Sunday, April 17, 2011

Wild About Reading

I had good intentions, but not one thing was welded on Friday. I was having way too much fun getting Gus and my costumes ready for the Wild About Reading event at Kids Day Saturday downtown at the Dena'ina Convention Center.

It started with looking for Cat In The Hat, hats for the volunteer guest readers to wear on Thursday when I spotted “The Red Queen” hat, inspiration hit! I could be “The REaD Queen.” When I told Gus about my costume idea he immediately thought he could be “The Mad Reader (Hatter)!” Both characters are from Alice in Wonderland with a Wild About Reading twist. Lynette Sullivan, the Read Booth organizer, literacy advocate and Mayor Dan Sullivan’s wife, invited me to

be a “Special Guest Reader” at the event. I was to read during the first session with Jackie Purcell the KTUU weather person. Lynette mentioned that the kids enjoyed the guest readers who came in costume last year and of course that was all I needed to hear. Any reason to make a costume and I’m creating it! Lynette was Gus’ kindergarten teacher and to further our fondness of Lynette, the Sullivan’s not only at one time were my parents next door neighbors but Lynette and I were in the maternity ward together when our daughters were born! Gus and I would volunteer for anything Lynette was involved in and share her passion for kids and literacy.

Preparing the costumes and making “The REaD Queen” special bookmarks was so much fun –almost as much fun and rewarding as it was having kids line up to have a story read to them. Children and their families came to the free event (there were over 50 vendors along with the police and fire departments all offering free kids activities), selected a gently

used donated book (Thank you Title Wave Books who gave me 10 boxes of used books!) of their choice and had special guest readers read them the story. There were so many kids that Lynette asked Gus to help some of the preteen and young teen kids select books and for Gus to even be a reader. After Gus read one young boy the book the boy had selected, the boy threw his arms around Gus’ neck and gave Gus a long, big hug! We all were a bit teary eyed witnessing such a tender sweet moment. Trying to help our kids have a positive experience with community service can be difficult. Just when I thought working on the costumes and reading books to young, eager ears was satisfying, the best part of the day was being able to witness Gus play a genuine part in community service and reap the rewards volunteering has to offer.

I just got an e-mail that said over 20,000 people attended the Kids Day event! WOW.

Gus, with KTUU weather forecaster, Jackie Purcell (Gus is smitten with sweet Jackie)


Tracey Broome said...

When Wesley was Gus's age, I worked for the Charlotte Repertory Theatre as a designer and had access to any of the costumes I wanted to borrow. You should have seen all of us at Halloween during those years! I looked for any excuse to dress up. Your costumes are fantastic!!! Reading is so important. I started reading to Wes the day she came home from the hospital and her vocabulary is one of those that you need a dictionary to understand some days :)

Judy Shreve said...

What a fabulous event! And your costumes are tremendous!

Linda Starr said...

What a great shot of you and Gus.

Patricia Griffin said...

Your costume is AWESOME!

cindy shake said...

Thanks guys! Gus was walking a little taller after the event but he wasn't too thrilled about my make-up. I had a hard time not showing my teeth when I smiled -but if I showed my teeth against that white face paint they looked yellow -ha!! eeewww!


You and Gus look amazing! Little Q would have loved to attend the event - he is CRAZY about books!