Rochester celebrates Authors in April

Public invited to downtown scavenger hunt, autograph party

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published April 15, 2015

 Illustrator Jonathan Bean donated this original ink drawing for the 2015 Authors in April banquet raffle drawing.

Illustrator Jonathan Bean donated this original ink drawing for the 2015 Authors in April banquet raffle drawing.

Photo provided by Authors in April

ROCHESTER — Through the magic of books, the Rochester-based Authors in April program has been connecting children with famous authors and illustrators for over 30 years.

This year’s Authors in April program will take place April 20-24, bringing four nationally acclaimed authors to the Rochester area — Daniel Kirk, Lynne Jonell, Chris Grabenstein and Nora Raleigh Baskin. 

Authors in April executive board member Lisa Wattai said the program has been important in the community for 32 years.

“For many students, Authors in April is the springboard that creates a lifelong love for reading,” Wattai said in an email.

To kick off the week’s activities, Rochester and Rochester Hills students and families are invited to participate in a free scavenger hunt from 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. April 18. The scavenger hunt will begin at the Rochester Hills Public Library, where families will be given some clues and a map that will lead them to various businesses. Inside the businesses, families will find answers to questions about Authors in April books and authors that they can record on handouts. Along the way, Wattai said, “trinkets, candy and goodies” will be given to kids.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Authors in April executive board member Sandy Rosonke said. “It’s just a nice way to kick off the week and get the kids excited about the authors coming in.”

The public is also invited to a free autograph party from 4-6 p.m. April 22 at the Rochester Hills Public Library, where they can meet the authors and have books autographed. The authors’ books will be available for sale during the event.

From April 20-24, author/illustrator Daniel Kirk will visit kindergarten and first-grade students, author Lynne Jonell will meet with second- and third-grade students, author Chris Grabenstein will visit fourth- and fifth-grade students, and author Nora Raleigh Baskin will meet with middle school students.

The authors will visit schools to give presentations. Baskin will also present a writers workshop at each of the middle schools. In all, the authors will speak to well over 10,000 students during their visit and combine to sign approximately 10,000 books.

“The schools do an awesome job of preparing the kids for the authors. Those kids have read, or someone has read to them, pretty much all of the authors’ books by the time the authors come in,” Rosonke said.

Participating schools will also celebrate the program by having children who read a participating authors’ book sign a 4-foot-tall bookmark board, which will be on display during an Authors in April benefit dinner.

The benefit dinner, which is open to high school students and adults, will be held April 21 at the Royal Park Hotel.

The event will begin at 6 p.m. with a book sale and signing, and a cash bar. Dinner will be served at 7 p.m., followed by a raffle drawing for original art at 8 p.m. and authors’ remarks at 8:15 p.m. Seating is limited, and reservations for the dinner must be made before the event. Costs range from $45 to $75.

Founded in 1984, Authors in April Inc. coordinates the Rochester-area Authors in April program. To learn more or to purchase tickets to the benefit dinner, visit www.authorsinapril.org.