The USC Civic Engagement tent at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books hosted by USC on April 20-21 offered activities designed to spark knowledge, imagination and creativity.
Activities included arts and crafts, a cartoon character workshop led by Lalo Alcaraz, and readings and signings by journalist Sheri Fink and authors Jervey Tervalon and Ranada Shepard. Among the guests was Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, who read Dr. Seuss’ Oh, the Places You’ll Go! to the young audience.
Hamill told the young readers about the importance of reading.
“Books are a window to the world. … I can’t imagine people reaching their potential without reading, without being curious,” said Hamill, who shares a commitment to community with his wife, Marilou, a board member of the Civic Engagement Board of Advisers.
Adding to the list of literacy ambassadors were the thousands of people who donated books this year. Approximately 42,000 books were donated to the USC Family of Schools, a more than 400-percent increase from last year. Several large donations — including those made by Piccolo’s Books, the Ella Fitzgerald Charitable Foundation and the Reading Is Fundamental organization — helped to break the book drive record. The donations will help replenish classroom libraries and provide for book bundles that students can take home.
“We really look forward to the LA Times Festival of Books weekend,” said Craig Keys, associate senior vice president for Civic Engagement. “It is an exciting time that celebrates literacy and community in Los Angeles.”
The USC Civic Engagement office will be accepting book donations until the end of the month.