By Tom Momberg
St. Mary’s Hospital for Children had a celebrity visit Monday to highlight Scholastic’s donation of 2,500 books to the hospital.
Scholastic publishes books geared toward children, and supports organizations and events that promote literacy among young people.
Celebrity entertainer and children’s author Nick Cannon, also a member of the hospital’s board of directors, read his newly-published book aloud to children of St. Mary’s, encouraging kids to take an interest.
Cannon’s book, “Neon Aliens Ate My Homework and Other Poems,” was published by Scholastic and was inspired in part by the celebrity’s experience with St. Mary’s kids.
“I get the chance to come here and hang out quite a bit, every time you guys inspire me and the result is sometimes I tend to write some poems that are really fun and heartfelt,” Cannon said.
During his visit to the hospital’s media and entertainment room, the “iHeart Radio Music Environment,” Cannon read some of his poems, took suggestions from kids to freestyle some rhymes and signed some books, of which every child got a copy.
Cannon’s book is mostly for children over the age of 7, and features black-and-white illustrations created by street artist Andrea con Bujdoss, or Queen Andrea. Cannon’s book idea was to combine his love of poetry and hip-hop, and to share that joy with children.
Blown up images of Bujdoss’ artwork were displayed in the media room, and children added color throughout the event, bringing smiles all around.
St. Mary’s Director and Chief Exectutive Officer Dr. Edwin Simpser presented everyone involved with plaques to commemorate the event, and thanked Cannon and Scholastic for the new books that will continue to bring color and smiles into the lives of St. Mary’s children.
“Nick, from the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for all you do for St. Mary’s and for these wonderful kids. It’s really fantastic. I got to read the book and these poems are great, inspiring,” Simpser said.
St. Mary’s Healthcare System for Children, 29-01 216th St., specializes in post-acute care for children with special healthcare needs, providing long-term care, intensive rehabilitation, specialized care and education for families in the New York metropolitan area.
Reach reporter Tom Momberg by e-mail at tmomb