Local authors give away 700 free books at World of Reading event
by James Coulter
Randy Richburg works in a Publix warehouse. In his free time, he scribbles any poem or scribble he thinks of at random on a notebook he carries with him. Since then he has compiled all his poems and sketches in his book “A Collection of Short Poems”.
Recently, Randy had the opportunity to share his book of poetry and illustrations at a community event in Lakeland on Saturday. He distributed over 350 free signed copies of his book to local children and their parents. The fact that he was even able to publish his book seems like a major achievement.
“It’s all fantastic,” he said. “It always seems surreal. It’s the biggest event I’ve ever done, and I’m still new. So it was fantastic, a very good opportunity.
Randy loved being able to meet potential readers, especially young readers, and share his love of drawing and writing with them. Being able to inspire the next generation of writers and artists was a real honor, he said.
“I like being here,” he said. ” I like people. They were supportive and positive, and the Junior League that organized it was supportive and helpful, so it was nice to meet all these new people.
Randy was one of two local authors who gave away free copies of their book at the World of Reading Festival organized by the Junior League of Greater Lakeland. Shanita Allen, author of the “Let’s Go Dreaming” storybook series, was also on hand to give away free copies of her books. Together they distributed 700 free copies.
Shanita recently released the fourth book in her series, “Let’s Go Dreaming: The Famous Ari.” A behavioral analyst, Shanita has combined her background in child psychology with her love of writing to write her own storybooks about children exploring their dreams and feelings.
She loved being able to attend the event that morning and give local children copies of her book to add to their personal collections. She especially enjoyed hearing how children were inspired to write their own books through her storybook series.
“It’s absolutely amazing,” she said. “I love meeting new fans and signing and spreading the word on Let’s Go Dreaming. I loved meeting all the kids and hearing their stories of how they want to write and become authors.
Hosted in Barnett Park near Mirror Lake, World of Reading was organized by the Junior League of Greater Lakeland to encourage literacy among children. Along with giving away free books from local authors, the event also featured other activities like arts, crafts, face painting, balloon animals, and live music.
The total impact reaches more than 1,000 children. Each child leaves with at least three free books,” said Nicole Summer, event chair. “We have three projector tents, there are crafts, each child will visit each tent and do a craft. After that, they will go to our famous reader, and they will receive their copy there.
The generally fine weather that morning drew large crowds. They also attributed their success to their ad campaign through Citrus Connection. Overall the event was a huge success and succeeded in helping them achieve their goal of getting young children to read.
“I think literacy is still important,” she said. “And so this event aims to encourage literacy in our community by providing children with free books. So they can build a collection or home library and be encouraged to read. I think making reading fun is a big deal.
To learn more about the Junior Leauge and its upcoming events, visit their website at: https://www.jlgl.org/