Read Across America event draws keiki, parents to mall

LIHUE — Children’s books are something you just can’t buy online, Laurie Yoshida said during Saturday’s Read Across America event hosted at the Kukui Grove Center under the threat of rain.

“I’ve bought a lot of children’s books, and you just have to look and feel them,” Yoshida said. “It’s not like adult titles where you just can order them.”

A book fair by Usborne Books was one of the big draws of the event that featured guest readers reading stories to keiki and young adults from atop an elevated stage set up at the center stage area.

“I have to read my book,” said Jan Tenbruggencate, one of the guest readers. “I have a hard title.”

Kauai Complex Area Superintendent Bill Arakaki begged to differ, showing off his title that featured books within a book.

“This has a lot of little things,” Arakaki said. “It’s going to be hard.”

Tenbruggencate and Arakaki were among the stable of guest readers that included radio personality Ron Wiley, Hawaii State Senate President Ron Kouchi, Kauai County Council Chair Mel Rapozo, Kauai County Councilmember Arthur Brun and Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.

“Mayor is coming after the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon,” Yoshida said. “He gets to close the event.”

Entertainment included Jeramiah Garcia and the Kapaa Middle School choir and ukulele band under the direction of Mary Lardizabal.

Stacie Chiba-Miguel, the assistant manager at Kukui Grove, said despite other big events, such as the Mayor’s Prayer Luncheon, Deacon Tommy Contrades’ funeral and the threat of rainy weather, she was pleased with the steady flow of people who visited the event.

“The big draw is the book fair,” Chiba-Miguel said. “Kumu’s Cupboard, who gets a portion of the proceeds from book sales from Usborne Books, will be partnering with them to offer another book fair during the Parent/Child Fair coming up April 8. This event will showcase services which are available to parents of children between 1 to 8 years old.”

Started on March 2, 1998, Read Across America is hosted by the National Education Association as an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss.

Sponsors of the event included the state’s Department of Education, Dow Agrosciences, Friends of Agriculture, the County of Kauai, the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association, Kauai Branch, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta Seeds.


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