Barbie Didn’t Start This, a 5-Year Old Did

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Some children’s book characters have been around for half a century and more, but rarely do we find one that moves children, people and schools to commit large, organized acts of compassion and humanitarian gestures. Kailee and Elizabeth Hoadley, mother and daughter children’s book creators were moved to see that their book series sparked a school children’s led movement of charitable giving, saving hundreds of underprivileged people, from babies to adults, from being cold this winter.

9-Year Old Gabriel, 4th Grade Volunteer

"This book and coat drive made me realize how we can make a difference in someone’s life." said 9-Year Old Gabriel.

A child’s book was read to children. A flyer was handed out. Very normal activities for elementary schools across North America.

However, this was no ordinary book, nor flyer. It was a book illustrated by 5-Year Old Kailee and written by her mother, Elizabeth Hoadley, about a little girl named “Sweet Zara” who is having a difficult year.

The book, “The Thanksgiving Coat” (one of 14 published by this mother/daughter team) is also being animated by Spider-Man 2 Oscar Winner, Anthony LaMolinara (release date, summer, 2011) and being transformed into a children’s Theatrical Musical Performance to be launched in 2012.

The story touched a chord with both the children and parents and in this small school of only 250 students, over 300 coats were generously donated and collected for their first annual “Thanksgiving Coat” Drive.

A video of the event was released this week on the YouTube Channel: ‘elizabethhoadley’ and named “The Thanksgiving Coat Drive.”

The coats were as varied as the donors: tiny baby ‘ones-ies’, pink furry coats, trench coats, hockey coats, leather coats, work coats, new and old coats alike.

The one unifying factor was the generosity of their donors and the good intentions with which they were sent to their future owners. It is hoped that, like Sweet Zara, they will feel the love of the anonymous person who donated it as the Thanksgiving Coat is worn, which is the premise of the book.

“For me, there is no bigger happiness and satisfaction I can achieve in seeing how a small gesture of care and love can place a smile on a child's face,” said Marina M., a representative from the school’s Governing Board who helped make this possible. “A simple, everyday coat for us can symbolize an eternal amount of warmth and love for a needy child, symbolically as well as physically.”

“I can’t imagine being like Sweet Zara and I am so happy that the coat changed her life.” said Gabriel, a 9-year old volunteer from the school. “Things weren’t going well for her and the coat reminded her that there is also good in life and to keep on trying until things get better.”

“This book and coat drive made me realize how we all can make a difference in someone’s life,” Gabriel continues, “it made me feel really happy knowing we were able to help. We should do this every year.”

Kailee and Elizabeth have written and illustrated 14 children’s books to-date. Their International Musical Talent Search for the “The Thanksgiving Coat” Musical is still underway until the end of April, 2011.

For more information, contact The Sunshine Workshop at: Press(at)thesunshineworkshop(dot)com, or through their website:,


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