Julie Bowen, J.J. Abrams and Henry Winkler were among the celebrities who read children’s books to the lucky little ones attending Sunday’s sixth annual Milk + Bookies story time celebration held at L.A.’s Skirball Cultural Center.
The festive, philanthropic event marked the 10th anniversary of Milk + Bookies, a nationwide organization that promotes service learning and literacy in underserved youth. Highlights of the event included a bevy of book-inspired arts and crafts activities, costumed literary characters milling about and entertaining guests (Thing 1 and Thing 2 of Dr. Seuss fame could be found giving pint-sized tots piggy backs) and a giant room filled with books that kids could inscribe with their name and then donate to children who don’t have the money to access their own books.
Naturally, a healthy boxed lunch was topped off with a selection of cookies and cups of delectable McConnell’s ice cream.
For Marla Sokoloff-Puro, who attended the event with toddler daughter, Elliotte, being able to show her children (new baby Olive stayed home) the importance of giving is one of the reasons she became involved with Milk + Bookies.
“I can teach (Elliotte) how important it is to get books for kids who aren’t as fortunate as she is, and that’s a really great lesson to learn,” said “The Fosters” and “Grey’s Anatomy” actress, who volunteers with Milk + Bookies’ event committee. “(When I was pregnant) I didn’t have an official baby shower, but I had a luncheon with girlfriends and instead of gifts I encouraged everybody to donate a book for Milk + Bookies, which was awesome because now my second daughter, Olive, has a little library that everybody who loves and supports her donated.”
Winkler — whose legendary theatrical career includes his iconic turn in the 1970’s as The Fonz on “Happy Days” and “Laverne and Shirley” as well as more recent roles on “Arrested Development,” “Parks and Recreation” and Adult Swim’s “Children’s Hospital” — spoke proudly of his bestselling “Here’s Hank” children’s book series, aimed at helping kids with learning differences.
“They are for second graders, brand new readers, and they use a font that has never been used before in America that makes tracking the words much easier,” says Winkler of the series. “Then there are third, fourth and fifth grade novels called ‘Hank Zipzer’ and they’re the story of my life as a learning challenged fellow. They happen to be about a kid who has trouble learning, which happens to be one out of five children, but they are not self-help. They are only comedies.”
Other notables at the event included “Jessie” star Karan Brar, a very pregnant Tiffani Thiessen and Dan Bucatinsky.
(Pictured: Julie Bowen and sons; J.J. Abrams and Puss in Boots)