Zylie & Friends Contest Offers One Lucky Child the Chance to Get Their Story Published

New York, NY

As children rush to finish their lists for Santa, a toy company in New York is offering a gift most children only dream of, the chance to author their very own adventure story.

Zylie & Friends, an award-winning line of doll-sized stuffed animals, outfits, travel accessories and storybooks designed to inspire future global citizens, has decided that kids know best when it comes to exciting adventure stories. The startup, which was founded three years ago by Mary Beth Minton and her son Matt McCarty, is offering one lucky child the chance to come to New York City and work with the team to turn their winning idea into an actual storybook, available for sale in fall 2014. Zylie will pay the way for one child and two family members to fly to New York, put them up in a great hotel for 2 nights, and give them spending money and a travel itinerary so they can set off on an adventure of their own throughout the city. Most importantly, the family will spend time with Zylie & Friends authors, illustrators and designers to see how a book is made, starting with their child's concept.

"We've found that when you inspire kids to learn about a new place in the world, and think creatively about a story that happens there, it produces amazing results," said Mary Beth Minton, co-founder and CEO. "We've already seen thousands of children take to Zylie and her travels, conjuring up their own adventure scenarios. This contest is just another great way to get them to use their imagination and break out the atlas for fun and learning."

The company's mission is to inspire the next generation of global citizens and creative thinkers, a mission that stemmed from a lack of geography being taught in schools and a lack of creativity and open-ended play at home. Children can learn about the places the characters visit in their stories, and treat the toys as co-pilots on their own adventures, whether outside in the real world or in their imaginations.

"The country is in a creativity crisis," said Ms. Minton. "Getting children off their devices and out into the world is incredibly important, now more than ever. And we find that Zylie's stories and playtime inspire not just creative thinking, but an interest in geography and world cultures. We're hoping that this contest, and many more like it, will bring that inspiration to more children."

Zylie's Adventure Writing Contest runs through December 31. A panel of expert judges will determine the winner in January, and the winning family will be flown to New York in February. All children through age 10 who live in the continental United States can participate at http://www.zyliethebear.com/contest.

About Zylie & Friends

Zylie & Friends is a new children's brand based in New York City. The company designs and produces high-quality, award-winning toys and related accessories and media that inspire kids to learn about the world and explore what's in it. The company was founded and is led by Mary Beth Minton and her son Matt McCarty. Zylie & Friends Adventure Kits are available at the FAO Schwarz flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and in Toys"R"Us stores nationwide. Each Adventure Kit retails for $49.99. For more information please visit http://www.zyliethebear.com.

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