Cary, NC— Staff, board members, volunteers, and friends of the Lucy Daniels Center continue to develop an exciting calendar of events for Bookmarked! 2012, a ten-day festival for young children and their families that celebrates the special joys of reading with children. The festivities are scheduled for April 27 - May 6, 2012.

Part of Lucy’s Book Club, the Center’s signature public outreach program, Bookmarked! 2012 will feature children’s book readings by local “celebrity-heroes” at venues across Wake County, a family-friendly concert at The Green at North Hills, a book fair at Quail Ridge Books, and several public appearances by New York Timesbestselling children’s author Audrey Penn. Most events will be free and open to the public.

Families can join in the fun by bringing their children to book readings at locations including Quail Ridge Books (Monday, April 30), Marbles Kids Museum (Tuesday, May 1), Barnes and Noble Booksellers stores (Thursday, May 3) and numerous branches of Wake County Public Libraries throughout the week. Readers will include a chef, an artist, TV news personalities, firefighters, members of the U.S. military, and college athletes.

Bestselling children’s book author Audrey Penn—the 2012 recipient of the Lucy Daniels Award, which recognizes an author’s significant contribution to children’s literature that supports healthy social and emotional development—will headline several Bookmarked! events. She will read from her beloved Chester Raccoon picture books (The Kissing HandA Pocket Full of Kisses) at Quail Ridge Books on Saturday, April 28, and share excerpts from her “Mystery at Blackbeard’s Cove” chapter books at the N.C. Museum of History and Cameron Village Library on Wednesday, May 2. She will also lead a workshop for educators at the Lucy Daniels Center on Thursday, May 3.

The festival will also feature a Lucy’s Book Club Book Fair at Quail Ridge Books April 27-29. Quail Ridge Books will donate 20% of sale proceeds to Bookmarked! fundraising efforts whenever anyone mentions the book fair at check-out on those dates. Families may purchase autographed copies of books by Ms. Penn at Quail Ridge Books as part of this book fair; pre-signed books will also be available during Ms. Penn’s appearances at the museum May 2 and the Family Fun Concert May 5, with 20% of those proceeds going to Bookmarked! as well.

The finale of the Bookmarked! festival is the Family Fun Concert, taking place at The Green at North Hills on Saturday, May 5, from 9 a.m. to noon. The concert will feature live music by kids’ band Sandbox, readings by Audrey Penn and Theatre in the Park’s Ira David Wood III, and other fun activities for children. Admission is free.

Bookmarked! 2012 has it all—readings by children’s heroes, music, family activities, and a bestselling author, Audrey Penn, whose picture books epitomize Lucy’s Book Club’s message that reading quality books with your children can help them navigate the social and emotional challenges of growing up,” says Deshelia Watson, Center board member and chair of the Bookmarked! 2012 planning committee. “It will be so much fun for the whole family—and most events are free!”

Bookmarked!’s purpose is to raise awareness of and funding for Lucy’s Book Club and the Center’s Family Support Fund, which helps bridge the gap between what families can afford to pay for their child’s mental health services at the Center and their actual cost. Sponsorships in amounts ranging from $250 to $15,000 are available now and offer corporations and foundations the opportunity for high visibility throughout the festival and on Lucy’s Book Club materials in 2012-13. Overall attendance of Bookmarked! events is estimated at more than 4,000 children and their families.

“What makes Bookmarked! so special is that it is a true community effort,” says Clarenda Stanley, the Center’s director of development. “Community members give financial support, gifts in kind, grants, and the gift of their time to make this festival a success. Our supporters and Bookmarked! attendees come together in a shared belief of the Lucy Daniels Center’s role in enriching families and our community.”

Visit www.lucysbookclub.org and click on the “Bookmarked! event” tab for the most up-to-date information about events, sponsorship opportunities, and other Bookmarked! 2012 news.

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Now celebrating 20 years of service to children and families, the Lucy Daniels Center, formerly the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, is a nationally recognized model for childhood mental health education and services. The Center is the largest and most comprehensive non-profit focused on providing mental health services to young children and their families in the Triangle and is conveniently located at 9003 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513. For more information, visit www.lucydanielscenter.org.    

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