We are thrilled to announce the winner of Reach Out and Read of Greater New York’s Mills Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy — Susie Jaramillo, the president and chief creative officer of Encantos Media.
The Mills Tannenbaum Award for Children’s Literacy is given annually since 2013 to a children’s book author or illustrator who is dedicated to promoting a lifelong love of reading in young children. This year, we wanted to recognize someone who embodies the importance of diversity and inclusion in children’s literature.
The award was created in honor of Gary Tannenbaum and Helen Mills, who are long-time advocates of children’s literacy in New York and dedicated supporters of the Reach Out and Read of Greater New York early literacy program.
“It’s so important that all children have access to high-quality books that excite their imaginations and expand their horizons,” the award founders said.
As a proud Venezuelan-American mother of two children, Jaramillo is dedicated to telling the stories of cultures that are not represented through technology, entertainment, advertisement, media, and marketing. Her commitment to women and diversity initiatives and creative and design education, has led her to obtain her B.A. in communication design with a focus on painting & illustration from the Pratt Institute.
In 2015, she co-founded Encantos Media as a public benefit corporation. Encantos Media is an award-winning company that believes kids learn literacy and life skills best through play.
“We founded Encantos to help kids learn, the way they learn best: through characters and stories that inspire them. Our Tiny Travelers books inspire kids to be citizens of the world, our Canticos books help children learn Spanish through culture and our Skeletina brand helps kids conquer their fears and anxiety. We feel so proud that our stories have purpose and heart and rhythm, reflecting the beautiful diversity of our world,” says Susie Jaramillo.
“Our school systems are stuck in the last century, focused on one-size fits all curriculum and testing – kids are yearning to be inspired. Entertainment makes deep connections with kids- they want to live in Arendale, they want to go to Hogwarts – but education remains rote, boring, one note,” according to Encantos Media.
In order to teach children 21st century skills, Encantos Media provides digital and physical product subscriptions such as apps, animated series, books, puzzles, and games that inspire kids to learn about the world through diverse entertainment, centric play-based education, and kid-friendly technology.
Encantos Media houses three other brands: Canticos, Skeletitos, and Tiny Travelers. Canticos, Encantos Media’s first brand and Emmy-nominated Latino-inspired bilingual nursery rhyme series, was created and launched by Jaramillo in 2016. The series airs on Nick Jr.
Canticos’ innovative apps, books and sing-along videos have garnered such success that the brand received widespread industry accolades and awards from Common Sense Media, Kidscreen, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, The New York Times and School Library Journal.
Skeletitos celebrates and teaches children about the Day of the Dead with beautiful Mexican calavera art from Jose Guadalupe Posada and illustrations by Jaramillo. They provide children with comedic Day of the Dead themed tales, coloring sheets, Skeletitos masks, crafts and activities.
Tiny Travelers inspires children to be curious about the world’s diverse geography, languages and cultures through books, puzzles and games.
Jaramillo and her work are a shining example of diversity and inclusion in children’s literature. We are especially excited to add the Canticos series for babies and toddlers and Tiny Travelers’ books for preschoolers to Reach Out and Read of Greater New York’s library of books.
For more information about the event, and to register, visit www.reachoutandreadnyc.org/events