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Read on the Green Even Better Than Last Year

May 26, 2007 – “You have been caught in the act of reading,” said librarian Rachelle Shells. “Now here’s your free T-shirt.” There were free books to be had as well at the rescheduled Read on the Green at the University of the Virgin Islands Saturday afternoon.
The children in attendance outnumbered the adults, but all seemed to enjoy the afternoon of storytelling, reading and relaxing on the golf course. This was the second annual Read on the Green event.
The public was encouraged to bring a book, blanket, chair and a snack and simply sit back and enjoy a good read.
Shells, head librarian at the Enid M. Baa Public Library, said, “We are much better organized this year, with more giveaways, more books and information. It will be even better next year.”
There were lots of free books covering a wide range of styles and subjects. “We have given away plenty today, and we have good ones here to satisfy anyone from age zero to adult,” Shells said.
Early in the afternoon, author/storyteller Elaine Jacobs held her audience in rapt attention as she sang, danced and told stories — all at the same time.
Jacobs told three stories: “Miss Mary Mack,” “Abiyoyo” by Pete Seeger and her own version of a traditional island story, the tale of “Fowl and Cockroach.”
Jacobs, a literacy coach at Julius E. Sprauve School, has been telling stories for over 30 years and has traveled extensively sharing her tales of the Caribbean.
Jacobs said, “The stories are very similar from island to island, but the geography changes or the animals change. Sometimes there are changes in character, but really the stories remain the same.”
“For me, I grew up with storytelling, television was just coming in, and storytelling was the mode of entertainment,” said Jacobs. “I remember hearing my neighbors and family members telling stories.”
The other storyteller of the afternoon was Alphonso Wade, a local organic farmer, who delighted his listeners with a traditional Nansi story aided by eight children from the audience.
Wade said, “I have been telling my children stories for forever, but I started doing it in public three years ago. Now I visit schools every month and tell stories. This was my first Read on the Green, and it was great, a great audience.””
Other “Read on the Green” activities included face painting, crafts and bouncing around in the special inflatable play area.
However, the main focus of the day was simply the opportunity to sit outside and experience the joy of reading. And people did just that.
Read on the Green is a collaborative effort between schools and public and academic libraries: Department of Education St. Thomas/St. John District: Primary Grades Division and Media Library Service, DPNR, Enid M. Baa Public Library and the UVI Paiewonsky Library.
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