NEW YORK, Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- What's the BIGGEST Valentine a child could receive today? A big RED one of course, from Clifford The Big Red Dog® – whose BIG birthday celebration continues! Fifty years ago this month, Scholastic published the original CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG book by Norman Bridwell – and today, Valentine's Day and Clifford's official birthday, the global children's publishing, education and media company, announced the release of new branded products, programs and promotions in conjunction with its yearlong celebration. Following September's BIGGEST Birthday Party Ever event that was streamed to thousands of classrooms nationwide, this month will see the publication of 'CLIFFORD'S BIRTHDAY PARTY'(published simultaneously in e-book and Spanish editions), the release of the DVD 'CELEBRATE WITH CLIFFORD', new consumer products and 'Clifford's BIG Birthday App' on Google Play™, a national contest launch and local events.
Scholastic also announced today the winners of the national 'Clifford's BIG Birthday Sweepstakes' – who will be hosting Clifford-themed birthday parties in their hometowns all this week: Brandi Mulligan of Portsmouth, RI; Lisa Wilson of DeBary, FL; Jamie Martin of Portland, OR; John McKeel of Oklahoma City, OK and Heather Blume of Austin, MN. Teachers also had the opportunity to enter 'Clifford's BIG Birthday Classroom Sweepstakes' – and five winning teachers will be welcoming Clifford to their classrooms this week in Ithaca, NY; Princeville, IL; Denver, CO; Valley, AL and Spring Hill, FL.
"We are delighted so many children, teachers and families have chosen to participate in the BIG birthday celebration" said Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media and Executive Vice President of Scholastic Inc. "For 50 years, Clifford has earned a place as one of the most iconic and endearing characters for children, and we're so proud to congratulate Norman Bridwell on reaching this incredible milestone."
"Clifford's popularity has always surprised me" said Norman Bridwell – author, illustrator and creator of Clifford The Big Red Dog. "My family and I are amazed that Clifford has been loved by so many children for so many years."
Today also marks the kick-off of the fifth annual "BE BIG In Your Community Contest," a signature program of the ongoing Clifford BE BIG!™ campaign, which invites everyone to take action and raise awareness for how Clifford's BIG Ideas (Share, Help Others, Be Kind, Be Responsible, Play Fair, Be a Good Friend, Believe in Yourself, Have Respect, Work Together and Be Truthful) can make the world a better place. Its mission is to recognize and reward others for their BIG actions, to catalyze change in local communities, and to provide resources for everyone to share BIG ideas. The contest invites participants to submit a BIG idea that demonstrates Clifford's Big Ideas for a chance to win $10,000 in grants to be used toward implementing the winning proposals. Since its inception, the contest has generated more than 3,400 entries from more than 82,000 children, parents, teachers and community leaders ranging in age from 2 to 70 years old.
To kick off the program, the Scholastic Store in New York City will be hosting a generationOn 'Party with a Purpose' event for first graders. The event is designed to help children understand the importance of giving, and not just receiving, at birthday parties by providing resources and activities to help enrich children's celebrations with the gift of giving to others. GenerationOn is the youth service movement of Points of Light, the world's largest organization dedicated to volunteer service and Scholastic's partner in the BE BIG program.
For those Clifford fans on the go, 'Clifford's BIG Birthday App' is now available on Google Play™ – and families can also mark the celebration by sending Clifford a personalized birthday card by visiting www.scholastic.com/clifford/birthday. Older fans can play 'Clifford's BIG Red Word Scramble' on Facebook.
Since the first Clifford® book was published in 1963, the property has expanded to include 126 million books in print in 10 languages and remains a literary classic embraced by parents, teachers and kids. CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG, the award winning television series, currently in its twelfth consecutive season on PBS KIDS, features the late John Ritter as the voice of Clifford. Using classic storytelling to present universal social, emotional, and moral messages to children, Clifford and his pals have made a BIG impact on how children learn to get along. Now that's BIG.
For more information about Clifford or the BE BIG program, please visit Scholastic's media room at mediaroom.scholastic.com/clifford, www.scholastic.com/clifford and www.facebook.com/officialclifford. For more information about the PBS KIDS series, visit PBS.org/pressroom.