..Lese Dunton..

Books & Kids

Talk Media president Ron Galotti and public relations director, Lisa Dallos, decided to bring their best-selling children's book, Artemis Fowl, into the public school classrooms and libraries.

This mission, in coordination with the School Chancellor, included author and celebrity visits to three schools, and the donation of the book to schools throughout the city.

The events went beyond just reading a fun excerpt from an exciting adventure story. The author of Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer, and each celebrity guest, shared their life experience and inspiration, and urged the young audience to discover their passion in life. The students responded with eager enthusiasm, careful listening, and lots of questions.

The first presentation was on the morning of June 18th, at Intermediate School 45, where Hip Hop music mogul, Russell Simmons (pictured left) joined the author in delighting the students. In the afternoon, New York Giants' running back, Tiki Barber, brought his charm and wisdom to Middle School 258. And the next day, Tracy Morgan from Saturday Night Live used humor to uplift the crowd at Public School 143.

The New Sun attended the event with Tiki Barber. It was a warm and sunny day, and the open windows in the auditorium added a gentle breeze to the words that were spoken.

Eoin Colfer, in his wonderful Irish accent, talked about his book and his background and then asked,

"Raise your hand if you have an idea of what you want to do in life? Is that all? Well, some of you need to start thinking. What you need to do is start working at it now. And you need to figure out: what are the things that stand in my way? You need to get rid of them. I mean get rid of them with your brain."

You could hear the students thinking.

Tiki Barber was introduced and spoke forth to attentive ears,

"You guys can do whatever you want to do in life. Every decision you make, at every crossroad, you're going to have to make choices. And it's not going to be easy. When you go out into the world and there's no one watching you and there's no one telling you what to do -- what are you going to do? That's the definition of character: it's what you do when no one is watching. That's what will happen when you go out into the world...You can be a writer, a football player, a doctor, whatever you want to do, as long as you make the right choices."

Eoin explained that sometimes, when you're doing whatever it is you want to do, it's lonely and it's hard and there's no glory. Nobody is coming up to you and telling you, "Ah, you're wonderful." So, you must pick something that you really like doing.

The kids were asked an intriguing question: "What's stopping you?"
A young man raised his hand and replied, "People are better than you."

Eoin said that when he was younger, there were other, better writers around, but they just gave up. Perseverance made all the difference. Tiki Barber added, "You look at me, I'm 5'9", 190 lbs. You look at a football player you want to see 6'2", 240 lbs. -- a big stallion. I'm not the biggest guy, I'm not the fastest guy, I'm definitely not the strongest guy. But I have the willpower. I never gave up...All that matters is your heart. You have what it takes to be better. Trust me, if you always believe and never give up, you'll outlast the other guy."

The number of raised hands increased, as the hour went by quickly. Questions ranged from inquiries about life decisions, motivations and struggles to whether the Giants would win the Superbowl.

At the end, the applause was loud and spirited, and students came forward to meet the speakers and receive signed books.

The New Sun spoke with Ron Galotti about this event series and how it all got started.

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