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200 Kids and Families From Across NYC Join Success Academy Summer Reading Kick-Off Celebration


Contact: Anne Michaud, 914-712-8693 [email protected]org

Anna Miroff, 646-650-5201 [email protected]


“Read-a-Palooza” was “one big circus of literature,” inspiring young readers with a visit by bestselling children’s author Kwame Alexander, popcorn, sparkly hats, and newly-minted public library patrons.

New York, NY — 200 kids and families from across New York City revved up for a summer of reading on Thursday, June 28 at Read-A-Palooza, hosted by The Robertson Center, Success Academy’s Hudson Yards training facility and lab school.

“It was wild and raucous and full of energy and all the things that books should be about for kids,” said award-winning author Kwame Alexander. “It’s about bringing the words off the page and putting them on the stage. It was one big circus of literature.”

The event attracted kids ages 2 to 16. Some lined up for a photo booth, where they could don boas and sparkly hats, and take a picture with signs that read, “My summer’s all booked!” or “Reading keeps me bright!” Others chose from stacks of books and settled onto carpets to read.

Mr. Alexander gave away and signed copies of his novels The Crossover and Surf’s Up. He enthralled the room with a reading that swung between spoken word recitation, call-and-response, and spontaneous musical numbers with his back-up guitarist. His exuberance was infectious as he recounted how his parents made him read every day -- he had no TV in the house -- and how his love of reading inspired him to become a writer and a poet.

One attendee, Mariama Barry, traveled an hour from the Bronx. “When I got the invitation, it sounded interesting for my kids,” she said. “They love reading. They were worried it might be boring, but they loved it!” She pointed to her son, whose nose was now buried in a copy of The Crossover that Mr. Alexander had just signed for him.

Rebecca O’Neill, executive director of the Robertson Center, said she was inspired to see so many people come together. “We have talented artists, authors, educators, kids, and parents,” she said. “Everyone’s here just because they love books and know how powerful they are.”

Noelle Santos, founder of the bookstore/wine bar Lit. Bar in the Bronx, supplied copies of Mr. Alexander’s books and coordinated the book signing. Michele Caracappa, Success’ Chief Academic Officer, offered a peek behind the curricular curtain. Read-a-Palooza also marked the release of Success Academy’s middle school literacy curriculum and first-ever e-courses for educators at the Ed Institute, and kicked off a robust calendar of public programs at The Robertson Center aimed at advancing educational excellence.

Read-A-Palooza celebrated what’s possible when schools, parents, and educators come together to help kids fall in love with books.


ABOUT SUCCESS ACADEMY CHARTER SCHOOLS Founded in 2006, Success Academy Charter Schools are free public K-12 schools open to all children in the state through a random lottery. With 46 schools across Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens, Success Academy enrolls more than 15,000 students, primarily low-income children of color in disadvantaged neighborhoods: 74% of students receive free or reduced-price lunch, 94% are children of color, 16% are children with disabilities, and 8% are English language learners. Ranked in the top 0.3% in math and the top 1.4% in English on 2017 state proficiency tests, Success Academy schools received more than 17,700 applications for 3,288 open seats this year.

For more information about Success Academy, go to and

Families attend Read-a-Palooza at Success Academy’s Robertson Center in Hudson Yards, Manhattan, June 28, 2018.

Bestselling children’s author Kwame Alexander, revs up kids’ excitement for reading books during the summer break from school. At Success Academy’s Robertson Center, Hudson Yards, Manhattan, June 28, 2018.

Kids and families get copies of The Crossover and Surf’s Up signed by author Kwame Alexander. At Success Academy’s Robertson Center in Hudson Yards, Manhattan, on June 28, 2018.

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