The Keystone State Literacy Association Northeast PA (KSLA Northeast PA) recently sponsored two highly successful events, Reading Time at the Marketplace in Scranton and the Young Authors/Illustrators Day at Keystone College.

Celebrity readers, entertaining characters, and a free book to take home were provided for kids and their families during the recent Reading Time at the Marketplace. The free event for children of all ages provided the opportunity to enjoy listening to TV and radio celebrity readers, children’s authors, and community personalities as they read their favorite children’s book to groups. Every child who listened to a story received a free book and his/her name was part of a special drawing by the reader for additional book prizes.

The association appreciates the donations by Price Waterhouse Coopers Charitable Foundation and the Walmart Foundation through Sam’s Club Dickson City which made the purchase of 500 books for distribution at this event and upcoming events possible.

Over thirty baskets were a part of the basket raffle. Money raised by KSLA Northeast PA is used to distribute free books to children, sponsor Babies and Books, present Young Authors’ and Illustrators Day as well as to present professional development sessions for teachers throughout the year.

The second event, the Young Authors/Illustrators Day held at Keystone College provided the opportunity for 139 students in grades 3-12 to attend interactive presentations by John Kascht, Dianne Salerni and Lee Harper. Time was available for all three presenters to autograph books. Students who participated represented Abington Heights, Carbondale Area, Lackawanna Trail, Mountain View, Blue Ridge and Riverside School Districts.

All who attended heard the keynote speaker caricature artist, John Kascht, who has been described as “a keen observer of human nature who forces us to see our public figures with new eyes” by The Smithsonian, owner of two dozen of his drawings and paintings. His drawings have appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Time and Newsweek to name a few, as well as on book covers, billboards and Broadway marquees. What an opportunity this was for students to meet him and to hear him speak! Students in grades 6-12 had an additional forty-five minutes with him in a smaller breakout session.

Following the inspiring keynote presentation, students in grades 3-5 met Lee Harper, author and illustrator from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, best known for his whimsical illustrations in his best-selling Turkey Trouble series as well as his Woolbur series. Those students participated in his process of creating illustrations with time for questions.

Students in grades 6-12 attended a breakout session by author Dianne Salerni, author of the popular Eighth Day children’s fantasy series described as “an exciting blend of Arthurian legend and organized crime.” The former elementary school teacher now commits full time to research for writing and presentations to students.

KSLA Northeast PA, formerly known as the Northeastern Pennsylvania Reading Association (NPRA), is still the same active organization offering a variety of educational opportunities which include programs, professional development hours and events for teachers, children and the community. The association is a professional organization dedicated to improving and promoting literacy serving over thirty school districts, colleges, universities, libraries and child care providers in Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

Through some restructuring and procedural changes, the Keystone State Literacy Association (KSLA) has been reviewing its organization, how it operates, and how the local chapters fit in. During this process, an attractive new logo was designed, new financial procedures were established and general information updated to standardize chapters across the state. Thus the new name KSLA Northeast PA.

NPRA not only has a new name, but also a new location at the Marketplace for programs and board meetings. In the location just to the left of Library Express on the second floor of the mall partnered with Scranton Education Improvement Organization (SEIO) in the store marked STORIES. Watch for other programs and services at this location.