Avid readers celebrate National Book Month

By Curt Yeomans


If it were not for books, Scarlett O'Hara would not have fallen in love with Rhett Butler; Harry Potter would not be a wizard, and the "Journey to the Center of the Earth" never would have happened.

That's because those characters would never exist without their creation in books.

National Book Month, which celebrates literary treasures in libraries and on book shelves in many homes, begins today. Local librarians said they are pleased to see books highlighted when the Internet continues to compete for everyone's attention.

"It's interesting that some ten years ago, people were saying there would be no more books or libraries, and now, we see books and reading are still very popular," said Carol Stewart, director of library services for the Clayton County Library System.

On Friday and Saturday, Clayton County's headquarters library branch, at 865 Battle Creek Road, Jonesboro, will host a $5 book sale for Trinity Books. The sale will run from 9 a.m., to 5:45 p.m., on Friday, and from 9 a.m., to 4:45 p.m., on Saturday. Trinity Books will donate free books to the library system based on a percentage of the sales.

James Campbell, a media specialist at Lee Street Elementary School, said "reading is the most important thing anybody can learn how to do," because it is the gateway to using other tools, such as the Internet. "We highlight reading all the time," he said. "Everyday is reading day for us."

Skyla King, 6, a first-grader at Lee Street, said she likes books because it is fun to read them. "The best part is sounding out the words," she added.

King's classmate, Tia Robinson, also 6, said she likes the pictures and words she finds in books at the school's libraries. As she read Lola M. Schaefer's "The Loose Tooth," Robinson pulled herself away from the pages only briefly to talk about why she likes books.

"I like books because I get to read the words and see the pictures, and it's just fun to read," she said.

Connie Renaud, branch supervisor at the Cochran Public Library in Stockbridge, said although libraries in Henry County do not have any specific events scheduled to commemorate National Book Month, the system's commitment to reading remains strong.

Renaud added that the Stockbridge location will further expand opportunities for reading in November, when two bilingual story-time slots will be incorporated into the library's monthly calendar of events.

"We don't just promote books and literacy one month out of the year," said Renaud. "We promote it every day. We have young adult programs every other week, and five weekly programs for preschoolers."

The National Book Foundation has some recommendations on how families can celebrate National Book Month at home, with such things as having a family reading night, parents reading to their children, recreating a scene from a child's favorite book, playing games like charades, while incorporating book titles, and taking family trips to the library.

- Staff writer Jason Smith contributed to this story.


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