2014 Champion for Kids

Each year Variety honors a national celebrity from the entertainment industry who has worked on behalf of children with special needs in education, recreation, or therapy. This year’s Variety Champion for Kids is St. Louis’ own Ridley Pearson. This year’s honor goes to a man whose fantastical storytelling abilities have kindled a love for reading and writing in children across the globe.


Ridley is a New York Times best-selling author and Missouri Writers Hall of Fame member, with more than 40 novels to his name published in 22 languages in 70 countries. His children’s novel Peter and the Starcatchers, co-written with humorist Dave Barry, put a delightful spin on the story of Peter Pan and has since become a multiple Tony Award-winning Broadway play. His Kingdom Keepers series has also become a runaway hit with young readers.


But more than telling incredible stories, our Champion for Kids goes out of his way to help children craft their own stories. He is a regular visitor of classrooms and libraries throughout the country, teaching youngsters how to tap into their creative juices and become budding authors. He is also a great friend of Variety, whose assistance helped us to acquire the rights to Disney’s The Little Mermaid for it’s annual Variety Children’s Theatre production.

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