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Virtual Birthday Parties for Kids Introduced to Help Children Weather the Pandemic

Celebrated Kids TV Writers and Book Authors Launch Personalized Experiences for Children and Families Separated Due to COVID-19 

Toronto, April 9, 2020: When the authors of I Got You A Present! (Kids Can Press, April 7, 2020), a new kids book about birthdays realized that families were going to have to physically distance and isolate themselves for a long time,  their hearts broke for all the kids who would have to go without birthday parties. So they decided to use their book, tv and performance experience to create virtual birthday parties for kids as a way of creating a special memory in a very dark time.   

Regional Emmy Award-winning Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan see the kids’ virtual birthday parties as a highly personalized version of the fun experiences they have worked so hard to deliver through their TV (PBS, CBC, Disney) and other creative projects. I Got You a Present! follows Duckie, who adores you, and is on the quest to find you the best birthday present ever given to anyone in the history of humanity (and ducks)! But nothing goes right and each gift leads to a failure, which leads to an even bigger failure — but ultimately, to an all-important conclusion.  

“Kids look forward to their birthday all year, and most won’t really understand why they can’t spend it with their friends or doing all the things that they associate with their special day,” said Susan McLennan, one half of the husband and wife Toronto-based creative team. “While our book is ostensibly about birthdays, it’s really about resilience and friendship, and those will be critical in getting us out the other side of this pandemic.”

Virtual birthday parties for kids packages start at $199 and include a copy of I Got You A Present! for the birthday child. The couple will donate one party a day to a family that has been particularly hard hit by this pandemic; they are looking for a sponsor who could help more children whose families have been particularly hard hit by COVID-19 have a great virtual birthday party.  The virtual birthday parties for kids, like the book and their TV projects, are all anchored in the couple’s philosophy of helping kids live in a F.I.E.R.C.E world, one filled with Fun, Integrity, Empathy/Respect, Resilience, Creativity, and Exploration. 

“If there’s one thing the creative community understands, it’s resilience. We know what it’s like to try, and fail, and try again, and fail again, and then try and well, you get the idea,” said Mike Erskine-Kellie. “In fact, I still have the rejection letter Kids Can Press sent me decades ago, and I vowed then that one day I would work with them, and here we are!”  

Written by the Regional Emmy Award-winning Mike Eskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan, I Got You A Present! Is published by Kids Can Press and illustrated by Cale Atkinson, an illustrator who has worked with Disney Hyperion, Tundra, Simon and Schuster, Marvel and others. Planet Birthday Party brings birthday kids together with their friends to celebrate via a highly personalized, story-driven adventure that they will remember for years to come. 

I Got You a Present!

Written by Mike Erskine-Kellie and Susan McLennan

Illustrated by Cale Atkinson

Ages: 3 – 8 / Grades: PreSchool – 3         

8” x 11”/ 32 pages / © 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0009-7 HCJ

$18.99 CAN / $16.99 US

Publication Date: April 7, 2020

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