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Saturday Storytelling at City Hall

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Sunday, June 03, 2007, at 09:37PM
_IGP3157 Ed Fuentes

If it weren't for the blocked street, the 5th Annual Feria Del Libro (Family Book Fair) might have slipped entirely under the radar of Downtown residents. Still, a few locals made their way down to the streets around City Hall and found that the event heavily marketed to serve the Latino community had a lot to offer everyone. "I had my two kids here for the weekend, and we were about to go to City Walk for the 100th time," said Jim Richmond, a recently divorced accountant manager who just moved to Downtown. "While most the presentations are in Spanish, there's a good crossover of things for us to enjoy."

More after the jump.

When author Rigoberta MenchĂș came to the stage of the 5th Annual Feria Del Libro, the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize recipient got a reception befitting a telenova star. MenchĂș paused to settle a pinata before speaking to the crowd that was shouting out personal hellos to the icon of Indian rights and "ethno-cultural reconciliation." Later she had a long line of readers wanting her signature in their copies of her book, "Crossing Borders."

Just a few minutes later the same stage was home to an American icon who remains in the pop culture memory bank. Henry Winkler read from his book, and when he was done took photos with children excited to be next to a real author who could (as one child said) "really tell a story." That same author posed with their parents, who were more giddy to be taking a photo with "The Fonz."

The book fair extended from the South Lawn to the streets, and over to Caltrans and its storytellers' stage. There was a mix of education programs to promote literacy for children and authors signing recent releases. And of course, kids made their own activities besides the face-painting, Frisbee-tossing, bookmark making and rock climbing; like those peeking beyond a fence hiding the mysterious big hole in the ground across from City Hall.

Feria Del Libro is a partnership between the City of L.A., LAUSD; and sponsors including Disney, Target, La Opinion and Telemundo. Hopefully event planners will reach out to the non Spanish speaking crowd and Downtown residents in 2008. Anyone with kids should keep Feria Del Libro on their radar next year because there were a lot of stories to be found Saturday.



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