Volume 3, Number 7 - December 4, 2012

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A woman painting a child's face at the 2012 Miami Book Fair International
Facial Expression: Face painting was a popular activity for kids in the Children's Alley at the Miami Book Fair International. The Alley provided families a fun and educational getaway at an affordable price. GREGORY CASTILLO / THE REPORTER

Hundreds Of Thousands Attend MBFI in Downtown

By Amanda Rodriguez

Miami Book Fair International from The Reporter on Vimeo.

After a week of literary fun, the books are gone.

For eight days—Nov. 11 through the 18—an estimated 200,000 people, 460 authors, and 200 exhibitors gathered at the 29th Miami Book Fair International.

The event featured food tastings, theater productions and the popular “Evenings with...” series  with renowned writers such as Tom Wolfe, Adam Gopnik,  Pulitzer prize-winner Junot Diaz, and Sandra Cisneros.

Bright, colorful tents piled with books lined the streets of  Wolfson Campus during the Street Fair as crowds bought books at discounted prices.

Lianelys Alvarez, a 19-year-old computer arts animation major at Wolfson Campus was ecstatic to see her campus transformed into the Book Fair.

"I bought four books, and I'm going back for more in a little while and probably tomorrow as well," Alvarez said during the Book Fair. "It looks like a great turnout this year because I see a lot more people than I did last year. The food is great, the comic tents have some great titles, and there's just so much to see."

Stacey Schwartz, an employee of the Murder on the Beach Mystery bookstore and volunteer at the Book Fair said it was nice meeting so many new people who love books.

"It's nice that people are listening to my suggestions," Schwartz said. "I usually go up to people who come in and tell them that a certain book is good, and they'll usually end up taking it with them."

Jasmin Mercedes, a mass communications major at the Wolfson Campus volunteered at the FFEA Savy Concepts tent.

"A lot of kids are buying books," Mercedes said. "I like being a part of this because I like helping kids and helping them explore and learn."

At the Generation Genius area in the Children’s Alley, kids enjoyed activities such as face painting, the mad science lab experiments, the rhythm factory, healthy body happy kids, tot time play and learn and one world—many stories.

Sonja Moore, 9, a student at Dr. Edward L. Whigham Elementary was fascinated as she stood by her father who held a box of Star Wars pop up books that were donated to the school.

"I love the books most of all,” Moore said. “The mad science lab was my favorite tent because I got to learn in a fun way by playing games.”

Suzanne Litrel author of the series, Jackie Tempo and the House of Wisdom, was among the writers who participated in Generation Genius and the writer’s row. Her series takes place in China, Brazil, and Baghdad where she has traveled to and lived.

"As a kid, I hated my textbooks, so I started this series to teach students,” Litrel said. “By reading a story, they are able to learn about the history of our world in a fun way," Litrel said.

Meanwhile, food tents with roasted corn, crepes, Greek flame foods filled hungry stomachs.

But the focus remained the books. That was never more evident than with  seven-year-old Katherin Garcia a student at John G. Dupuis Elementary who clutched her mother’s hand and a bag of books.

"This is my first time at the Book Fair, and I asked my mommy to take me every year because I get to learn new things and dance," Garcia said. "There are no bookstores around my house...I like it here because it is like one big bookstore."

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