NORTHAMPTON, MA – Cooped-up caretakers and kids in Western Massachusetts long yearly for the annual Meltdown! The River’s Family Music and Book Bash, an early springtime event extravaganza featuring A-list children’s book authors and illustrators and children’s musicians. Typically held in multiple buildings on the Smith Vocational School campus in Northampton, this year’s raucous send-off-to-winter will be safely streamed straight into viewers’ homes on March 27, 2021 from 10:30am-12pm ET, with more interactive elements than ever before. “This has been such a difficult year for kids and their caretakers, so we’re thrilled to be able to deliver Meltdown fun directly to families who could use some serious joy,” says Jarrett J. Krosoczka, New York Times bestselling author/illustrator and National Book Award Finalist. Krosoczka and his wife, Gina, began the Meltdown in 2008 in partnership with Northampton-based radio station WRSI 93.9 & 101.5 The River and its family show, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, and the show continues to receive national acclaim for the quality of the participating artists, authors, and performers. The talent lineup for the 2021 virtual show, with authors and illustrators booked by Krosoczka and musical guests by Bill Childs of Spare the Rock, is staggering: Authors Tui Sutherland, Andrea Davis Pinkney Illustrators Oge Mora, Brian Pinkney, Dan Santat, Don Tate Musical guests Mister G, SaulPaul, The Bright Siders, Lloyd Miller, The Nields Starting at 10:30am on March 27, 2021, families can stream the Meltdown at www.rivermeltdown.com. KIDS ANYWHERE CAN PARTICIPATE ONLINE Moving the experience to YouTube this March will increase access for viewership and possibility for participation across the Pioneer Valley of Western Massachusetts and way beyond: Leading up to the event, kids are encouraged to send questions of the authors, illustrators, and musical guests, who will in turn answer them during the 90-minute virtual event. Parents, caretakers, and educators are encouraged to help kids submit text or video questions at www.rivermeltdown.com. There, they can also help vote for what Krosoczka and guests will be drawing together live. PIONEER VALLEY FAMILIES CAN PARTICIPATE IN-PERSON Northampton-area families are invited to engage with Meltdown experiences at sponsoring children’s bookshop High Five Books in Florence. Outside the shop, families can safely participate in: The #meltdown2021 selfie station, using props to take funny portraits against a custom Meltdown stage photo backdrop, Voting boxes, to help Meltdown artists decide what to draw during the event, and The Meltdown author and illustrator gallery, featuring the works of participating artists this year in the High Five Books windows. Autographed books of featured Meltdown talent will be available for purchase online at www.highfivebooks.org. (High Five Books is closed for browsing but open for online ordering, curbside pickup, and private shopping. Families are asked to follow social distancing guidelines while interacting with outdoor Meltdown stations.) 2021 MELTDOWN TALENT LINEUP Jarrett J. Krosoczka is the New York Times-bestselling author/illustrator behind more than forty books for young readers, including his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, select volumes of the Star Wars™: Jedi Academy series, and Hey, Kiddo, which was a National Book Award Finalist. Krosoczka creates books with humor, heart, and deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores. Krosoczka has been a guest on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross, and has delivered two TED Talks, which have collectively accrued more than two million views online. Young creatives can also hear Krosoczka weekly on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live and catch his wildly popular web show on YouTube, Draw Every Day with JJK. Krosoczka lives in western Massachusetts with his family. Learn more about Jarrett J. Krosoczka and his work at studioJJK.com. Tui T. Sutherland is the author of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Wings of Fire series, the Menagerie trilogy, and the Pet Trouble series, as well as a contributing author to the bestselling Spirit Animals and Seekers series (as part of the Erin Hunter team). In 2009, she was a two-day champion on Jeopardy! She lives in Massachusetts with her wonderful husband, two awesome sons, and two very patient dogs. To learn more about Tui's books, visit her online at www.tuibooks.com. Andrea Davis Pinkney is the New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of numerous books for children and young adults, and has been recognized by the Coretta Scott King Author Award committee with an honor for Let It Shine: Stories of Black Women Freedom Fighters and a medal for Hand in Hand: Ten Black Men Who Changed America. She is a four-time nominee for the NAACP Image Award. In addition to her work as an author, Ms. Pinkney is a publishing executive. She has been named one of the 25 Most Influential Black Women in Business by The Network Journal, and is among Children's Health magazine's 25 Most Influential People in Our Children's Lives. You can follow her at www.andreadavispinkney.com or on Twitter @AndreaDavisPink. Oge Mora graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in illustration. Her first picture book, Thank You, Omu!, was a Caldecott Honor, a New York Times Notable Book and Editors' Choice, and a Junior Library Guild selection. Her illustration work is also featured in Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood. She lives in Providence, Rhode Island, and invites you to visit her website at www.ogemora.com. Brian Pinkney has illustrated numerous books for children, including two Caldecott Honor books, The Faithful Friend, by Robert D. San Souci, and Duke Ellington: The Piano Prince and His Orchestra, by Andrea Davis Pinkney. Mr. Pinkney's own books include Hush, Little Baby; Cosmo and the Robot; Max Found Two Sticks; JoJo's Flying Side Kick; and The Adventures of Sparrowboy, winner of the 1997 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award. Brian Pinkney has received the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration and three Coretta Scott King Honor Awards. He lives with his wife, Andrea, and their children in Brooklyn, New York. More information: www.brianpinkney.net. Dan Santat is the author and illustrator of the Caldecott Award-winning The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend, as well as The Cookie Fiasco, Are We There Yet?, and others. He is also the creator of Disney's animated hit, The Replacements. Dan lives in Southern California with his wife, two kids, and two dogs. Visit him at www.dantat.com. Don Tate is the award-winning author and illustrator of numerous critically acclaimed books for children. In 2016, he earned an Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Award for his first picture book Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton. He is also one of the founding hosts of the blog The Brown Bookshelf, a blog designed to push awareness of the myriad of African American voices writing for young readers, with book reviews, author and illustrator interviews. Don frequently speaks at schools, public libraries and writing conferences, and participates in book festivals. More information: www.dontate.com. Ben Gundersheimer (aka Mister G) is a former teacher with a Masters of Education, a Latin GRAMMY Award winner for Best Children's Album, and has been called a bilingual rock star by the Washington Post and irresistible by People magazine. His dynamic, original music has won praise from the Boston Globe, Chicago Sun Times, New York Post, and Parents magazine. He tours internationally headlining major venues in cities including New York City, Philadelphia, Washington DC, Austin, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New Orleans. Senorita Mariposa is his first picture book, based on a song on his album Chocolalala. He lives in Whately, Massachusetts. Learn more at www.mistergsongs.com. SaulPaul is a GRAMMY Award-nominated artist who has garnered an international reputation as a musician with a message. Part rapper/part singer-songwriter, SaulPaul is an entertaining artist who blends his voice, his guitar, and his loop pedal to create a live show that is nothing less than an experience. SaulPaul shares his art with his heart and has been inspiring audiences through his music. From performing at two TEDx Talks, five Super Bowls, America’s Got Talent, SXSW, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Austin City Limits, SaulPaul has performed nationally and internationally in theaters, concert venues and festivals across the country. SaulPaul recently had a month-long residency on Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, celebrating Black History Month. More information: www.saulpaul.com. The Bright Siders is a unique musical collaboration between Nashville-based Americana songwriter Kristin Andreassen and Brooklyn-based child psychiatrist Kari Groff, MD. Together, they create music with the purpose of helping children connect to their emotions. To learn more, visit www.thebrightsiders.com. The Deedle Deedle Dees are a long-running rock band for families out of Brooklyn, NY led by Lloyd H. Miller. The Dees play highly-interactive shows featuring original songs based on true stories of history and science and their favorite works of literature. Their latest release, How to Fix America, is a garage rock meditation on how we, as individuals, can be part of the movement for change and social justice in our everyday lives. They've played the Meltdown every year since its inception! Www.Thedeedledeedledees.com The Nields are a folk-rock band composed of two sisters who fervently believe the world can be saved if enough people sing together. For more than 22 years and 20 albums, they have delighted adults and children alike with their personal and community-minded songs and family music classes. Learn more: www.nields.com. 2021 MELTDOWN SPONSOR LINEUP Presented by 93.9 The River, Rewind 94.3 and Yankee Candle with support from Coldwell Banker, Cooley Baby, High Five Books, Stoneleigh Burnham School and Tommy Car Auto Group. High Five Books is an independent kids’ community bookstore in downtown Florence, Massachusetts that opened in 2019 with a collection strongly based in social justice and LGBTQIA themes. They quickly became the neighborhood go-to for graphic novels, middle-grade readers, and picture books, plus art kits and other creative supplies. They share their welcoming shop with Art Always, an art school for children and adults. Visit: www.highfivebooks.org.