Day of literacy opened books, enriched minds
The 10th annual Houston Hispanic Book Festival was a collage of Hispanic organizations, authors and emerging poets and writers.
Local writers, poets and publishers gathered for a book festival at Hotel Hilton Houston to promote literature among children on Sunday.
Author stations, poetry readings, cultural dances and merchants selling Central American jewelry all occupied the Hilton halls.
Autographs were signed and several books were also sold for less than $10.
An area specifically for children entertained the young crowd with balloons animals, clowns and characters such as Hello Kitty.
“This festival is important because it promotes culture, the intellectuals, the writers, the poets,” said Jorge Ferragut, a Cuban writer in attendance.
“It’s good for the Hispanic community because the Hispanic culture is very rich and it is something very positive for the city.”
The children’s area also held writing workshops given by volunteer teachers and poetry readings for kids like Jimmy Diaz, who aspires to be a doctor when he grows up.
His mother Alejandra Diaz, a fellow writer, says it is important to give children the opportunity for a better education.
Julia Mercedes Castilla, one of 40 authors in attendance agrees, but says it all starts with a little imagination.
“Kids don’t like to read because they rather go see something on television or do whatever on the computer,” she said.
“And that stops imagination because television gives you everything.”
Castilla says reading is a personal experience, one that many children are missing.
“When you’re reading, that protagonist is going to look different to each child because they are (individually) imagining how this person looks like,” she said.
“Imagination is something that is important to know, but it is not easy because (children) rather go sit down in front of the television than read a book.”
The festival attracted about 2,500 people last year according to the Millennium Press, and hopes to experience a greater increase in attendance in the future.
Ferragut says at least the crowds are consistent each year and that he will be among one of the returning writers.
“Those who come see a richness here,” he said.