Wild About Book Fest ‘09 – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Wild About Book Fest ‘09

The Colleges’ annual “Book Bash” event will this year be replaced by “Geneva Reads Book Fest.” Geared toward children 10 and younger and their families, this is a collaborative effort between Jumpstart, America Reads, America Counts, First Book Geneva, Learning to Lead, and the Geneva Community. It will be held at the Geneva Recreation Center (also known as “The Cooler”) on May 2, from 1 to 3 p.m.

Hosted by HWS for seven years, Book Bash was an event of the tutors volunteering with Jumpstart and America Reads, as well as the families of the Colleges faculty and staff. Coordinators such as Katie Flowers, associate Director of the Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning, hope this event will have more appeal for, and result in increased participation from, the Geneva community.

The theme of the event is Judy Sierra’s “Wild About Books.” It is the story of a librarian who drives her bookmobile into a zoo, causing the animals to erupt in curiosity “to learn all about this new something called reading.” Each Book Fest participant will receive a copy of the book. There will be 50 booths on site, each providing a reading of different books and interactive activities related to them. This includes sponge prints, face painting, mask making, and bookmaking to increase the children’s curiosity for reading and learning in an extremely fun, hands-on way.

“We are trying to get children excited about reading,” says student coordinator Kristen Lynch ’09. She and Leah Crohn ’09 have helped in planning the event, including assisting with set up of the booths.

All are welcome to attend Book Fest ’09. The Finger Lakes Times featured the event in a recent article. Text follows.


Finger Lakes Times
Geneva Reads brings Book Fest to town

Todd Etshman • April 19, 2009

GENEVA – Geneva Reads Book Fest, an event designed to celebrate children’s books and raise reading awareness, is coming to the Geneva Recreation Center from 1 to 3 p.m. May 2.

The Book Fest will feature more than 25 booths based on children’s books that were chosen by local schools, agencies and businesses. The booths will feature art, readings and activities.

The free festival is for children 10 and under and their families.

The theme book, “Wild About Books,” by Oregon-based children’s author Judy Sierra, was selected by the North Street and West Street Elementary school librarians. Geneva Reads purchased 600 copies of “Wild About Books” to distribute to Geneva kindergarten, first- and second-grade students.

Sierra and illustrator Marc Brown dedicated the book to Dr. Seuss, with the book itself containing many references to his life and the stories he wrote.

Many of the booths will feature costumed characters and puppets to help illustrate books such as Sierra’s, in which animals read and write their own books.

Book Fest is sponsored by Geneva Reads, a coalition of local agencies, in conjunction with the Geneva Public Library and Hobart and William Smith Colleges.

Jane Gerling of Geneva Reads explained that the coalition is modeled after the Ithaca Reading Partnership, which provided a list of books to choose from for Book Fest.

Gerling said the coalition received a grant in the fall of 2007 allowing it to expand reading programs to include all kindergarten, first- and second-grade students, instead of just Head Start students.
“We wondered what kind of impact we could make if we all work together,” Gerling said, noting she expects the festival to become an annual event.

Book characters will visit Geneva elementary schools before the event to encourage students to attend.

For more information, go to www.genevareads.org.