SALISBURY – The Livingstone College Children’s Book Festival will be held Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the front lawn of the campus, featuring storyteller Linda Gorham, Tyca the Clown and a special treat from a local elementary school.
First held in March 1991, the festival was born after Jacquori Franklin, daughter of former Livingstone President Bernard Franklin, asked her dad why there was not a book festival held in Salisbury like the ones she attended in Virginia.
He didn’t have an answer, so he formed a committee and the rest is history, said Deborah Johnson, Livingstone College Children’s Book Festival coordinator and UNCF director.
Fast forward 28 years and the Children’s Book Festival continues in its efforts to help bridge the gap of literacy issues that plague many of the children within the Salisbury-Rowan community.
The book festival was designed to create a love and appreciation for books and reading for children ages 3-12 through storytelling.
“In doing so, it also pays homage to Salisbury and Livingstone’s own storytellers of all storytellers, the late Jacqueline (Jackie) Torrence, ‘The Story Lady,’” Johnson said.
Annually, Livingstone College has provided hundreds of children with books to take home. “How awesome it is to see the campus green covered with children enjoying food and bounce houses, while engaging in activities with our college students and volunteers. Their smiles are priceless as they select their books to take home,” Johnson said.
For several years, Livingstone College and the Rowan Public Library (Friends of the Library) partnered in a joint venture on this community outreach project. The book festival has continued to thrive over the years with the support of past and current sponsors: Salisbury Community Foundation; Attorney Edward and Susan Norvell; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; F&M Bank; Woodforest Bank; Morris Business Solutions, Inc.; Mrs. Mamie Walker; Ledbetter Snacks and Vending; Cheerwine; and more.
“We are grateful to them for seeing the need and joining us in an effort to ensure the children in our communities are able to read,” Johnson said. “Reading is a must.”