Once upon a time, a mayor, pastry chef, cartoonist, musician and many others gathered at a Funtastic Read-A-Thon, encouraging children to read their favorites stories—all in support of a good cause.
Participating children asked friends, family and neighbors to pledge donations for every book or chapter they read at the Saturday event, with all proceeds going towards maintaining Huguenot Children's Library.
“It’s gratifying to see how many community leaders and New Rochelle residents came out to support the Read-a-Thon,” said Barb Francella, one of the program’s volunteers.
“The Huguenot Children’s Library…is a special place for young readers (and pre-readers),” Mayor Noam Bramson, one of the readers, stated on his Web site. “With my own sons finishing their first years of school, I’m particularly aware of the role reading can play in expanding a child’s mind, imagination and expressive ability. So it is a pleasure for me to participate…in the Funtastic Read-a-Thon.”
In addition to reading their favorite books, kids heard from guest speakers and were given an opportunity to ask them questions.
“The questions are my favorite part,” said pastry chef Brianna Murasso, 23, of New Rochelle.
Murasso runs her business “Bakey Cakes” from home. She also teaches an after-school program at Daniel Webster Elementary School where she teaches kids how to decorate cakes and cookies.
Musician Zev Haber, of Mount Vernon, who just released his third album called Chicken Scratch, played fun songs for the kids.
“I love being out in the community and supporting local libraries,” said Haber, who has two children of his own.
Cartoonist Mark Mango taught the kids about drawing, starting off by illustrating a lady bug.
Leila Figuereudo, of New Rochelle, took her 8-year-old son Nicholas to the event to “get him more interested in reading.”
Another New Rochelle parent, Paula Salazar, took her 4-year-old daughter Stephanie to the event. “The kids enjoy it a lot,” she said. “They get to socialize.”
Stephanie’s favorite part was playing on the playground. Her favorite book is Wonder Pets, and while she doesn’t have any pets, she is hoping her mom will get her a goldfish.
Rachel Relkin, trustee-elect of the New Rochelle School Board, said it was a wonderful program.
“I brought my children, and they were very excited to see and hear some of the readers,” she said. “It’s great to support the library and encourage kids to read.”