragement in the lives of her students and their families. Ms. Matthews is highly qualiﬁed for the position she holds and is a quick learner. She is a pleasant individual who believes in positive motivation and nurturing strategies to teach young children.La-Fleur Matthews, or Miss La-Fleur, as her students call her, was born on the island of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean. The third of eight children, Miss La-Fleur took great pride in helping her younger siblings and nib-lings learn how to read. Fun fact: Courduroy is still the most popular picture book in her family. Ms. La-Fleur received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Brooklyn College and has taught Pre-K for nine years at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn. Our literacy partnership with her school began in 2016, and since then Miss La-Fleur has been one of the most collaborative, enthusiastic, and passionate supporters of the Books for Kids library and program there. Not only does Miss La-Fleur use the books and resources in the library for read-alouds, but also for her own pedagogical purposes, including her recent research project entitled “How Children’s Interests Impact Their Expressive Language Skills.” As an educator, Miss La-Fleur knows the long-lasting impacts that high-quality early education and literacy programs can have on children and communities. And as a parent to Olivia, who two years ago graduated from her Mom’s pre-school and still borrows books from the library, Miss La-Fleur saw her daughter’s love of reading and learning blos-som because she was surrounded by books and caring adults who read with her every day. For her dedication to enriching the lives of her young students through literacy and so much more, we honor her as our 2023 Educator of the Year.
Rebecca & Marc StronginBOOKS FOR KIDSC O N G R A T U L A T I O N S T O A L L O F T H E2 0 2 3 H O N O R E E Sand their vital mission of ensuring literacy for all.WE ARE PROUD TO SUPPORTare Proud to Support Books for Kids& their efforts to provide children with theliteracy foundations they need. Congratulations to the 2023 honorees.Sussman Education is a proudsupporter of Books for Kids.Ron Sussman & Steve Sussman are honored toreceive the Books for Kids Leadership Award andextend congratulations the 2023 winners of the Book of the Year and Educator Awards.T H E SH A CH AR FU NDSHE L LEY LEV I NE & LA R RY S CHWA RTZWe are proud to support Becca Strongin and the entireBooks for Kids team as they carry out the important work ofeducating and inspiring the next generation. Congratuationsto all of this year's honorees."Reading should not bepresented to children as achore or duty. It should beoffered to them as aprecious gift." – Kate DiCamilloPENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE is proud to be a sponsor of BOOKS FOR KIDSand supports their mission to promote literacy among preschool-aged children in under-resourced communities
Rebecca & Marc StronginBOOKS FOR KIDSC O N G R A T U L A T I O N S T O A L L O F T H E2 0 2 3 H O N O R E E Sand their vital mission of ensuring literacy for all.WE ARE PROUD TO SUPPORTare Proud to Support Books for Kids& their efforts to provide children with theliteracy foundations they need. Congratulations to the 2023 honorees.PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE is proud to be a sponsor of BOOKS FOR KIDSand supports their mission to promote literacy among preschool-aged children in under-resourced communitiesCongratulations toRebecca Strongin & Boo ks for Kids for their efforts to support early literacy.Arlene and Jack Levine & FamilyRiva Horwitz &Joshua EasterlyThank you to BFK for their worksupporting young students' literacydevelopment.Thank you to Books for Kids for their dedicationto students and to the cause of literacy for all.Drs. Ronit & Doron Kalman
Congratulations!Ron and Steve SussmanJOHN GRAHAM TUCKER LEADERSHIP AWARDThe Magical Yet by Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Lorena AlvarezBOOK OF THE YEARLa-Fleur MatthewsEDUCATOR OF THE YEARWe are a proud supporter of Books for Kids.T H E S A N I F A M I L YF O U N D A T I O NThe Sani FamilyFoundation is proud to work side by side with Books for Kids to bring libraries to life.I T T A K E S A T E A Mfor the libraries they have opened across the USA foryoung children, especially in disadvantaged areas. Thebooks in the libraries have introduced so manyyoungsters to new friends and new places. Theselibraries have helped countless numbers of children togrow and thrive.Cheers to the Books for Kids FoundationWe applaud the leadership, members, volunteers,parents, teachers, and children. Muriel Feldshuh Braunstein & Steven J. BraunsteinEarly Childhood and Author BoardProud Supporters since 1996John, Dawn, and their children,Leo, Maria and ZacharyYiannoullou, are proud tosupport Book for Kids and theirvital mission of ensuring that allkids have access to books.Every child deserves the abilityto incorporate reading andenrichment into their everydaylives. We congratulate this year’saward winners for theirdedication to enriching the livesof young students. We hope tocontinue supporting thisamazing cause for many years.visitingstudentFrom Dawn & JohnYiannoullou and Familyoutdoorstory time!
A C H I L D W H O R E A D S W I L LB E A N A D U L T W H O T H I N K S .L Y N R O S E N S W E I G & B R U C E S C H N E L W A RT h a n k y o u t o A m a n d a H i r s h f o r c o n t i n u i n g t h e m a g i c o f B o o k s f o r K i d s .
I N H O N O R O FS U R A J S A N IA n e x c e p t i o n a l h u m a n i t a r i a n a n dp h i l a n t h r o p i s t , w h o s e u n w a v e r i n gd e d i c a t i o n h a s l e f t a p r o f o u n d i m p a c to n t h e l i v e s o f m a n y . — E s t e l l e & A n d y R o s s a n d F a m i l y
MAKE A GIFTLEARN MORE WWW.BOOKSFORKIDS.ORGThank you to Books for Kids and to all those who help ensure that childrenhave access to the books they need and deserve. Congratulations to all of the 2023 honorees.ALEXI PORETZWE HOPE YOU’LL JOIN THE BFK FAMILY OF SUPPORTERS