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More than 100 exhibitors at literacy event

By Staff | Mar 11, 2011

The Common Ground International Book Fest 2011 was held last Saturday at the wellness center at Shepherd University.

The program was part of the Eastern Panhandle, WV Birth of Freedom Heritage Tour.

“This event is needed for our community to enhance literacy and to celebrate diversity within our culture and the different cultures within the Eastern Panhandle,” said Pamela Sanders Ellis, president of Harambee Conference, organizer for the event. “We are one nation with many great heritages. The self-determination of every American is what we want to celebrate – the spirit of individuals overcoming personal and any perceived group barriers to achieve their fullest human potential.”

She said 100 exhibitors and sponsors took part in the program.

One was Joan Jai, a retired reading teacher and playwright/actress and author of a play entitled “It’s in the Book.” Jai’s play was performed by local students from the Jefferson County school system.

“I thought the children did a first-class job with my play,” Jai said.

She said she wrote the play to promote reading and literacy among today’s youth.

Other presenters include Ilene Evans, who portrayed Harriet Tubman during breakfast at the beginning of the Book Fest, and Danny W. Pettry, an author and recreational therapist who hosted book signings for his current release, “Building Character with Sam, Izzy and Many Other Dogs.”

Bob O’Connor, a local author, gave a talk about his new book “The Life of Abraham Lincoln as President.”

The Book Fest drew a good crowd, according to Ellis, who was already looking forward to next year.

“When we did this last year, we only had about 20 exhibitors,” she said. “Next year I’m going to look at new ways to enhance our participation and to reach out to community so that we can make sure that we get more exposure to the event earlier.”