BLACK HILLS, S.D. – On Jan. 31, over 1500 first graders across the Black Hills will be given a new children’s book, Porter the Hoarder and the Ransacked Room, written by Sean Covel (producer of movies including the iconic independent film, Napoleon Dynamite) and illustrated by Rebecca Swift (artist/singer/songwriter who appeared on American Idol).
Both Covel & Swift are proud South Dakotans and wanted their new creative adventure to launch in their home state.
“It’s so exciting to be able to launch our book series back home before it publishes nationwide!” said writer Sean Covel.
“As a mom of three I’ve read every kid’s book under the sun,” said illustrator Rebecca Swift. “With Porter we set out to create something fun for both parents and kids. We never imagined it would be part of a massive reading project in our home state. I’m blown away.”
Porter the Hoarder is a series of look-and-find books. The series follows the emotional rollercoaster of a snappy little girl named Porter. In book one of the series, Porter and Hoarder and the Ransacked Room, Porter must clean her room with the help of the reader and decide what stays and what gets thrown away. Porter has very strong opinions about both outcomes.
A kick-off event is planned for Jan. 31 at Spearfish West Elementary School with over 150 students and parents planned to be in attendance. The event will include a reading of the book by Covel and Swift and each student will receive a copy of the book.
After the event, the creators plan on visiting every classroom to autograph the books for the kids.
“This is a fantastic event, and one of the most exciting literacy-promoting events we’ve held in our school system,” states Nick Gottlob, Principal of Spearfish Elementary Schools. “By giving every one of our first graders their own book, having the creators involved in the event, and inviting parents to be in attendance, we spark the desire to read in both students and adults. This is incredibly important for a child’s development. We are excited to be the launchpad for the Porter Reading Project.”
At the same time of the kick-off event in Spearfish, 25 other area schools will be gifting their students a copy of the book as part of the Black Hills Reads, an initiative program under the umbrella of United Way of the Black Hills, parent engagement program.
“One of the primary goals of Black Hills Reads is to deeply involve parents in their child’s learning and get them excited about reading together,” notes Kayla Klein, Director of Black Hills Reads. “We have created a program around the Porter the Hoarder book that does exactly that.”
Two more author speaking events are planned. Friday, Feb. 1 at Rapid City Central High School Theatre and Saturday, Feb. 2 at Books A Million in Rapid City from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.