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Mrs. Claus visits headquarters library to promote reading

Mrs. Claus visits library to promote reading

Rihanna Starks, 3, left, and Sakina Holmes, 4, tell Mrs. Claus what they want for Christmas during a visit to the Clayton County Headquarters Library for the annual Cookies and Cocoa With Mrs. Claus literacy event last week. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

Rihanna Starks, 3, left, and Sakina Holmes, 4, tell Mrs. Claus what they want for Christmas during a visit to the Clayton County Headquarters Library for the annual Cookies and Cocoa With Mrs. Claus literacy event last week. (Staff Photo: Curt Yeomans)

JONESBORO — As a group of children sat quietly in front of her at Clayton County Headquarters Library, Mrs. Claus unveiled a combination of two things most people are not likely to count among their holiday favorites.

A Fruitcake Bug.

In a pear tree, no less.

It was actually a character from the opening of David A. Carter’s “The 12 Bugs of Christmas” and it was the final book read at the library’s annual Cookies and Cocoa With Mrs. Claus event Dec. 17. Youth Services Librarian Bea Mengel said Mrs. Claus reads to the children right before Christmas every year as a way to encourage them to read books.

“It’s the holidays and we want to do something positive for the community and to encourage children to read, and if Mrs. Claus can be here to spread Christmas cheer, then we’re happy to do it Mengel said.

The Cookies and Cocoa With Mrs. Claus event has grown so popular with local families and day care groups that the library has to hold two sessions to accommodate the crowds. The children sit at Mrs. Claus’ feet and listen while she reads books and they sing songs in between stories.

Afterward, the children have cookies and cocoa, and make “Dear Santa” Christmas lists which they give to Mrs. Claus when they get their pictures taken with her. She, in turn, promises to give the lists to Santa Claus.

The books don’t just deal with bugs either. They deal with variety of holiday topics and characters, such as reindeer and gifts.

“The reading was my favorite part,” said Omone Ojior, 3. “I liked the reindeer story.”

Ojior’s friend, Kennedy Preaster, 3, had other ideas about what the best part of the event was, though.

“I liked singing ‘Merry Christmas,’” she said.