Written by Denise Gary
Photographs © Bruce Matsunaga

Steven Riley Yosemite Bear Tale 2
Author/Illustrator Steven Riley

It is impossible to describe the joy of watching author/illustrator Steven Riley bring smiles and laughter to the children he entertains through his hilarious storytelling performances.  Adults are equally amused by the innate comedic talents of this skilled performer.  The generous author of the Ty Cooney National Wonder Series is dedicated to supporting Kids Need to Read and regularly presents programs for children at our various events.  Thus, he traveled to Phoenix Comicon to provide two programs for young convention attendees on behalf of our foundation.

Steven Riley Entertains 1

On Saturday afternoon, Steven had several of us laughing so hard, we had to wipe tears from our eyes during his retelling of a highly dramatic bear encounter in Yosemite National Park.  The entire audience was swept up by his irresistible antics.

Steven Riley Entertains 3

Engaging children in the audience is an integral part of Steven’s programs.

Steven Riley Entertains 2

Few can resist the charm of this author’s animated storytelling style.

Steven Riley Yosemite Bear Tale 1

On Sunday, Steven took the kids through several goofy skits designed to teach them how to create stories.

Steven Riley Presentation

He started by presenting original Ty Cooney drawings to several lucky kids.  It was such a pleasure to watch each of their faces light up when presented with their artwork.

Steven Riley Illustration

The talented artist rendered a superhero caricature of a young audience member, who could not have been more pleased with his treasure.

Steven Riley Caricature

All of Steven’s skits involve kids recruited from the audience, including this sketch about “The Plot Machine.”

The Plot Machine

The lesson about plots was followed by defining “setting” through the use of “fearsome” Ninja warriors.  It was truly delightful to watch the children perform in these slapstick plays.

Samurai Setting

The kids then worked together to create several silly characters.  By the end of it all, the kids had the knowledge and inspiration they needed to put together their own imaginative stories.

Kids Create Characters

Steven generously donated $70 to Kids Need to Read, raised from a portion of the sales of his Ty Cooney books during the convention.

Introducing Author Steven Riley
Denise introduces Steven Riley and the Little Ty Cooney Series.

Not only that, the fearless performer gamely sang “Geeks of America” during the Kids Need to Read Geek Prom on Saturday evening.

Denise Introduces Author Steven Riley
Steven Riley at the Kids Need to Read Geek Prom

All of us at KNTR are so grateful to the multi-talented Steven Riley for “inspiring imagination” in the children attending our events!  (We request an encore of the Fairy Dance, please!)

Debbie, Denise, Steven, and Riley Kids
Debbie Brown, Denise Gary, Steven Riley, and the Riley Kids

Geekdom Floods the Kids Need to Read Geek Prom (Phoenix Comicon 2010, Part 1)

Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton Preside over Geeky-anity at the Kids Need to Read Geek Prom (Phoenix Comicon 2010, Part 2)

How to Dress in Style at a Geek Prom! (Phoenix Comicon 2010, Part 3)

Video of the Fashion Geektacular and Crowning

Bookmans Music Video of the Kids Need to Read Geek Prom


3 Responses to “Surviving Riley: Yukking it Up for Kids! (Phoenix Comicon 2010, Part 4)”

  1. Don Collins on August 6th, 2010 1:02 pm

    Steven is a truly talented man about town. He challenges and entertains and has a way with kids that few do. His books are so well done and are wonderful to have in our library.

  2. Denise Gary on August 6th, 2010 3:18 pm

    Agreed, Don! Glad to hear his books are appreciated in your library.

  3. Mark Wayne Adams on August 7th, 2010 1:57 pm

    I’ve know Steve for over 20 years, and he continues to inspire me. As a fellow children’s book illustrator, he and I have hand many opportunities to work together. You many not know that In 2008 Steve Riley and I illustrated Derek Sabori’s book “Lu and the Earth Bug Crew, Zap the Energy Spikes.” This book not only showcases the author’s writing, but also Steve beautiful illustrations.

    I’m looking forward to Steve’s upcoming Ty Cooney release about the Grand Canyon! He and I were able to travel there for a week to research the story. Steve draws his inspiration from the National Parks natural beauty. What a wonderful series of children’s books he has created.

    If you have not seen Steve’s presentation, please take the opportunity! Adults and children are entertained by his talent and energy.

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