Emerald City Theatre Partners with Author Mary Pope Osborne, Literacy Organizations to Offer Performance and Gift of “Magic Tree House” Books to 30,000 Chicago Public School Second Graders

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In a remarkable effort to support the improved reading skills of Chicago Public Schools (CPS) elementary students, Emerald City Theatre has joined forces with Mary Pope Osborne – author of the award-winning Magic Tree House book series, Random House Children’s Books, KPMG – Family for Literacy, and Chicago Public Library to provide an opportunity for all 30,000 second grade CPS students to receive free Magic Tree House books, a free theater performance of Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans, and enrollment in Chicago Public Library’s summer reading program, Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge.

On Friday, March 18, 2016 at 10:15 am, Emerald City Theatre’s preview performance of the hit family jazz musical, Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans, will be performed live at Broadway in Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut). Funded by Emerald City Theatre’s One Fund, its signature outreach initiative that provides free arts education programs to low-income schools, 500 One Fund-winning students will be in attendance, and every second grade CPS classroom will have the opportunity to watch the performance through a live stream event.
Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans features Louis Armstrong as a youth in 1915 New Orleans and is based on Mary Pope Osborne’s best-selling book, Magic Tree House #42: A Good Night for Ghosts. The script and lyrics were written by playwright Will Osborne with music and additional lyrics written by the late legendary composer Allen Toussaint. Both Mary Pope Osborne and Will Osborne will be in attendance at the opening weekend. The production will run for four weeks, March 19 through April 10.
“We are thrilled to partner with Emerald City Theatre, Random House Children’s Books and KPMG to get thousands of books directly into the hands of teachers and children in Chicago Public Schools. What a great way to inspire young readers to read and learn about theatre and jazz music in the process,” said author Mary Pope Osborne.
The Toussaint family also commented: “The musical work heard throughout the production is one of the last projects Allen Toussaint, our father, worked on. This project brought immense joy and pride to our beloved father to create the music to this wonderful story that will educate children about jazz music, it’s history and the great ambassador Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong for years to come.”
In relation to Emerald City Theatre’s production of Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans, a significant book donation led by Mary Pope Osborne through her Classroom Adventures Gift of Books Program, along with Random House Children’s Books, and KPMG – Family for Literacy will be delivered to CPS second grade students in early spring. Teachers can complete an online formby March 1, 2016 to have the books sent directly to their school.
Osborne has additionally donated approximately 2,000 books to CPS students who attended Emerald City Theatre’s run of Magic Tree House: A Night in New Orleans at the Apollo Theater last fall. Osborne will donate 3,000 more Magic Tree House books to be distributed at 30 Chicago Public Library branches during its summer reading program, Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge. Emerald City Theatre teaching artists will join this program by leading a traveling theater workshop as beloved Magic Tree House characters, Jack and Annie.
About Mary Pope Osborne:
Mary Pope Osborne is an ardent advocate and supporter of children’s literacy, and the award-winning author of more than 100 books for children and young adults, including novels, retellings of mythology and folklore, picture books, biographies, and mysteries. From 1993 to 1997, Ms. Osborne served as president of the Authors Guild, the country’s leading organization for published authors. She has traveled extensively in the U.S. and abroad, visiting schools and speaking on issues related to children’s literacy. She recently spoke at the United Nations regarding the importance of worldwide literacy and was profiled on NBC’s Rock Center with Brian Williams for her continued efforts. Mary’s personal contributions have put hundreds of thousands of books in the hands of underserved children. She resides in Connecticut. Follow Mary on Twitter.
About the Magic Tree House Series:
Widely regarded among parents, teachers, and librarians for its power to instill a passion for reading, Mary Pope Osborne’s award-winning Magic Tree Houseseries is an international phenomenon that has sold over 130 million books worldwide since its debut in 1992, and has been translated into 35 different languages in over 30 international markets. All Magic Tree House books (book #55 is due out in the summer of 2016) are available in print, as e-books, and asListening Library audio books, which are all narrated by Mary Pope Osborne.The Magic Tree House Fact Trackers is a best-selling series of non-fiction books that expand on the Magic Tree House fiction books. Mary Pope Osborne’s sister, Natalie Pope Boyce, is the author of over thirty Fact Trackers.

Visit MagicTreeHouse.com and Magic Tree House’s Facebook for more information about the series, activities, and more.
About Mary Pope Osborne’s Classroom Adventures Program:

Mary Pope Osborne’s Classroom Adventures Program is Mary’s gift to teachers who have supported her over the years. The program includes free online resources for the Magic Tree House fiction and non-fiction Fact Trackers as well as an opportunity for Title 1 educators to be awarded a Gift of Books. Through this program Mary and Will have donated hundreds of thousands of books to under-served children across the country.
Visit MTHClassroomAdventures.org for more information.
About Random House Children’s Books:

Random House Children’s Books is the world’s largest English-language children’s trade book publisher. Creating books for toddlers through young adult readers, in all formats from board books to activity books to picture books, novels, e-books, and apps, the imprints of Random House Children’s Books bring together award-winning authors and illustrators, world-famous franchise characters, and multi-million copy series. RandomHouseKids.com offers an array of activities, games, and resources for children, teens, parents, and educators. Random House Children’s Books is a division of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
About Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge at Chicago Public Library:

Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge is a free, summer-long learning program designed to keep children and teens engaged in learning over the summer break and work to prevent the “summer slide,” a documented loss of academic knowledge and skills in children who do not take part in such summer activities. Rahm’s Readers Summer Learning Challenge provides activities and opportunities for kids to grow and learn; fun programs are held throughout the challenge with the Chicago Public Library’s partner agencies as a part of Chicago City of Learning initiative.
About KPMG’s Family for Literacy:

KPMG is focused on serving children at every stage of their academic career through our corporate citizenship programs. Knowing that strong reading skills are the basis for future success, and understanding that the toughest roadblock to children’s literacy in low-income communities is a lack of books, in 2008 KPMG established KPMG’s Family for Literacy (KFFL) to combat childhood illiteracy. Managed in collaboration with First Book, KFFL provides new books to children from low income families.
About Emerald City Theatre:

Founded in 1996, Emerald City Theatre is one of Chicago’s most attended non-profit theatres with an annual programming reach of 80,000 children and their grown-ups.

Through a rigorous collaboration between innovating artists and leading educators, Emerald City Theatre is a national leader in developing new work for young audiences, having created over 30 world premieres and worked with best-selling children’s authors such as Mo Willems, Jon Scieszka, and Laura Numeroff, as well as Grammy-nominated children’s musician Justin Roberts. The company creates performances for all ages, including babies and toddlers, at their performance locations: the Apollo Theater in Lincoln Park, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, and Emerald City’s Little Theatre in Lakeview.

Emerald City Theatre is also home to Chicago’s most enrolled theatre camps and classes, serving ages three through thirteen with a focus on teaching important life skills through arts education. Camps and classes take place year-round with locations in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Lincoln Square.

Emerald City Theatre is the proud recipient of the 2012 Excellence in Arts and Culture Award from Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce.

Emerald City’s lead funders include Amita Health, McArthur Fund for the Arts and Culture at Prince, Illinois Arts Council, The Land of Nod, KPMG, and iHeartMedia Chicago.

For more information, visit EmeraldCityTheatre.com.