Louisville Zoo brings children’s book to life

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Louisville Zoo, in partnership with StageOne Family Theatre, is bringing the Zoo’s first-ever children’s book “The Truth About Zoos: Annie’s Awesome Adventures” to life during Annie’s Awesome Virtual Event.

Guests can participate live on the Zoo’s Facebook page (@Louisville Zoo) at 3:30 p.m. Dec. 11.

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Annie’s Awesome Virtual Event will be livestreamed from PNC’s Cub House at Snow Leopard Pass.

Viewers can expect to learn about small ambassador animals; take a fun video tour around the Zoo with Annie herself as the book comes to life; meet the book’s author, Louisville Zoo’s curator of education Kim Allgeier; and get creative in a doodle session with Annie and the book’s illustrator.

To celebrate the book, over 600 copies will be sent to early learning centers, elementary schools and every public library branch in Jefferson County, Ky.

Additionally, 500 books will be distributed to families who register on the My Big Little Adventure website.

The Zoo’s virtual event will be a featured activity for the My Big Little Adventure community, presented by PNC, which brings together six nonprofit organizations, including the Zoo and Stage One, who share an interest in reaching and teaching young children and their parents and caregivers.

“At a time when families are staying healthy at home and seeking creative ways to engage with each other and their favorite local attractions, we are excited to bring our first-ever children’s book to life with this event. We are especially thankful for our partners who are making this possible,” said Louisville Zoo Director John Walczak.

“Finding ways to encourage creativity and a thirst for learning in children is vital, especially at this moment,” said Chuck Denny, PNC regional president for Louisville. “A recent study from the National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) at the Rutgers Graduate School of Education, funded with support from the PNC Foundation, found that participation in preschool education for children aged three to five dropped from 61% prior to the pandemic to only 8% as COVID-19 cases began to rise. We are thrilled that this wonderful initiative is bringing hands-on learning to local families with children who are missing out on classroom education at this time.”

The book is the Zoo’s first-ever original children’s book.

Readers will meet Annie — a young detective, journalist, sleuth for the truth, and “uncoverer” of cover-ups, who puts the “gator” in investigator. Annie is suspicious by nature and prone to jumping to conclusions. This time, she is searching for the truth about zoos and creates a plan to visit the Louisville Zoo to conduct her research. She sees herself as part spy and part avenger and takes her mission very seriously to discover what zoos are really like.

Annie and her friend Marcus explore the Zoo, ask questions of staff, and learn what the animals and their caregivers do every day. They learn about animal diets, passages, training, enrichment, and healthcare. They soon discover the truth about zoos: they are excellent places where animals receive wonderful care and guests can connect with each other, nature, and animals.

“The Truth About Zoos” features illustrations of some of Louisville Zoo guests’ favorite exhibits such as Snow Leopard Pass, Islands and Glacier Run. The outcome of the Zoo’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in 2019, this book was set to launch in early 2020 and was made possible by generous Zoo supporters Annette Cox, White Clay and The Humana Foundation. It is written by the Zoo’s curator of education, Kim Allgeier, illustrated by J.L.R. Harrington, and published locally by Butler Books.

All proceeds from the sale of the book benefits the Louisville Zoo and all animals in its care.

The book is available at the Zoo’s Main Gift Shop and online at Shop.LouisvilleZoo.org