The Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund, Inc. (501 c 3) sustains the literacy efforts of the Hudson City School District which includes the city of Hudson, and the towns of Claverack, Livingston, Greenport, Ghent, Stockport and Taghkanic, through our support of The Hudson Children’s Book Festival, the largest children’s book festival in New York State. We understand that reading is a gateway skill. Literate people can get jobs, learn advanced skills, and fully participate in civic and cultural life.
Those who are not proficient readers are excluded from these elements of a happy, stable and productive life. Better yet, when children go beyond basic proficiency to acquire a love for reading they acquire enormous benefits including the ability to become lifelong readers – which is essential in our rapidly changing 21st century society.
In order to promote literacy and the love of reading in our community – to connect kids to books, and to put books into the hands of every child in the Hudson City School District – the Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund raises money to fund such activities.
One day, following a mentoring session, Chris Jones and Susan Simon got into a conversation with Lisa Dolan, the founder of not only Hudson Reads power lunch program, but also of the Hudson Children’s Book Festival. Lisa told them that some of the criticism aimed at the wildly successful program was that children who should attend the festival didn’t participate because they couldn’t afford to buy a book from the author of their choice. For this reason critics deemed the festival elitist.
It took just a nod and mutual recognition of the situation for Chris and Susan to say, simultaneously, “Let’s have a fundraiser.” And so they did. The first cocktail party, fundraiser took place at Chris’ former restaurant, The Red Barn, where enough money was raised to give every child who wanted to buy a book a “good for” to do so – with a bit of money left over to award a small gift of money to a graduating senior to use to buy books during their freshman year of college.
The second year the party was hosted by Carrie and Nick Haddad in their spacious Hudson home where again enough money was raised to give every child who wanted to buy a book a “good for” and in addition larger amount of money for books was given to two graduating, college-bound students.
For the past two years, Colin Stair has graciously made his Warren Street Stair Gallery available to the Literacy Fund for their fundraiser. Once again eligible children received “good fors” and the ante was further upped for graduating, college-bound students. In 2016, we added a book award in the name of the retiring founder of the mentor program and the book festival, Lisa Dolan.
With the money that we continue to raise, we’ve been able to begin new programs like the Thumbs Up Award, and the creation of a Young Writer’s Award for junior and senior high school students. In the end, proving once again that necessity is the mother of invention, The Hudson Children’s Book Festival Literacy Fund was born.