Cary, NC—The Lucy Daniels Center has announced the dates and featured author for its third annual Bookmarked! event, taking place April 27 - May 6, 2012.

New York Times bestselling children’s author Audrey Penn will join local “celebrity-heroes” and hundreds of families in celebrating the delights of children’s literature and the special joys of reading together. She will be the third recipient of the Lucy Daniels Award, which recognizes outstanding contributions to children’s literature that supports social and emotional health.

Ms. Penn is the author of the much-beloved Chester Raccoon stories (The Kissing Hand, A Pocket Full of Kisses), which tackle difficult childhood topics including separation anxiety, the arrival of a new sibling, bullying, and the death of a loved one in a comforting way. She has also written chapter books for older children. Her “Mystery at Blackbeard’s Cove” series offers up exciting tales that combine history, mystery, and the ghost of Blackbeard the Pirate.

The festival rwill include free public readings by local celebrity-heroes (police officers, firefighters, news anchors, ballerinas, stage actors, etc.), fun activities for children and their families, a book fair at Quail Ridge Books, and several special appearances by Ms. Penn. A Family Fun Concert featuring the band Sandbox is slated for Saturday, May 5, at The Green at North Hills in Raleigh.

Bookmarked! is an extension of Lucy’s Book Club (LBC), the Center’s primary educational outreach program. LBC supports healthy social and emotional growth in young children by encouraging parents to read to them books that approach important developmental themes in a safe and reassuring way. Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand was a featured LBC title for January 2010’s theme, Feeling Strong on My Own.

Bookmarked! 2012 sponsorships, in amounts up to $15,000, are available now and offer high visibility for sponsors throughout the ten-day event and for the next year of Lucy’s Book Club. Sponsorships help cover the costs of Lucy’s Book Club for 2012-2013 and provide significant support for the Center’s Family Support Fund, which helps close the gap between what families can afford to pay for services at the Center and their actual cost. As more than 60% of Center families pay less than the full cost of the mental health services provided to their children (and one in six receives services at no cost), Bookmarked! sponsorships help make it possible for these children to receive the treatment they need at the point in their development when it benefits them most.

For more information about Bookmarked! 2012 and a complete list of sponsor levels and benefits, visit www.lucysbookclub.org (under the “Bookmarked! event” tab) or call Clarenda Stanley, director of development at the Center, at 919.677.1400, x120.

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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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