Nichols Park is once again site for Childrens Book Fair

Staff Writer

“Fracture Fables & Twisted Tales” is the theme for this year’s Hyde Park Children’s Book Fair. Free books, fun crafts and literacy awareness projects are all a part of this year’s event.

The festival will take place from noon to 5 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22, in Nichols Park at 55th Street and Kimbark Avenue. Last year was the first year the fair was held in the park, and Rebecca Janowitz, director emeritus, said there have been lots of unexpected benefits in moving to the park from its previous location on 57th Street and Kimbark Avenue.

“The layout is easier to navigate and there’s no closing off the street and taking away parking spaces and moving people,” Janowitz said. “We have a pleasant set up in the park and our location is far away from where people live so there has been no complaints about the noise.”

Janowitz said the initial reason the board decided to move the fair to the park was because the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club offered its space at 5480 S. Kimbark Ave., as an indoor option in the case of rain.

“We used Ray [Elementary School] as a rain location for many years but due to their budget cuts the cost to use the space could no longer be waived and it was very expensive,” Janowitz said.

Traditional favorites such as the Kenwood High School Jazz Band and dancers from the Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts will perform live, and book characters such as Maisy, Strega Nona, Curious George and Wild Thing will make appearances, according to Tara Baldridge, board member of the Hyde Park Children’s Book Fair.

She said new highlights will include free book giveaways.

Baldridge said the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club and Carolan Apartments purchased copies of books for attendees written by the fair’s guest authors Hyde Park native Blue Balliett, Liesl Shuriff, Marianne Maline and Chris Eliopoulos. The authors will take an hour to sign their books between 12:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

Another new addition to the fair is the Read for the Record program, which is a program under the Jump Start Children First literacy program. Members of the organization will read the book “Otis” by Loren Long and spread awareness about its upcoming Read for the Record 2013 event on Oct. 3, for which people across the country will read “Otis” in support of Jumpstart’s mission to celebrate literacy and its efforts to promote early childhood education.

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