Flushing book festival to give borough bookworms a treat

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The YWCA of Queens will celebrate the English language at its 11th-annual Summer Literacy Festival Aug. 6 with a day of educational activities.

“[It is a] free community event for families to have fun, to have the impression that literacy — reading and writing — is fun and not boring and part of your daily life,” program Director Mary Cho said.

The festival begins with a Scholastic book fair from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 1 to 5 at the YWCA, at 42-07 Parsons Blvd. in Flushing. Both books and hobby kits will be on sale.

On Aug. 6, a variety of children’s activities will be offered from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., including arts and crafts, a puppet show, free carnival food and literacy-related competitions.

“It’s important for children to develop a love of reading early ... so that we can enjoy everything in the diversity of Queens and the ideas in books,” said state Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Whitestone), who will lead a storytime at the event.

New this year is a high school short-story contest, open to students between the ages of 14 and 18. Participants will be given a choice of three topics and compete for two $100 Target gift cards.

Middle schoolers can register for a teen “Jeopardy!” contest, which puts a youthful spin on the television quiz show as contestants vie for Barnes & Noble gift cards.

Elementary-aged students can also win gift cards from the bookstore by competing in the ever-popular spelling bee, which will be hosted by NY1 anchor Michelle Park.

“Parents prepare kids for the contests,” Cho said. “There are students who are extremely serious about the contest and they do well.”

Interested students may obtain short-story topics, spelling bee words and quiz topics from the YWCA Aug. 1, but must register by 5 p.m. Aug. 4 to join the competition.

Sponsored by HSBC, the festival attracts more than 500 parents and children each year from the Flushing community.

“[Reading] is very important, especially when your kids are at an early age, [it can] increase vocabulary and you’re exposed to so many scenarios,” said City Councilman Peter Koo (R-Flushing), who will attend the festival. “I encourage people to participate.”

More information about the festival and registration can be found by calling Jiyon Mary Cho at 718-353-4553.

Reach reporter Evelyn Cheng by phone at 718-260-4524.

Updated 12:01 pm, October 12, 2011
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