|Posted by Susan Herriott on July 31, 2011 at 8:09 PM|
Our trip to the Harlem Book Fair on Saturday, July 23rd was really great. The boys were very enthusiastic about their participation, and they did a great job representing themselves and our organization.
First, the youngest boys from the Rock Stars and the Letter Rip had their turn. Each boy brought a book he enjoys reading, showed it to the audience and told why he likes it. There was no microphone, so it was difficult to hear them, but I did my best to repeat their comments so that the audience would know what they were saying. Despite that challenge, the boys really did a fantastic job, and I was so proud of them.
The older boys were next. Group Leader Lucria Ortiz questioned representatives from the Originals, the Lightning Bolts and the Rock Stars about what they are currently reading, their reading statistics from last year, how participation in the Cool Boys Read(TM) Summer Enrichment Program has impacted their reading habits and more. The boys did a great job expressing themselves, and we were very pleased with their presentation.
Ms. Lucria and I were not off the hook when the boys were done. The host of the Young Reader Pavilion, the founder of Just Us Books (http://justusbooks.com/), engaged us with some provocative questions about our program and the importance of promoting literacy among boys of color.
The heat was oppressive, but many of us stayed for the presentation by the next author, Ty Allan Jackson. He read his newest book, When I Close My Eyes, which is beautifully illustrated and encourages young children to use their imaginations. We enjoyed the presentation, but we were actually expecting to hear about Mr. Jackson’s first book, Danny Dollar, Millionaire Extraordinaire - The Lemonade Escape (http://www.dannydollar.com). No worries. We just went down to the booth for his publishing company, BiG HeAd BoOks (http://www.bigheadbooks.com). What a treat! There was a stand-up cut-out of Danny Dollar there to greet us, we got autographed copies of both books and we met the BiG HeAd BoOks team. It was a highlight of the event for many of us.
Another highlight was meeting Jerry Craft, illustrator of the syndicated comic strip Mama's Boyz (http://www.mamasboyz.com). His autographs are awesome because each one includes an illustration. Mr. Craft shared his booth with author Sabrina Carter, whose book he illustrated. Ms. Carter is from our area, and her book, Please Don’t Yell at We!, has been sold in local businesses around town. It was really a pleasure meeting both of them.
After visiting these booths, we headed to Dinosaur BBQ for lunch. We had a great time there, and some of the kids even went to the park together afterwards. This was a great outing that will surely bring fond memories whenever it comes to mind.