KidLit Cares for Houston
For the past week I’ve watched the news of Hurricane Harvey, which inundated my childhood home of Houston with more than 50 inches of rain. My neighborhood in elementary school, Linkwood, was reportedly under water for days, as was neighboring Meyerland, then the home of most of Houston’s Jewish community. I thought my mother would be safe on the 15th floor of her high-rise building, but the parking garage flooded, taking with it the building’s electrical circuitry and generators (a lesson many building owners in New York learned after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 and moved them to the roof in the years since). She had to abandon her home and walk down the stairs for my brother to drive her along a circuitous route of non-flooded back roads to their house, which barely avoided being flooded as well. Water from Buffalo Bayou climbed to their back yard, but no further.
At this point, about a tenth of Houston’s structures have water damage. This includes homes, apartment buildings, schools, libraries and other community institutions, and businesses. Various organizations have begun to collect money to help those affected clean up and rebuild.
Among the valuable fundraising initiatives is KidLit Cares, started by author Kate Messner to help communities affected by natural disasters. Long a leader in the children’s literature community, Messner has pulled together authors, illustrators, agents, and editors to offer a wide variety of items and services in an online auction to raise money for Houston and other places in Texas impacted by Hurricane Harvey. Currently, there are about 200 auction items. Manuscript critiques from dozens of authors, editors, and agents can help writers jumpstart a project or figure out why something isn’t working, with ideas for moving forward. If you’re a writer looking for an agent, one of these critiques may lead to a valuable connection. So bid!
If you’re a teacher, dozens of authors are offering signed copies of their books and Skype visits with your students. For published authors, there are people offering marketing advice and teachers guides to the highest bidder. Check them out!
For those who appreciate artwork of various kinds, illustrators are offering prints or original artwork from their books. There are other unusual pieces from kidlit artists, including one of my famous Lego Tiny Houses that I built and showed at a couple of BrickFestLive events last year. The one I’m auctioning off to help my peeps in Houston is my favorite of the Tiny Houses, a pink and charcoal-gray beauty with wheels to move from place to place, an adorable front porch, window flowerboxes, and a loft with a ladder. The roof may be easily removed for adding furniture and indoor play. And a minifigure from Little Brick Township will travel to you with the house.
The auction ends on September 6, 2017, so get your bids in soon! The highest bidders for each item have a choice of one of two organizations for their donations: the American Red Cross and Global Giving. I hope you will take part in the KidLit Cares auction and win a great prize for yourself while helping people in need.