Indigo fights illiteracy with squirrel power

Indigo's Love of Reading Foundation is getting a boost from the adorable yet skittish Scaredy Squirrel, the star of the internationally renowned book series by Mélanie Watt published by Corus Entertainment's Kids Can Press.

Indigo’s Love of Reading Foundation is getting a boost from the adorable yet skittish Scaredy Squirrel, the star of the internationally renowned book series by Mélanie Watt published by Corus Entertainment’s Kids Can Press.

Starting this month, a Scaredy box set will be sold in Indigo, Chapters and Coles stores, with proceeds benefiting the organization. The set includes a book and plush puppet, and its box doubles as a puppet theatre.

The partnership is a first for Love of Reading, according to director Jennifer Gay. ‘We’ve always had some select fundraising items [but] this will be the first time it’s branded with a character,’ she says, noting that Scaredy’s tendency to overcome obstacles makes him the perfect literacy ambassador.

A 60-second Love of Reading PSA is running on Corus station YTV, and will be modified to a 30-second holiday-timed push for the Scaredy box set in December. Banner ads on Treehousetv.com, in-store signage and Indigo’s Holiday Gift Guides will support the effort. Creative was a collaboration between the in-house teams at Indigo, Kids Can and Corus.

Lisa Lyons, president of Kids Can Press, says the partnership makes sense for the expanding Scaredy brand, which has a merchandise line and a television show currently in the works. ‘We hope we can have a considerable impact with respect to the cause,’ she says.

The Love of Reading Foundation commits $1.5 million annually to high-needs elementary schools to rebuild libraries and buy books and resources. So far, $7.5 million has been given to 70 schools across the country.