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Published: Friday, 5/16/2003

Claire's Day spreads the love of literature

BY ANN WEBER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

The memory of a little girl who loved to read will be honored again this year at the second annual Claire's Day, a gathering of authors, illustrators, and storytellers tomorrow at the Maumee Branch Library.

Claire's Day - named for Claire Lynsey Rubini, who was 10 when she died at Camp Libbey on July 6, 2000 - will feature Ohio and Michigan children's authors and illustrators who will be reading and signing their books, workshops and demonstrations, musical entertainment, and hands-on craft activities such as puppet-making.

In addition, awards will be presented to schoolchildren who were nominated by their school principals to recognize improvement in reading skills. Three awards per school will be presented.

The number of children nominated doubled this year from last year, said Julie Rubini of Maumee, who came up with the idea of a children's book festival to honor her late daughter. “To know we're encouraging them in some small way is just so touching,” she said.

The first Claire's Day drew 4,000 people and raised enough money to allow for the festival to take place again this year, and to expand. Although the event isn't intended to be a fund-raiser, it also generated a $2,500 donation to the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library to buy children's books, Rubini said.

The lineup tomorrow includes Will Hillenbrand, the award-winning illustrator of more than 30 books including Wicked Jack and Traveling to Tondo. Scheduled at 10 a.m., Hillenbrand will describe the process of illustrating books, from journal entries and sketches to final artwork, and will offer a drawing demonstration and a display of original book art.

Also scheduled to participate are William Anderson, Christine Brennan, Wil Clay, Sally Derby, Matt Faulkner, Jeff Mazurowski, C.M. Millen, Barb Petee, Bonnie Pryor, Marcia Schonberg, and Sandra Warren.

In an expansion of festival-related activities, four of the Claire's Day speakers visited area schools yesterday and today. “Our goal is to have something new every year,” Rubini said, noting that organizers hope to have a pre-festival party next year that will have an adult focus. “It might be an opportunity for people who don't have young children to support the event,” she added.

Rubini said the festival has fulfilled her hopes for an event to pay tribute to Claire, help the family heal emotionally, and get other children excited about reading. “It has done more than we could have ever expected.”

Claire's Day will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. tomorrow at the Maumee Branch Library, 501 River Rd. The event is free and open to the public. Information: 419-893-8429 or at www.claires day.org.



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