Liberty City Reads Festival

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Debra Bazile

Debra is a natural hair blogger who loves traveling, eating cupcakes, and all things makeup.She is in the pursuit of turning her love for blogging into a full time career. She wants everyone to know that they are gorgeous and can have beautiful natural hair on a budget.

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Reading. Empowers. Awesome. Dreams” were the words imparted into the hearts of over a hundred children by Ms.Rosie of Ms.Rosie’s Storytime Wagon at the Liberty City Reads Festival.

BOOKS THAT LOOK LIKE US

Every child needs a dream. A vision that they can hold on to that will someday change the world. Books can unlock those dreams. The written words on a once blank page can provide information about life or open the doors to endless adventures.

The books at the Liberty City Reads Festival were not your ordinary books. You see, the books at the festival had illustrations that identified with the culture of the children. Each book provided a positive message. A message of hope and inspiration that is seldom showcased about our community in the media. The characters reflected the blocks where they were from and told their life stories in a new light. The children could quickly turn the pages and identify with the various shades of brown skin tones. Each child could find themselves within the text, which is something they may rarely see in their classroom textbooks. Their hair textures illustrated in the detailed sketches of braids and beads, kinky coily curls, fly haircuts, and afros on every page. These written stories also educated the children on topics ranging from world travels to ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

INTERACTIVE ACTIVITIES

The local community gathered together to bring interactive literacy games, science activities, and arts and crafts to this event. The children were able to make gooey slime at the science station. The History Miami Museum staff discussed the historical aspect of the city through the use of games and art. Say Sukii, a local florist, came in and taught the children about the different types of flowers, how to make floral arrangements, and demonstrated how to create a decorative hair crown.

I was blessed with an opportunity to talk curly to the young girls and boys at the festival. We did a reflection exercise where they were able to look into the mirror and say something that they loved about themselves. We took this activity to the next level by becoming the mirror and saying something encouraging to someone else. I asked one of the younger girls there why was it important for us to say kind things to others. She looked at me with a glimmer of light in her eyes and said, ” We need to say kind things to people to make their hearts happy. Everyone deserves to be happy.” I couldn’t agree with her more! The world needs more kindness. Imagine what could happen if we taught our children this kindness through literature. Children need to be reminded that they are resilient and their lives matter too. I created stickers with affirmations that read, ” I love my hair”, “I am smart”, and “I am loved”.My favorite sticker read, “Reading is my superpower”. I wanted each child to go home with a constant reminder of who they are.

WE LOVE BOOKS

Each child had the opportunity to take home FREE books. Yes, I said books indicating more than one. There were books from various genres placed in the hands of each child. Suze Guillaume’s vision was to promote literacy and showcase our community. She did exactly that!

Below you will find a list of the featured authors. Simply click on the book’s title to get a copy today!

“Stuttering Stephen” by Fraendy Clervaud 

“Dear Little Brown Girl: My Travels Around the World” by  Sheneka Brown

“Celebrating my Kinks and Curls” by Jerod Simon

“No Grades, No Play” by Ray Shipman

“Princess Ansafole by Beverly Williams

“Javan Has Asthma” by Javan Allison

“Dear Haiti, Love Alaine” by Maika Moulite and Maritza Moulite

Thank you, Suze Guillaume, for coordinating this amazing event. I look forward to attending the Liberty City Reads Festival next year.

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