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Forest Park Library hosts Hispanic culture festival

By Ed Brock

Moises Pesina and Lauren Peacock stood side by side making a decoration from paper plates.

They were two children from two different cultures brought together for a day of fun by the Forest Park Branch Library's Hispanic culture festival.

"We go to the library a lot, to the headquarters branch," said Charlo Stamps, mother to 3-year-old Peacock. "They have so many good things for the kids."

On Saturday, Stamps and Peacock were two of a sizable crowd of children that turned out for the event at the park across from the library on Main Street. Next to Peacock and 5-year-old Pesina were Enid and Esai Maltos with their mother Diana Angelero looking on nearby.

For them it was more than just a pleasant outing.

"My husband passed away three weeks ago," said Angelero, who was raised in Puerto Rico. "They need to be distracted."

Nearby other children were having their faces painted or playing games. Janice Arcuria, assistant director of youth services for the Clayton County Public Library System, moved about busily between activities.

The festival was funded by a grant from the MetLife insurance group as part of their "Libraries for the Future" program, Arcuria said.

"It's designed to target immigrant families to encourage discussion between the young and the old," Arcuria said.

Following the outside part of the festival, the children and parents were brought into the library building to watch "La nina de la mochila azul," or "The girl with the blue backpack." Library employee Raquel Lavender, born in Venezuela, who translated the flyer and other written material for the festival, picked the movie.

"I can remember watching it from when I was a little girl," Lavender said. "I just always thought it was the cutest movie."

Lavender also wrote the survey that was distributed to the Hispanic families who attended the event.

"That to me was the most important because that's going to help them tell the library community what they want," Lavender said.

She also distributed some Spanish-language books to the attendees that offered parental advice.

Arcuria said next month the library system will hold a similar festival for the Asian community at the Morrow branch.

Teen volunteers from the "Youth Under Construction" group helped out with Saturday's program.