LLF Board President Basel Karabala at the Great Big Read
Article below originally appeared in The Record April 29, 2017
Great Big Read Draws Hundreds to Downtown Stockton
By Wes Bowers
Record Staff Writer
STOCKTON — Janet Leigh Plaza in downtown Stockton was alive with music, games and storytelling as part of an event aimed at increasing an interest in reading among youngsters on Saturday.
The Downtown Stockton Alliance, city of Stockton and the San Joaquin Public Library hosted the second annual Great Big Read, featuring a variety of activities designed to promote reading such as making bookmarks and creating postcards and coloring books.
“The purpose is to just bring literacy alive, especially for the families you see here,” Stockton City Librarian Suzy Daveluy said. “It’s encouraging to see how literacy is providing access to books. And it provides support to young people who just love to read.”
Last year’s event attracted about 300 people to Janet Leigh Plaza, Daveluy said, and even more people attended Saturday. Novalynn Hosker, 11, loves to read books about animals, and said she enjoyed Saturday’s event because there so many different activities to try while learning about literacy.
“It’s really fun because you get to make books by hand, and you get to meet people who have actually made books,” she said.
Her mother, Crystal, said the family loves to read, and the Great Big Read was an opportunity to spend a warm spring day doing something both fun and educational together.
“It was just a chance to get out and learn about books,” she said. “It’s a fun family event, and we’d definitely come back.”
Adriana Osegueda and her children learned about the Great Big Read as they spent the morning at the YMCA’s Healthy Kids Day at Weber Point. The family walked over to Janet Leigh Plaza, and Osegueda said her children gravitated toward a table filled with sensory games such as magnetic building blocks and Jenga.
“I brought them over here because I wanted them to have fun,” she said. “This is something fun and centered around books, and we love to go to free events in our community.” Her daughter Angela, 7, was busy building a house with opaque, multicolored magnets at the sensory table.
“I love being here because it’s so fun and you get to play with toys,” she said.
Music was provided by Loki Rhythm, a local band that incorporates Hawaiian, Zydeco, Caribbean, West African, Latin Jazz, and Asian and Persian influences into their music. The band encouraged youngsters to make “shakers” out of two plastic cups and beans, then led them in a promenade around the plaza as they played music.
Vice Mayor Christina Fugazi and Councilman Dan Wright, who are a teacher and a principal when not governing Stockton, were also on hand to read their favorite stories to the children in attendance.
“This is an event that will enhance the importance of reading,” Fugazi said. “And we need to provide more opportunities to everyone who reads or wants to read. With the Great Big Read, you can check all of those off.”