West Virginia Book Festival

West Virginia Reads 150 in 2013

Just for the West Virginia Sesquicentennial, Kanawha County Public Library is making reading a team activity. But you won’t have to buy special equipment, pay league fees or even raise a sweat.

KCPL is joining the West Virginia Library Commission, West Virginia Center for the Book and other libraries and book stores across the state for the West Virginia Reads 150 reading challenge. This program encourages reading in the community while honoring the state’s 150th birthday.

Form your team of up to 15 members to read a total of 150 books throughout 2013. Choose a team name and select one team leader to keep track of books read by the team. Team members report each book read to the team leader.

All ages can participate – friends, co-workers, book clubs, classmates. Families can use this challenge to promote reading at home. If a team member is too young or unable to read, count the books you read to them toward the team goal.  Books must be read between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2013.

KCPL summer reading clubs will continue as usual, and you can count the books you read for both your summer reading club and the West Virginia Reads 150 challenge. We’ll provide reading suggestions and team updates in various ways throughout the year, including e-blasts to team leaders, newsletters, the KCPL website, Facebook, Twitter and in-library displays. Sign up for our e-newsletter here.

Register your team for the challenge by filling out a registration form, available at any KCPL location or from our website. That’s also where you’ll find program details, frequently asked questions and registration information.

If you live in another area of the state and want to participate, you’ll find more info on the West Virginia Library Commission website, the WV Reads 150 GoodReads page and the WV Reads 150 Facebook page.

Marc Harshman

In May, Marc Harshman was named West Virginia’s seventh Poet Laureate by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, replacing Irene McKinney, who died in February. A resident of Wheeling, Harshman will present his inaugural reading since his appointment at the West Virginia Book Festival on Sunday, Oct. 14, at 12:30 p.m.

In addition to reading his poems, Harshman will reflect upon the rich legacies of Louise McNeill and McKinney, the Laureates who most immediately preceded him. Harshman’s program is sponsored by BB&T.

Harshman is also a storyteller and author of 11 children’s books. He is a recipient of the West Virginia Arts Commission Fellowship in Poetry, has won an award from Literal Latté and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He has degrees from Bethany College, Yale University and the University of Pittsburgh. His storybook, “The Storm,” was a Smithsonian Notable Book, and he has new children’s books forthcoming from Macmillan/Roaring Brook and Eerdmans.

Charlaine Harris, best-selling urban fantasy novelist; Craig Johnson, author of the “Longmire” series of mystery novels; and Tamora Pierce, author of 28 fantasy novels for teens, have already been announced as part of the line-up for the festival, which will be held Oct. 13 and 14 at the Charleston Civic Center. The annual, two-day event celebrates books and reading and offers something for all age groups. A variety of authors will attend, participating in book signings, readings, workshops and lectures. Activities for children include special programs and a section of the Marketplace filled with children’s activities. Admission to the festival is free.

The event is presented by The Library Foundation of Kanawha County, Inc., Kanawha County Public Library, West Virginia Humanities Council, The Charleston Gazette and the Charleston Daily Mail and is sponsored by The Martha Gaines and Russell Wehrle Memorial Foundation; Pamela D. Tarr and Gary Hart; the Friends of The Library Foundation of Kanawha County; West Virginia Library Commission and West Virginia Center for the Book; BB&T; Books-A-Million; and William Maxwell Davis. For more information, visit www.wvbookfestival.org.

W.Va. children, adults go for reading record

Schoolchildren, parents and teachers across West Virginia will be part of a group trying to set a national reading record on Thursday morning. Children (and adults) around the world will read “Llama Llama Red Pajama” by Anna Dewdney.

Among the readers will be state Superintendent of Schools Jorea Marple at Jayenne Elementary School in Marion County, and acting first lady Joanne Tomblin at West Side Elementary School in Charleston.

More, from the state Department of Education:

Many other schools have plans in the works for the  Read for the Record Day, including Barrackville, Blackshere, Rivesville and White Hall elementaries in Marion County.  At Steenrod Elementary in Ohio County,  the Parent-Teacher Association purchased the book for every teacher.  Bridgeview and Piedmont elementaries  in Kanawha County, as well as Belmont Elementary School in Pleasants County also are participating.

In Upshur County,  Union Elementary in Upshur County has invited community volunteers to read …

“Reading well is one of the most important skills a child needs to learn,” Marple said. “When children become good readers in the early grades, they are more likely to perform well in other subjects and all through their school days. Read for the Record raises awareness about the importance of reading and makes it a priority.”

For information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at 304-558-2699, or visit the campaign website at www.readfortherecord.org and www.wegivebooks.org.

Video(s) of the Week: Banned Books Week

When it comes to censoring books, few people are more qualified to speak than Judy Blume, whose children’s books have ended up on most-questioned lists at schools and libraries across the country for decades.

So in honor of the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week, which starts on Saturday, here’s Blume talking about the effect censoring books has on kids. It’s the Video of the Week. Money quote:

“They’re sending a message that books are dangerous, there’s something in this book we don’t want you to know, we don’t want to talk about what’s in this book, we don’t want you to ask us questions about what’s in this book.”

The ALA is also sponsoring a “Virtual Read-Out” for Banned Books Week, where people can upload videos of themselves (or others) reading parts of books that have been censored or challenged.

The chairman of the Empire State Book Festival, Rocco Staino, wrote at the Huffington Post earlier this month about books about censorship for kids and teens (leading with the all-time king, Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”).

More locally, our friends at Taylor Books have been featuring snippets from frequently banned books on their blog.

And because we’re feeling generous, here’s a bonus Video of the Week, from the good folks at the Gottesman Libraries at Columbia University. It’s a quick montage of the 100 most frequently challenged books of the 20th century.




W.Va. hospital gives away 1,000th book to babies

As The Journal in Martinsburg reports, Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson has hit a happy milestone:

In a celebration at West Virginia University Hospitals-East’s Jefferson Memorial Hospital, Craig Matthew Eyler was announced as the 1,000th baby born into the hospital’s First Books for Babies program.

The First Books for Babies program provides information to new parents on the benefits to babies as well as a childrens book. …

“In December 2007 when the program started, we were excited to be part of the first program in the state to promote reading to infants,” said obstetrics nurse manager Sandra Martin. “We thank First Books for Babies for selecting us as their partners, and we appreciate all of our ‘moms’ for choosing to deliver at Jefferson Memorial Hospital.”

(That’s a generic baby being read to up there, BTW, not young Mr. Eyler.)

For more on the benefits of reading to children at all stages of their development, you can always check out our friends at Read Aloud West Virginia.