From left, David Justus and Julie and David Rubini in front of the Maumee Library display honoring Claire Rubini, who had a heart problem and died in 2000. A year later, the Rubinis developed a reading program for kids called Claire’s Day.
It doesn't matter if a youngster's family's income is limited or the student is unable to travel to distant lands or visit unusual places. Within the pages of books, boys and girls are exposed to a world of new places, cultures, and events.
As the region prepares to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Claire's Day -- this year at the Maumee Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library, 501 River Road in Maumee -- the family book festival Saturday will be that much more thrilling with children's book authors, illustrators, and storytellers from across the nation attending.
Of course, many children have their attention sucked up by the time they spend on video games, cell phones, and other techno gadgets. But Claire's Day executive director David Justus said children need to be encouraged to read, and any time anybody can do that, it's a positive opportunity.
But how do you tear kids from gazing into those hand-held machines?
"The experience you get from reading can't be replaced by video games," Mr. Justus said. "Parents have the responsibility to encourage their kids to read, which is a form of entertainment and education."
Don't expect for Saturday to be a quiet day of children sitting around reading. Instead, look for a fun-filled day of activities with storytelling, live music, and hands-on activities to highlight the thrill that reading brings.
One of the highlights of the day includes the presentation of the C.A.R.E. Awards -- the acronym stands for Claire's Awards for Reading Excellence -- given to first through eighth-grade students whose principals have determined that they have improved their reading skills the most.
The hype and hoopla that's set for 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. will include the appearance of children's book authors such as Toledoan Jan Wahl who worked with the late illustrator Wil Clay, also of Toledo, who died in January.
Several other authors, such as Arnold Adoff of Yellow Springs, Ohio, Angela Johnson who lives in Alabama but who grew up in Ohio, and Denise Brennan-Nelson of Howell, Mich., are expected, as is illustrator Christina Wald of Cincinnati.
Though the focus of the event is for kids, adults can get in on the fun, too. In addition to Claire's Day, Claire's Night is Friday from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Main Library in downtown Toledo. At $65 a ticket, guests can meet authors and illustrators, who will sign their work.
Claire's Day is named in honor of Claire Lynsey Rubini who was 10 years old when she died in 2000. The little girl, who had a heart condition, loved pursuing many of the events that will take place Saturday: reading, telling stories, dancing, and making crafts.
Her parents, David and Julie Rubini, founded the organization in 2001. As a result of Claire's Day, the group expects that once this year's event is over, it will have given $25,000 worth of books to the community.
Contact Rose Russell at email@example.com or 419-724-6178.