Atlantic Avenue BID starts children’s book reading series
by Andrew Pavia
Dec 04, 2013 | 1529 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
An illustration done by Ruth Chan.
An illustration done by Ruth Chan.
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The Atlantic Avenue Business Improvement District is starting a new holiday tradition, spearheading a children’s reading series aimed at kids ages three to five.

The series, which begins on Saturday, Dec. 7, doubles as a contest in which local authors read their unpublished stories and are judged by a panel that includes Brooklyn-native Bruce Degan, illustrator of The Magic School Bus.

Children will also get a vote, as one author will be awarded the Kid's Choice Award.

The events are free, and will take place in eight different stores along Atlantic Avenue. Due to limited space, the BID has requested that those interested in attending RSVP at (718) 734-4219.

“We were looking to do something that gets people into our stores and showcases how nice Atlantic Avenue is,” said Josef Szende, executive director of the Atlantic Avenue BID. “But our stores are very small so we were thinking about something that would fit.”

The BID had a sign-up sheet at the Brooklyn Book Festival, and received 39 entries. The top eight finalist were chosen to participate in the series.

“I think if you look at Brooklyn, there is only so many times you want to see the same thing happen,” said Szende. “If we can do something different, promote the literary arts in the neighborhood and highlight the businesses, then all the better.”

Ruth Chan and her book Where’s Bernie? was chosen as one of the finalists.In the tale, a horse named Bernie from Jane’s Carousel in DUMBO escapes and his fellow carousel characters look high and low throughout Brooklyn for him.

“I have kind of odd hours working as an illustrator and I see interesting parts of the neighborhoods while other people work,” said Chan. “I thought it would be cool to give these families something they love and something so familiar to them to read about.”

Chan got involved with the reading series because she had “fallen in love” with picture books and felt it was a perfect opportunity to showcase her work.

“Picture books are hilarious and witty now,” Chan said. “They’re not just for kids anymore.”

With new authors popping up throughout Brooklyn, judge Melissa Guion said that there is talent all over the borough that is being nurtured by the community.

“I was really happy to get involved because I live in the neighborhood and there is a lot of children’s book authors who live here,” said Melissa Guion, a judge and published author. “One reason I like this community is because people take care of each other.”

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