Girl Friends Inc. of New Haven to host book fair 'in pursuit of excellence'
Girl Friends Inc. Books and Art Fair will return for a second year to Wexler Grant School from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday under the theme "In Pursuit of Excellence."
In addition to book exhibits, vendor displays and a children's reading room two thought-provoking panels will take on the topics of overcoming racial stereotypes and building a movement for academic excellence in the black community.
Admission is free to the public. The school is at 55 Foote St.
"We're highlighting reading as the key to success for black children," said Enola Aird, vice president of the New Haven Chapter of Girl Friends, Inc. "For black children, we need to be helping them understand they are as capable as any other children in the world."
Aird said the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman in Florida exemplifies the potential for stereotypes to kill.
President Diane Turner said the program also includes a read-in at Wexler Grant's library, where community leaders will sit in a circle with children and read stories to them. "If the children have any questions, it gives them an opportunity to ask about their professions. There's always a message about doing well in school," Turner said.
Lisa Harrison, Books and Art Fair Committee co-chairwoman, said Girl Friends Inc. is partnering with distributor Books Are Fun to provide hundreds of books for families at the event.
The chapter also will collect gently used children's and adult books Saturday that will be donated to New Haven Reads. Last year, the organization donated more than 1,000 books to New Haven Reads and Ronald McDonald House, Harrison said.
"Each year we pick a different theme to focus on," Harrison said. "We want to foster literacy in the New Haven community."
Teachers and educators are encouraged to attend as well, she said.
The New Haven chapter is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year and will have a special event on Sept. 30, Turner said.