Polar Express Promo Coming Down the Track!

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Chris Van Allsburg's Caldecott Medal-winning The Polar Express (Houghton Mifflin) will come to the big screen this November 10 in an animated adaptation from Warner Bros., starring Tom Hanks. And now booksellers have a special opportunity to take advantage of the huge amount of publicity the film release is expected to generate by participating in a national marketing campaign developed by Houghton Mifflin and Book Sense. The Polar Express Ride for Reading, a promotion developed exclusively for independent bookstores with Book Sense, offers booksellers two opportunities: a fundraising effort to support children's literacy and a Polar Express event or party. Stores that have traditionally held Polar Express events during the holiday season are encouraged to use this promotion to enhance their activities.

Materials for the Polar Express Ride for Reading, including a party kit, are being sent to stores with Book Sense in the September Red Box. Included are a poster to announce the fundraising effort and party; 200 boxcars for donors to post on the bookstore's walls; a CD of The Polar Express, read by Liam Neeson; and lots of event ideas and materials.

The beneficiary of the fundraising effort, chosen by Houghton Mifflin and Book Sense, is First Book, a national nonprofit group whose mission is to give children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first book. Booksellers may also choose to raise money for a different literacy group of their choice.

Donations will be collected for a period that each individual store will set, but it is suggested that the fundraising effort culminate with a party that takes places sometime between October 15 and November 10.

One participating Book Sense store will receive a Polar Express Prize Package put together by Houghton Mifflin, which includes movie passes, a signed Chris Van Allsburg library, and a signed movie poster. Details and an entry form can be found in Polar Express folder in the Red Box.

From October 23 through December 14, Van Allsburg will be on tour to bookstores, colleges, and libraries across the country. In addition, from November 21 through March 13, there will be a Chris Van Allsburg Retrospective at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Massachusetts, and an exhibit at the Dallas Museum of Art from October 24 through February 27. For the complete Polar Express Tour Schedule, click here.