“The more you read, the more you know…,” a moral shared by City of Opalocka Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor after reading aloud a collection of Aesop Fables and other short stories, to an assorted grade of intensely and attentively engrossed Grace Academy students, ranging from kindergarten to sixth grade, in celebration of National Library Week, April 10-16, 2011 at the Opa-locka Branch of the Miami-Dade County Library, 780 Fisherman Street, #140, Opa-locka, Florida 33054.
“Reading will take you places you never go, and teach you things you’ll never know,” said Commissioner Rose Tydus when her turn arrived to continuing the celebration of National Library Week with K-2nd graders from Dr. Robert B. Ingram Elementary School. Tydus chose to read Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughter, an African Tale about two sisters; Manyara who was cruel and selfcentered, and Nyasha who was the complete opposite. In the story, a King wanted to choose one of the sisters as his wife. Transformed into a snake, the king discovered that Manyara was so self-centered she ignored a hungry child’s plea for food, among other selfish things. But Nyasha fed the hungry child, along with other kind acts. The students learned from the book that the King chose his queen for reasons based on each girl’s character and behavior.
In 1957, National Library Week was developed by the National Book Committee as a plan, based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of the American Library Association (ALA) and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme “Wake Up and Read!” But, when the National Book Committee disbanded in 1974, ALA assumed full sponsorship.
This was the fourth year that the Opalocka Library Branch, which opened in the summer of 2007, invited City, County and Community leaders to assist during National Library Week in bringing awareness to the vital role that libraries play in the literacy, development, growth, understanding and enrichment of our youth. Emphasizing the importance of reading and utilizing the library as a resource and a valuable asset in helping the youth advance in education, Mayor Taylor encouraged parents to bring their children to the library, and the children to travel and excel by consistently reading… not only to themselves, but also to their parents. “Reading will expose the children to places outside of the City of Opa-locka,” said the Mayor.
Among the impromptu stories told and read by the Mayor, two were tall tales about little mice; The Library Mouse and The Lion and the Mouse. During the latter, students interacted with comments and giggled as the Mayor verbalized, in a tiny animated rodent voice, a promise to come-back one day to help the Lion, if he would not eat her; he didn’t and she did return. The youth willingly became involved with questions and responses as the Mayor, becoming “quite the character,” engaged them in participation. When inquiring about the moral of the story, Taylor was bombarded with an array of answers from, “you never know when you’re gonna need help,” to “be nice to others, so they will be nice to you,” and “even small animals can help.” All correctly stated, but the Mayor commented that the most important lesson she learned, was to “keep your promise!” She then promised the student that the more they read, “…the more you’ll understand the world around us!” She then asked the students to write a story, the way “The Library Mouse” did in the book she read. The Mayor then promised to read each of the stories written by the students, if the stories are delivered to her office.
Second grader Samariah Collie from Dr. Robert B. Ingram Elementary School, a member of “Generating Experience by Motivating Enthusiastic Readers” (GEMER) and an avid reader, understood the message in Commissioner Tydus’ book to mean, “When you do good, good things happen to you.” Samariah said she reads at least three books per week and enjoys trips to the library.
Although National Library Week is only observed in April each year, readers like Samariah can visit the Opalocka Branch of the Miami- Dade Public Library Monday through Thursday and Saturdays from 9:30 AM to 6:00 PM. The Library is closed on Friday and Sunday. For information on other programs offered by the Opalocka Branch Library call: 305 688-1134.
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