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Feria Del Libro Brings Books for All to City Hall

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2008, at 12:15PM
the book fair Ed Fuentes

BOOK STREET: Book and service vendors filled Main St, between Temple and First, for the 6th Annual Family Book Fair.

In many ways, the 6th Annual Family Book Fair is like Hope for Firefighters; an active street experience that is engaging, well attended, yet not upstaged by sponsorships who work at blending in very well with the mission statement of the event.

The book fair started in 2003 with 3,000 attendees. In 2006 the event shifted over to City Hall where it then grew to over 35,000 attendees last year. This year the numbers held as children and families. mostly Latino, read, listened to story telling, and met authors in between the occasional break.

One author who was there was Ramona Moreno Winner, who wrote “Freaky Foods From Around the World,” a story where a grandmother brings her grandson’s class in to try cow’s tongue, rattlesnake, moose heart, and crickets; introducing them to foods from other cultures. The author herself had baked crickets at her booth, in case any child was willing to give it a try. Most kids did. The parents didn’t.

As for the book fair, it began when the Boyle Heights Learning Collaborative, the LAUSD Roosevelt family of schools, and Families In Schools sought ways to make books available to families in Boyle Heights, and promote literacy at home and academic achievement at school.

While I like the size it is now, the event is promoted as a festival that ensures "culturally-relevant books are available to children of all ages." If it does grow, I hope it's in the direction of including authors who write for other languages and cultures.

Even so, Feria del Libro has something for everyone, and combined with Hope for Firefighters held last week, these two events are beginning to mark how Downtown leads into summer.

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