The book festival is held each year to honor the memory of Claire Rubini, who passed away at the age of 10 from a heart condition in 2000. The event was started by her mother Julie as a way for her daughter’s child-like spirit to live on in her absence.
Claire’s Day embraces all of her favorite activities, including storytellers, dancing, arts and crafts, as wells as reading. The mission of the nonprofit Claire’s Day Inc. mission is to inspire children of all ages and their families to be lifelong readers through exposure to a variety of literary opportunities and experiences.
The Claire’s Day book festival now draws children’s book authors and illustrators from around the country. The authors and illustrators meet with young readers to discuss their craft and sign books. Some of the authors serve as storytellers and spend time reading to children. There are hands-on activities and live music for kids grades pre-K through 12.
Among the authors and illustrators scheduled to appear are: Mark Crilley, Rhonda Gowler Greene, Valiska Gregory, Bruce Langton, John Manders, Kristin Nitz, Elizabeth Raum, Betsy Snyder, Lisa Wheeler, and Cinda Williams Chima.
A highlight of the day is the C.A.R.E. Awards (Claire’s Awards for Reading Excellence), which are presented to students recognized by their schools for being the most improved in their reading skills. Principals from the greater Toledo area may nominate elementary and middle school-age students in for the awards. Over 400 C.A.R.E. Awards will be distributed to some 65 schools around the region, which is a new record for Claire's Day.
Since 2001, Claire’s Day has awarded over 1,800 C.A.R.E. Awards, hosted 83 authors and illustrators, and donated $27,500 to the Library Legacy Foundation. Those funds are earmarked specifically toward the purchase of books written or illustrated by the upcoming Claire’s Day participants.
The group that organizes Claire’s Day also plans and coordinates a variety of events and activities the week leading up to the book festival. Events include visits to area schools by authors and illustrators; a grant program to benefit schools and libraries; and Claire’s Night, a fund-raising event for adults.
Claire’s Night is a cocktail reception for authors and illustrators which serve as a prelude to the children’s book festival. Claire’s Night is scheduled 7-10 p.m. on Thursday, May 16 in the McMaster Center at Main Library, 325 Michigan St.
The business-attire event is $65 per person and will feature dining stations, along with festive complimentary beverages and live music. The evening also will feature as silent auction and the unveiling of art pieces by Claire’s Day illustrators Bruce Langton and John Manders.
For additional information, visit toledolibrary.org, or call Claire’s Day, Inc. at 567.712.1180.