Library holding children's book fair

·4 min read

Sep. 30—WILLIMANTIC — In an effort to promote childhood literacy, the Willimantic Public Library is putting on the first Eastern Connecticut Children's Book Fair Saturday.

The event, which will feature local authors and illustrators, will run from 10 a. m. to 2 p. m. at Memorial Park.

This is an effort to revive the children's book fair the former UConn Co-op ran for years.

" By partnering with local schools, universities, authors and an eastern Connecticut independent bookseller, the Willimantic Public Library and the Friends ( of the Willimantic Public Library) are employing the talent and resources of our community to create a regional literacy event," Friends of the Willimantic Public Library President Nancy Pettitt said at the Sept. 7 Windham Town Council meeting.

Windham Public Schools, Eastern Connecticut State University, Dodd Human Rights Impact of the University of Connecticut and the Windham School Readiness Council partnered with the library and Friends of the Willimantic Public Library to put together the event.

The goal is to make the fair an annual event.

The library will give away 40 children's books written by the authors featured during the event.

" We'll also be giving away other books as well, but we really wanted to feature the authors that will be present," Windham School Readiness Liaison Angela Fournier said.

She said one goal of the event was to get local authors involved.

"It's really nice to read a book or find a book and know that the person who wrote it is down the road or the next town over," Fournier said.

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The event, which will feature local authors and illustrators, will run Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Memorial Park in Willimantic.

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Staff from the River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury will sell books by the featured authors and others during the event from their book truck.

The following authors will read and discuss their books during the fair:

—UConn Professor Emeritus Marilyn Nelson, who is a former Connecticut poet laureate and a three- time finalist for the National Book Award.

Nelson has written books for young adults about important historical figures and race issues.

—Windham resident Barbara McClintock, who is an author and illustrator.

She has received five New York Times awards for "Best Illustrated" books, three ALA Notable Book Citations, two Golden Kite Honor awards, a Horn Book/Boston Globe Honor award.

Staff from the River Bend Bookshop in Glastonbury will sell books by the featured authors and others during the event from their book truck.

—Storrs resident Andrea Wisnewski, a children's book illustrator and author who studied at Portland School of Art and UConn.

She won the " Best in Show" award at the New England Book Show in Boston for her illustrations in " Little Red Riding Hood."

Wisnewski also illustrated " The Ink Garden of Brother Theopane" by C. M. Millan, which won the Connecticut Children's Book Award in 2011.

—Windham resident Delia Berlin writes bilingual books for children from ages 3 to 9.

She grew up in Argentina and Brazil but has spent her adult life in eastern Connecticut.

—Guilford resident Jason Marchi has written a picture book for middle grade readers, " The Legend of Hobbomock: The Sleeping Giant," which was a Barnes & Noble regional bestseller.

The book is about the Quinnipiac tribal legend of the creation of the " Sleepy Giant" land formation in Hamden.

He won 14 awards for his second children's book, "The Growing Sweater."

Marchi founded a nonprofit in 1998 called New Century Writer Awards, which operated for six years in partnership with Francis Ford Coppolla's Zoetrope: All Story magazine.

—Connecticut resident Sam Taylor will read from her debut teen novel, " We Are the Fire," during the fair.

Staff from the Dodd Human Rights Impact program will have current and past winning and honor books for the Malika Penn Award for Human Rights, an annual award that recognizes authors who address human rights issues or themes in their work.

The 2021 recipient of the award is Kim Johnson, who wrote "This is My America," a book about the unequal treatment of Black people in the criminal justice system.

Those who would like to donate to the book fair can do so by clicking on the " donate" link on the main page of the library website, www. willimanticlibrary. org. All donations of $50 or more will be considered sponsorships. For more information about the book fair, call the library youth department at 860-465-3082.

Follow Michelle Warren on Twitter — @ mwarrentc.

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