April
18

A Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Time!

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We were SO EXCITED to spend our Easter weekend with our friends and supporters at The Grove for our scrumdiddlyumptious Golden Ticket to Imagination Story Time! It was a beautiful spring day filled with Charlie and The Chocolate Factory-themed crafts, face painting, candy, exciting prizes, and of course, story time.

With the chocolate river flowing, our guests were invited to enter a world of pure imagination…

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Our longtime friends and dedicated M+B supporters Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen came out to read “10 Things I Love About You” by Daniel Kirk. Their infectious humor made everyone laugh and their reading was definitely a highlight of the day! Check out their feature in People Magazine that talks more about their participation and what they value as parents!

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Jenny Mollen and Jason Biggs attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Jenny Mollen and Jason Biggs attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

Kids had the opportunity to make fun candy crafts for Easter, courtesy of Little Junebugs, that were inspired by our friend Jodi Levine (creator of SUPERMAKEIT) and her amazingly fun book, Candy Aisle Crafts!

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Two of our sponsors Mrs. Thinsters and See’s Candy kept our attendees sweet tooth’s satisfied with delicious chocolate chip & brownie batter cookies, and bags of delicious chocolate!

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Attendees of our Annual Story Time Celebration may have recognized the Candy Man…he made a return visit for this special candy-centric event where he was busy crafting candy art all day for our guests!

 

Copies of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl & Candy Aisle Crafts by Jodi Levine, were generously donated for our special GOLDEN TICKET giveaway and were given out as prizes for the very lucky winners…

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Guests attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Guests attend The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 15: Atmosphere is seen at The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

LOS ANGELES, CA – APRIL 15: Atmosphere is seen at The Grove Hosts Golden Ticket to Imagination with Milk+Bookies at The Grove on April 15, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Caruso )

In addition, we raffled off a HUGE Wonka Gift Bag, full of some of our favorite story books, craft kits, and goodies. CONGRATS to the winner, Sandra!!

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We of course have to give a special thanks to The Grove for hosting the event at their gorgeous venue. We always have so much fun putting on events with their rockstar team!

We would also like to give shoutouts to Grove tenants Barnes & Noble, Sprinkles Cupcakes and Laduree for supporting the event by donating a portion of proceeds to Milk + Bookies to help support our mission.

Last, but certainly not least, thank you to everyone who came! Whether you were a guest, a volunteer, or an OompaLoompa, you made the day a blast and we hope you will join us again next time!

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To sign up for our newsletter updates and to find out how you can get more involved with Milk + Bookies, visit our website at milkandbookies.org!


by Megan Tambio
March
1

Author Champion of the Month: Phillip Van Wagoner

One poet begs an important question: Could you hug a cactus?

8x10We’re elated to introduce you to our Author Champion of the Month: Phillip Van Wagoner. The poet’s new book “Could You Hug a Cactus?” is a fun, soulful throwback to Dr. Seuss with poems that will make you laugh at its wit and tear up at its heart. The poems’ topics may sound silly (a girl with a large robot friend, a man with unusually long arms, a cactus in need of a hug) but each of Van Wagoner’s poems offer surprising food for thought.

Gorgeously illustrated by Spencer Smith, “Could You Hug a Cactus?” recently won the Moon Beam Children’s Book Award for Children’s Poetry. Phillip Van Wagoner will also be competing in the March Madness Poetry Competition this month hosted by ThinkKidThink! as 1 of 64 ‘Authletes’.

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We were lucky enough to interview Mr. Wagoner as our Author Champion:

1. Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey as a writer and creator! 

Originally from Michigan, I moved around a lot when I was younger so I went to a lot of different schools and met a lot of different friends. I grew up with a small library of Dr. Seuss books, and absolutely loved reading Oh Say Can You Say?, his book of tongue-twisters, before bed at night.

After graduating from Michigan State University, I found myself getting these silly rhyming lines stuck in my head while I was at work . So, I’d stop, and jot them down, and then go back to work – but I’d always come back to them. After a while, I had written 10, 20, 50 poems (and a couple were actually pretty good!) and I started sharing them. I absolutely loved seeing people laugh when I’d read them aloud – and that was it – I was hooked.

Now, when I’m not producing a TV show, hanging out with my fiancée, or walking my amazing dog, I find as much time as I can to write and share these silly poems.

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2. What inspired you to write “Could You Hug a Cactus” and how long did it take you?

The poems in Could You Hug a Cactus? were chosen out of folders full of poems I had written over nine years – so it’s a little hard to say. But once we decided to put the book together, the process took about two years from concept to actual, physical book.

3. The poems in the book run the gamut of emotion, from sweet to silly. If you had to choose, what would be the one thing you want people to take away from your work?

In one sentence – “Can you love someone or something, even when they’re not ‘perfect’?” The title poem asks the question directly, while poems like “Hero”, “Buttons”, and “Edward vs the Mannequin” offer up characters with unexpected shortcomings or skills. Throughout the book, we tried to find new ways of approaching that question.

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“Can you love someone or something, even when they’re not ‘perfect’?”

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4. What’s your personal favorite poem in the book? Why?

It’s so hard to pick a favorite. I’ll go with “Words are Words” because it’s the only poem in the book where Spencer’s incredible acrylic illustrations don’t steal all my thunder!

 

5. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers, illustrators, poets, etc? 

Yeah, definitely! I’ll give the same advice I try to remember every day. Write fearlessly! You don’t have to show anyone else what you put down on the page, so just write and worry about the editing later. It’s only when you let yourself put it all out there that you find those things that are really special.

 

6. And, finally, what is your all time FAVORITE book?

In third grade, I actually remember the moment when I pulled Shel Silverstein’s Where The Sidewalk Ends off the shelf and looked at it for the first time. That book made a huge impression on me. Here was this adult who “got it”. The book was hilarious and heartfelt and sometimes a little dark – but it was always honest. As outrageous as some of the poems were, I could relate to the characters and understood the decisions they were making. That’s my #1.IMG_3464

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Order your copy of “Could You Hug a Cactus?” here.

A huge thanks to Phillip Van Wagoner for reminding us that while sometimes we’re a little prickly, we all could use a hug!

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READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Megan Tambio
January
25

Taste the Future with Ripple Foods – It’s Delicious!

If you’ve been to a grocery store in the last several years, you know that when it comes to milk, there’s a TON of options. However, you may or may not have heard of the latest (and potentially greatest) option to hit shelves – pea milk…yes, milk made from peas.

Our friends and partners for our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration at Ripple Foods have worked tirelessly to bring together the best of all the milk worlds – nutrition, eco- friendliness, and, most importantly, taste – into one amazing product! Does pea milk sound a little pea-culiar?

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Consider: Ripple takes 93% less water to produce than dairy milk and 85% less than almond milk. Made from the nutrient rich pea protein, it has 8 grams of protein and is high in calcium and vitamin D.

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Ripple‘s milk comes in 4 delicious flavors to choose from: Original, Vanilla, Chocolate (our personal favorite), and Original Unsweetened.

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Founded by Neil Renninger and Adam Lowry (who also created environmentally-minded cleaning supply company Method), Ripple has succeeded in developing a milk that everyone can enjoy. Marching proudly to the beat of its own drummer, Ripple is nut, gluten, & lactose free and is 100% vegan!

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Screen Shot 2017-01-24 at 2.13.55 PMYou can even use Ripple as a milk substitute, whether you’re having a simple cup of coffee or a decadent desert!

Ripple is available at many grocery stores AND will be featured at our Milk + Cookies Bar at our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration taking place on Feb. 26, 2017 from 11am-2pm at HD Buttercup in Culver City!

Tickets are still available, so get yours TODAY: conta.cc/2dj2KrK!!!

To find out more about the event, visit our Story Time page here.


by Megan Tambio
January
17

Champion #TheMagicofStorytelling with M+B & Disney!

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M+B Intern, Abigail, dreaming of a Seuss-tacular world!

As you all probably know, our 8th Annual Story Time Celebration is just around the corner, which gives us here at Milk+Bookies a chance to partner with some of the most inspiring brands in the world to advocate for reading and literacy everywhere. This year, we are so excited to again be partnering with Disney/ABC Television Group for their #MagicOfStorytelling campaign!

Now through March 31st, share a “shelfie” – a selfie with your favorite book or in front of a bookshelf – using the hashtag #MagicOfStorytelling and Disney will donate a book to a child in need!

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M+B Intern, Shannon, feeling the #MagicofStorytelling with Harry Potter!

Follow along as your favorite celebs share their #shelfies too!

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The #MagicOfStorytelling campaign celebrates all the ways that a love for reading benefits a child’s life. So join in the fun AND help us make a difference- show us your #shelfie!

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by Megan Tambio
December
13

Story Time Celebration Tickets NOW AVAILABLE!

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YOU are invited to the 8th Annual Story Time Celebration!

 

When: Sunday, February 26th, 2017, 11am-2pm

Where: HD Buttercup – Culver City

3225 Helms Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90034

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Join us for a day of family fun featuring celebrity readers, story-inspired arts & crafts, books to donate, a scavenger hunt, the chance to meet your favorite literary characters, a giant bookstore, yummy snacks and, naturally…milk & cookies! Come and celebrate your love of reading and philanthropy with your friends and family.

We hope you can join us!

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SPECIAL PRESALE PRICING AVAILABLE ONLY UNTIL JANUARY 1st!*

$75 per ticket (children 24 months and younger are free)

*(after January 1st tickets will be $100 each excluding children under 24 months)

To purchase your tickets or a sponsorship package, please visit: conta.cc/2dj2KrK.

 

Check out previous Story Time Celebrations by watching our videos HERE!

Any questions? Please email us at info@milkandbookies.org or contact our Event Coordinator, Traci Hoffberg, at Traci@tracihoffbergevents.com.

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by Alesha Dailey
November
29

A Message from Our Founder…

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In keeping with our democracy, America has been loudly voicing our differences. In doing so, our children have recently been exposed to language and behaviors which we hope they will find unacceptable. Many of us have expressed our fears and listened to our children’s confusion. Please remember to hold close your values and the values that you know, as humans and humanitarians, to be due north on your moral compass. Inclusion, empathy and compassion are the ideals by which most families live and raise their children. Now, more than ever, we must “do unto others as you would have others do unto you”.

For the students with whom we work, most especially the recipients, there is a great need for support, and, now, perhaps an even greater need for equality in education and empowerment by service.

The future is always uncertain, and feels more so today, but we will never lose the ability to positively effect another person’s life by being kind. Together we will continue to fight inequalities and we WILL create a better world.

With my warmest wishes for a brighter tomorrow,

Meredith

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Donate HERE to help support our programs and continuing efforts to increase childhood literacy and inspire a generation of givers!


by Alesha Dailey
October
10

The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Recap!

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We had SO MUCH FUN at the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party on September 24th! A HUGE thank you to The Grove and everyone who came out for an afternoon of crafts, snacks, balloons, face painting, and – of course – story time!

Many thanks to Teak & Lace for the beautiful decorations, Magic Characters for bringing The Mad Hatter and Alice to life, Clementine for the delicious goodies, Pottery Barn Kids for supplying the tea party sets, Elizabeth and James for generously donating a portion of profits to the event, and the lovely Paget Brewster (Criminal Minds) for coming out to read stories to us!


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“I could tell you my adventures — beginning from this morning, but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”

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“Yes, that’s it! It’s always tea time.”

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“And what is the use of a book without pictures or conversation?”

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“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

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“If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense; nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it wasn’t.”

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“I can’t explain myself, I’m afraid, Sir, because I’m not myself you see.”

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“You’re entirely bonkers. But I will tell you a secret: all the best people are.”

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“Everything’s got a moral, if only you can find it.”

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“Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible.”

See you all next time in Wonderland!

Interested in partnering with Milk + Bookies for charity events at your store, retail complex, community event, etc.?? Email us at info@milkandbookies.org to find out more info!


by Kristen Wood
September
28

Book-Raiser Spotlight: Heath’s 6th Birthday!

This week’s Book-Raiser Spotlight goes to

Heath!

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For his sixth birthday, Heath hosted his second Milk + Bookies Book-Raiser, where he and all of his ninja friends helped raise 25 books for the Elizabeth House!

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Since 1993, the Elizabeth House has provided shelter, hope, and support for homeless pregnant women and their children in Pasadena by supporting their physical, emotional, spiritual, and economic needs. Through classes on parenting, health, financial management, emotional health, and job skills training, the team at the Elizabeth House works tirelessly to build a better future for these women and their children!

CHILDREN WHO PARTICIPATED: 13

TOTAL BOOKS RAISED: 25

DONATED TO: Elizabeth House

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Great work Heath! We know the children at the Elizabeth House will love the books you gave them! 

We love hearing about the success of #FUTUREPHILANTHROPISTS like Heath and can’t wait to see where their love of reading and giving takes them!

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To find out how you can Host Your Own Book-Raiser and start making a difference to children in your community, click here.

And don’t forget to purchase your Bookies Box full of all the materials you will need to make your Book-Raiser a success!

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Kristen Wood
September
16

Join Us For The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

Don’t be late for this very important date!

 

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Join us at The Grove on Saturday, September 24th, 2-5pm for The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party! On the lawn outside Nordstrom and Pacific Theaters, we will celebrate heading back to school with celebrity story time, crafts, treats, and more.

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Be sure to purchase your tickets here! General admission is $10 per child. A $25 VIP pass includes a complimentary children’s book and t-shirt.

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READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Kristen Wood
August
17

Harry Potter and the Importance of Literacy

With the recent birthdays of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling, as well as the release of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, this summer has been HUGE for the Harry Potter franchise and is bringing a new generation of children back to the magic of Hogwarts!

In celebration of the new book (and our general obsession with all things HP), here’s a look at how Harry Potter has impacted literacy worldwide since its publication…

First published in 1997, the Harry Potter series has sold an estimated 450 million books across 200 different countries.

Children have been exposed to the magical world of Hogwarts in sixty-nine different languages.

Coca Cola donated $18 million to the US Reading is Fundamental program at Rowling’s request after they won the rights to tie their product in with the first film.

Harry Potter has inspired budding writers to create more than 500 thousand pieces of fan fiction related to the series.

Universities now use the Harry Potter novels to educate future teachers by comparing and contrasting teaching styles with that of Hogwarts professors.

The final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, sold 8.3 million copies on the first day of its release.

Studies have shown that children – and adults! – that have read Harry Potter are more tolerant of stigmatized social groups, such as refugees and members of the LGBTQ community.

Foreign language versions of the novels have been used to aid in learning a second language.

Young readers are exposed not just to Hogwarts, but the many genres featured through out the novels – from fantasy to mystery to romance and horror.

Fans of Harry Potter are more politically active than those who have not read the series.

The interest spawned by Harry Potter made reading “cool” again and drew back a generation of readers from other forms of media.

59% of children say that the Harry Potter series has made them better readers.

51% of readers say they will go on to read another book series after finishing Harry Potter.

 

Can you remember the first time you read Harry Potter? For children with limited access to books, that moment may never come.

Join us in spreading the love of reading and the lastings joys of Harry Potter and Hogwarts by hosting your own Book-Raiser or donating to get much needed books to children in need!

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home!

 

READ! GIVE! GROW!


by Kristen Wood