Though its origins are unclear, April 9 marks International Unicorn Day, and author Kamilla Benko is determined to make sure that readers have a chance to celebrate from home. Benko, author of The Unicorn Quest: Fire in the Star (Bloomsbury, Feb), has developed a slate of activities for readers including readings by authors and illustrators along with tips for kids to throw their own unicorn party.
Like many authors around the country, Benko was planning to crisscross the nation visiting schools on tour for her book this spring, but her plans changed with the new coronavirus outbreak. “During the first couple of days of quarantine, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself, but I took a lot of comfort in seeing how others were creatively responding to social distancing,” Benko told PW. “I knew International Unicorn Day was just around the corner, and so I reached out to fellow authors. Because what’s better than one unicorn? A herd of unicorns! (Or technically, a blessing of unicorns!)”
The daylong celebration kicks off at 10 a.m. ET with a reading by The Unicorn Rescue Society #5 co-author Emma Otheguy. Seventeen authors and illustrators will follow, every half hour, until 8 p.m., including Liz Climo (You Don’t Want a Unicorn), Jessie Sima (Not Quite Narwahl), Brenda Li (I Turned My Mom into a Unicorn), and Adam Gidwitz (The Unicorn Rescue Society #1).
A website is the central hub for celebrating the day’s events, with a schedule of events, links for viewing author readings, teachers guides, and a page for purchasing books, which encourages readers to buy from independent bookstores.
“International Unicorn Day is about making an ordinary day extraordinary, for both kids and authors,” Benko said. “I hope we inspire them to create their own joy and magic, and I hope that their parents will find a handy guide to educational and fun unicorn activities. We might not be able to leave the house, but we can still find unicorns.”