Kevin Cody

Children’s book author Wayland unites writers, artists for Obama

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Authors and illustrators for children

Ilustration by Greg Pizzoli (GregPizzoli.com)

Manhattan Beach children’s book author April Wayland is helping organize over 400 children’s book authors and illustrators to help re-elect President Barack Obama. The group includes two Children’s Poet Laureates and recipients of the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Medal, Coretta Scott King Award, the National Book Award and the Edgar Award. Their motto is “Stand with us for our children’s future.”

An interview with Wayland about the campaign by National Public Radio reporter Peter Overby was scheduled to air Wednesday, Oct. 24. The campaign is being organized through Authors and Illustrators for Children (AIC), which Wayland co-founded with fellow children’s author Bruce Balan in 2004.

“Our members are committed not only to campaigning for our president, but also to help elect senators and local candidates who will support programs that support our children,” said Wayland, who recently hosted a house party for South Bay Assembly candidate Al Muratsuchi.

“AIC is about creating a better future for all children. That’s why we felt we must support Barack Obama,” said U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis

Other celebrated authors and illustrators supporting Obama include Bruce Coville, Daniel Handler (aka Lemony Snicket), Jack Prelutsky, Judy Blume, Katherine Patterson, Jane Yolen, Nikki Grimes, and Tomie dePaola.

AIC’s campaign has included raising money for a television spot, which has been airing in Florida, an Internet campaign to support the national campaign and local candidates, and advertising on PublishersWeekly.com and other influential online websites. Social media is being employed to enlist support from still more authors and illustrators and the broader book publishing industry.

“The response has been fantastic,” said Balan. “When we started AIC in 2004, we sent out only 20 emails to colleagues. We had no idea how quickly it would grow to give voice to those in our field.

“During the 2008 national election, our supporters spanned the industry, from first-time authors and illustrators to the iconic Maurice Sendak, whose death this year was a great loss to the literary world as well as our organization.”

“AIC believes it can convinceAmerica’s teachers, parents, librarians, book lovers and young people to believe as they do — that President Obama will ensure a bright future for children,” Wayland said.

“Stand with us for our children’s future” has brought together authors and illustrators of books as varied as Ella Enchanted (Gail Carson Levine), Wicked (Gregory Maguire), The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster), Strega Nona (Tomie dePaola), Feed (M.T. Anderson), A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever (Marla Frazee) and Bridge to Terabithia (Katherine Paterson).

For more information about AIC and “Stand with us for our children’s future,” including a list of member authors and illustrators visit AuthorsAndIllustratorsForChildren.org.

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