Tucson Festival of Books

Kenny Curtis (he/him/his)



James Anton

Sponsored by Friend of the Festival

Kenny Curtis has been “making noise” for a long time. In his 25 years in Children’s Programming, Curtis has worked with companies as varied as Spotify, KidzBop, Sesame Workshop, National Geographic, Verizon, Clear Channel and Nashville’s 800 Pound Gorilla Media. Kenny also hosts and helped create the wildly successful podcast “Greeking Out” for National Geographic Kids. In late 2023, Kenny and his daughter Jillian Hughes released their first book inspired by this show, which debuted at #7 on The New York Times best-seller list.

In the summer of 2000, Curtis was one of the first Program Directors hired in Satellite Radio. He created the original, award-winning kids’ channel “XMKiDS”, (known today as “Kids Place Live”) and brought his trademark characterizations to a national audience as the host of "The Animal Farm Show"—a daily radio show he still hosts today. Over time, Curtis' role evolved into serving as the company’s guru of Kids, Family and Specialty formats, developing and over-seeing audio programming in a wide variety of genres including Broadway and movie soundtracks, audio books, radio drama and uncensored comedy.

These days, Curtis serves as Head Writer for Tinkercast, developing audio content for Kids and Families worldwide, and working alongside the delightfully talented “Absolutely Mindy” Thomas. To add to the fun, Curtis also started his own consulting/audio content company FinkInc Media with his daughter, the writer Jillian Hughes. Together, they write and develop audio content for clients like National Geographic Kids, 800 Pound Gorilla Records, Crooked Media, Spotify/Pinna, iHeart Radio and others.

Curtis is happily married to the actor Kim Meacham Curtis and, with seven children and four grandchildren, is uniquely able to perform in-home test marketing thanks to this built-in “focus group." As a family, the Curtises have been active in their local Autism Society since their son Morgan was diagnosed with autism at age 2 ½. Mr. and Mrs. Curtis are also registered as foster parents with their local Department of Social Services, providing care for infants and young children with special needs, through which they have adopted their two youngest children, Shawn (11) and MaLia (13).

At the festival, he will be presenting his book "Greeking Out: Epic Retellings of Classic Greek Myths."

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Scheduled events:
Greeking Out: A Drama Workshop for Children, Ages 8-12
Love Greek myths? Come to a workshop to create a live dramatic retelling of a Greek myth in the form of a live podcast. Kenny Curtis and Jillian Hughes created the popular Greeking Out podcast, which is now a new book, "Greeking Out."

Education Room 349 (Seats 48, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 9, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Children
Signing area: Signing Area - Children (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Kenny Curtis, Jillian Hughes
Moderator: Brittany Butler
Middle Grade Carousel: Action and Adventure
Meet a bunch of authors in 60 minutes as they share their new books filled with action and adventure. Each author will be seated at a table to talk with a small group about their newest book. Every eight minutes the authors will rotate to a new table in our version of author speed-dating.

Education Kiva 211 (Seats 200)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sat, Mar 9, 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Children
Signing area: Signing Area - Children (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Kenny Curtis, Sayantani DasGupta, P. Djèlí Clark, Jillian Hughes, Rajani LaRocca, Lisa McMann, Matt McMann, Jennifer A. Nielsen, Misa Sugiura, Judd Winick
Moderators: Magdalena Castillo-Cockrum, Caryl Crowell
Greeking Out of Whatever After
Greek myths and fractured fairy tales have never been so much fun! Sarah Mlynowski's popular Whatever After tales use a mirror to transport two kids into fairy tales and are being transformed into graphic novels. Kenny Curtis and Jillian Hughes have drawn from their successful podcast to create humorous, playful retellings of Greek myths.

Education Room 353 (Seats 92, Wheelchair accessible)  View this venue on the Festival map
Sun, Mar 10, 11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Children
Signing area: Signing Area - Children (following presentation)  View this venue on the Festival map

Panelists: Kenny Curtis, Jillian Hughes, Sarah Mlynowski
Moderator: Callie C. Miller

Book:
Greeking Out
Epic Retellings of Classic Greek Myths
Children
Disney Publishing Worldwide
September 2023
ISBN 9781426375965
192 pages
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