March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Author Kate Messner Launches All-Star “Kid Lit” Auction for Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort

Stepping up quickly to serve victims of Hurricane Sandy, award-winning children’s author Kate Messner has launched KitLit Cares: Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort, an online auction featuring donations from the children’s literature community to benefit the Red Cross.

Since Messner first reached out online to authors, agents, editors, and illustrators, “The outpouring has been nothing short of amazing,” she says.

Kate Messner

Kate Messner

“Situations like this let us see social media at its best and most kindhearted,” adds Messner, who solicited auction donations through Twitter (@KateMessner, #KidLitCares) and Facebook. “For three days I’ve been doing nothing but answering email and adding auction items” to the auction site.

Messner, the author of The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z. (Walker, 2009), knows how effective such fundraising efforts can be. After Hurricane Irene destroyed the children’s section of her local library in upstate New York, she organized a similar drive. As a result of her efforts, that library’s youth services collection is now stronger than it was before Irene.

As for KidLit Cares, Messner says, “To be honest, it seemed like something that somebody should do. I don’t have a book deadline this week.”

According to Messner’s instructions, the top bidders must make a payment in the amount of their winning bids directly to the Red Cross at the auction’s close. Ending times for auctions of the first 42 items are staggered, with bidding ending November 13 at 10 pm.

The next 40 items will begin posting online November 12, says Messner, adding that she enlisted the help of friend and fellow children’s author Joanne Levy to administer the second round.

“The children’s literature community comes together for these things,” Levy says. “I’ve been up to my eyeballs in donations.”

The 42 items currently up for bid include:

A Skype session with children’s author and illustrator Mo Willems

A manuscript critique session with YA author Laure Halse Anderson

A portfolio critique with Penguin art director Guiseppe Castellano

A full-day school author visit with Newbery Honor winner Cynthia Lord

A Skype session and signed books from YA writer and poet Ellen Hopkins

A three-day retreat at the Writing Barn in Austin, TX

A Skype session with YA bestselling author Veronica Roth

A Skype session with Newbery Medalist Linda Sue Park




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Sarah Bayliss About Sarah Bayliss

Sarah Bayliss (, @shbayliss) is associate editor, news and features, at School Library Journal.



  1. I was going to try to make it to the party but so far away from me .tsk. Hope to meet you in the spring thgouh and also Sarah if she will be in West Virginia too. I am so happy that you will go to Italy how exciting.


  1. […] in their projects online from anywhere… I also love a few of these projects presently: 1. Kate Messner’s KidLit Cares Auction for Hurricane Sandy Relief Effort and 2. Support School Libraries […]