February 2011, Volume 15, Number 1


Captivating Minds at an Early Age

Princess Hyacinth cover

Encouraging children and their parents to read together through the “One Picture Book, One Community” program is just one of the many ways in which the Florida Center of the Literary Arts (FCLA) at Miami Dade College promotes the love of books.

This fall, the program – a perennial FCLA favorite – featured Florence Parry Heide’s Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated, which is illustrated by Lane Smith. The project was produced in partnership with Miami-Dade and Broward County Public Schools and backed by the support of a grant from the Assurant Corporate Giving Program, which put nearly 5,000 copies of the book into the hands of South Florida first-graders.

Jorden Cunningham, an FCLA program assistant, said 2,500 copies went to kids in Miami Dade, 2,000 to Broward children and an additional 400 were made available to parents and teachers who requested the book at www.flcenterlitarts.com.

“We want to promote literacy early on because it can set the foundation for strong academic performance throughout a lifetime,” Cunningham said. “The book also comes with an activity guide that provides games along with reading and writing activities that relate to the book.”

Cunningham said the "One Picture Book" program is an offshoot of an earlier FCLA initiative called “One Book, One Community,” which united South Florida book lovers by getting them to read and talk about the same work.

The FCLA, which promotes reading and writing throughout the year by presenting high-quality literary activities to all South Floridians, was established by MDC in 2001. The goal was to create an academic and cultural initiative that promotes the appreciation of literature and engages South Florida’s diverse community in an exchange of ideas.

— WV

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