Celebrating literacy and the joy of reading, the 33rd Annual Fiesta of Books succeeded in getting books into the hands of hundreds of children in the community. Held at the El Monte Community Center and proudly coordinated by the El Monte Parks, Recreation and Community Services Department, the El Monte Police Department, the Mountain View School District and the El Monte City School District, the free community event drew children with a passion for books and love for reading. Children and adults filed through the doors to select two free books of their choice from a collection of new titles as well as old favorites. Additionally, Fiesta of Books visitors were able to take home several slightly used books to add to their home library collection, and a free dictionary was available for each family.
The Fiesta of Books has been a community tradition for over three decades and aims to encourage a love of reading and reinforce the importance of literacy among El Monte and South El Monte’s children. Thanks to donations from community groups, service clubs, businesses, school districts, the police department and individuals, approximately 2,000 new books were given away free to the children.
“It is great to see so many kids and families come out for this event each year,” said El Monte Police Officer, Jesus Rojas, who also served on the Fiesta of Books Committee. “The rainy and cloudy weather didn’t deter them and we are very happy to be able to support literacy and give away free books to the community’s children.”
In addition to the free books, children enjoyed the storytelling room which featured a fun, decorated room and a reading of the book The Polar Bear. The Ballet Folklorico group from La Primaria entertained the crowd with their beautiful dancing and costumes. K-EARTH 101 brought its Surf Pig and provided the music, and several health and wellness resources in the community were represented and passed out information on their programs. The Mountain View Teachers Association raffled off books and gave away bookmarks and pencils, and the El Monte Promise Foundation encouraged the children to set their sights on college. The fun also included face painting and a large bounce house and guests enjoyed the many vendor booths selling greatly priced items and food.
“I love coming to the Fiesta of Books,” said Eric, a 1st grader from Payne School. “The best part is getting free books and it is fun. It was a lucky day for me because I also won a book and a mouse that I really wanted in the raffle,” he added as he proudly clung to the book Frederick and his new stuffed mouse.
The Cat in the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2 roamed the event signing autographs, taking pictures and encouraging children to read. The Miss El Monte/South El Monte princesses were also on-hand to greet those in attendance. The El Monte Public Library shared information on the programs offered at the library and passed out books and toys.
“It’s great to see the kids so excited about books and reading,” said Lisa Del Real, Recreation Manager. “Many thanks go out to our volunteers, especially the students in Mt. View High School’s Teacher Preparation Academy and the El Monte Police Explorers. We appreciate our donors whose continued support makes this event possible.”
The goal of the Fiesta of Books is to boost the love of reading in the community’s children.
“This is a fun event that promotes the importance reading and enables children to build up their collection of books at home,” said Michele Earle from the Mountain View School District. “The Fiesta of Books has become a tradition for many children and families who return each year. The collaborative efforts of the coordinators, the donors, and the volunteers on this event is indicative that the importance of literacy and supporting our students to succeed is a community-wide focus.”