On July 5, 2000, I gave my 10 year-0ld daughter, Claire, “just one last hug,” before she skipped off with newfound friends at camp.
Little did I realize it would be my last hug from Claire, ever.
Claire died of a combination of a misdiagnosed heart condition and lack of care at the camp.
Our little reader was gone.
My husband, Brad, and I felt compelled to not only honor Claire in a way that was true to her, but to honor our relationships with each other and our daughter, Kyle, and son Ian.
I’m happy to share that we’ve accomplished both goals, and then some.
We established Claire’s Day, a children’s book festival, in Claire’s honor.
At the 2nd annual Claire’s Day, May 2003.
Yes, you read that right. Claire’s Day isn’t just a day anymore. We impact over 25,000 children and their families through our programs, including our school visit outreach program. In the past, over 40 schools have partnered with us, hosting our guest authors and illustrators as they share their magic with their students.
One of the highlights of the festivities is our C.A.R.E. Awards program. Teachers from throughout the greater Toledo area nominate children from their classes who are the most improved readers. Each child selected receives a personalized certificate and a coupon to choose their very own book at the festival, and then have it personally signed by our guest writers and artists.
We have recognized over 10,000 children over the years. 10,000 children who typically do not receive academic accolades have been lifted through the experience.
A proud family of one of our C.A.R.E. Award recipients!
Claire’s Day features prolific, traditionally published children’s book authors and illustrators from throughout the Midwest.
Our 20th year features some fantastic authors and illustrators in our lineup. For the full listing for each festival, click here.
and Louise Borden.
When I gave that last hug to Claire, I could not have even imagined what my life looked like moving forward. We have been incredibly blessed to have our family, friends, an entire community lift us up through our grief journey. We are blessed by amazing relationships as a family, a tribute to Claire as well.
At the Jefferson Awards in Washington, D.C., being honored for our work through Claire’s Day.
We hope that you can join us for this significant celebration of our little reader gone too soon. We hope you can join us as we celebrate young readers. We hope you can join us as we Celebrate Life, Authors, Illustrators, and Reading Excellence.
We hope you can join us for Claire’s Day.