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We were back at it again with the 2021 Read Across America campaign. Not the same as the other years, with the pandemic altering the way we produce and all. Read Across America has new branding, with a new logo and an active pursuit of diverse readers as well. This opens up a whole new world of authors, subject matter and characters to explore.

All aspects of production has been remote and relying heavy on the participant. We provided our expertise, insight and direction for this participating through Zoom or simply recording remotely. With that, we have been coordinating the finishing on our end. It’s been a thrill working with the incomparable Marley Dias, founder of the #1000BlackGirlBooks campaign. She is a current ambassador for this new Read Across America rollout, and she appears to be a perfect fit.

Marley recorded several standup at Erica’s direction and I added some postproduction “magic” to the video. We’ve worked with Marley before and she is a true professional and absolutely passionate about this kind of work. It shows up in everything she does.

We had a chance to assist with a Zoom interview between Marly and the author of the children’s book, Tiara’s Hat Parade, Kelly Starling Lyons and the illustrator of that same book, Nicole Tadgell. This was blast to produce, edit and watch.

We were also fortunate to have the author do a read-aloud of the book. Kelly is a Pittsburgh native living in North Carolina these days. She is a prolific writer and most certainly knows her craft and does it at a high level. As I edited the read-aloud I fell in love with the story and the illustrations.

Look out for more to come from the Read Across America campaign as the NEA is looking at this as a year-round celebration. There’s a calendar to follow to see what’s out there in the world of books for young people of all ages.

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