In honor of World Autism Awareness Day and Autism Awareness Month, Barnes & Noble has partnered with Autism Speaks to host special Storytimes at over 500 stores throughout the US. To kick off the promotion, stores in New York, Los Angeles, San Jose, Dallas and Chicago hosted celebrity book readings. In New York, actress Kim Raver (Nico Reilly on “Lipstick Jungle”; Audrey Raines on
Kim Raver reads from "Since We're Friends"
“24") appeared at the Lincoln Triangle Barnes & Noble in New York City. Raver read the book, “Since We're Friends: An Autism Picture Book,” by Celeste Shally and David Harrington to a crowd of children with autism, their friends and family.
Barnes & Noble Community Relations Manager, Jennifer Stark, introduced Raver and welcomed the crowd to the reading. Raver remarked on the importance of the event, saying, “The best thing that we can all do is to have more awareness. That will help people to better understand autism.”
View highlights from Barnes & Noble Storytime in New York
YouTube Video ~ 2 minutes
Glenn Kaplan, Creative Director for Barnes & Noble and a parent of a child with autism, helped to organize the national promotion. “At Barnes & Noble we do important work,” said Kaplan. “This month of autism awareness events really proves that point.”
Tony Award winning actor and singer Ben Vereen, Actress Maria Menounos host of “Access Hollywood” and children from The Miracle Project read to children with autism and their families and friends at “The Grove” Barnes & Noble in Los Angeles. Ema Moges attended the reading with her ten-year-old son, Dawit Ayalew, who has autism. “I'm here because my son has autism and I wanted to show support for the cause and for this event.”
View highlights with Ben Vereen and Maria Menounos
YouTube Video ~ 2 minutes
In the Pruneyard Center Barnes & Noble in Campbell, Calif., over 125 people attended a reading with Joey Travolta. Joey, a successful actor, director, and producer, started the critically acclaimed acting school, Actors for Autism. Christine Leony, mother of a child with autism, thanked Autism Speaks and Barnes & Noble for “bringing hope to families dealing with this disorder daily,” and for carving out a place in the community for children and adults with autism.
Jesse Plemons, actor from the critically-acclaimed NBC TV series Friday Night Lights, spent his birthday reading to families, friends, and fans at the Barnes & Noble in Frisco, Texas in honor of World Autism Awareness Day. Barnes & Noble Community Relations Manager Lisa Bethea surprised Plemons
with a birthday cake and pledged to have more autism awareness events in the future. Kindergarten teacher Beck Hydrick attended the event with her two school-age children, remarking, “this is the kind of communication that we need in our classrooms. We need to reach the classmates and friends of those affected by autism – and the younger the better.”
In honor of World Autism Awareness Day, a crowd of children and parents gathered to hear Miss Illinois Teen USA, Nora Downs, read at the Let's Be Friends Storytime at Barnes & Noble in Chicago, Ill.
Throughout the month of April, over 500 Barnes & Noble bookstores will host autism Storytime events to encourage compassion and respect for individuals with autism and other disabilities. To find a Barnes & Noble Storytime event near you, click here.