As way of promoting literacy among children and adults, in many countries including Alabama, the organization of annual book festivals has become common practice. The commercialization of book festivals, these last years, has had a far reaching effect across the globe. In fact, book festivals are based on old cultural and religious customary practices whereby the celebration of festivals has a traditional significance such as it earmarks seasonal changes and are spiritual ceremonies during which rites are performed to veneer deities and other spiritual entities.
But, in contemporary times, book festivals have an entirely different social and cultural significance. The primary aims of these fairs are to promote a culture of books and a culture of literacy among young children, adolescents and adults, to sensitize people about the importance of being literate in their native language and international foreign languages as well and to create awareness among the population of the significance of books and reading in the holistic development of children.
Hence, the social function of these festivals is not internationally recognized. They play an educational and communication role as they educate the public in the significance of being literate and the importance of reading in early learning. Hence, book festivals are a core component in the fight against illiteracy and low literacy levels.
In this respect, for book fairs to be a success, some topics are recurrent that have been set to ensure that these events meet their communication and educational objectives. Some of these topics that have contributed to the popularity of book festivals across the world including the Alabama Book Festival are developed underneath. This information will help people understand the social and cultural significances of these book events.
Promoting the concept that reading is fun
Many social scientists such as sociologists, anthropologists, pedagogues and other educational experts have unveiled that in modern days, more and more young children do not read books and worst do not like reading. For them reading is boring and outdating. Following the advent of Internet, video games and other technological innovations, children and adolescents spend more time watching TV or playing or on the Internet than read a nice book.
Besides, few parents in present days either buy books or take a membership in a library for their children. Comparing the market for games or telephones or other technologies with that of books is revealing on the consumptions patterns of children and parents. Hence, many studies have disclosed than in many societies, the gap in literacy differentials is deep with the literacy and numeracy levels among children being relatively low. Research findings also revealed that, in modern days, in both developed and developing countries there are still children and adolescents who face difficulties to read.
Illiteracy and low literacy levels continue to be a social plague having various socio-economic consequences such as academic and educational underachievement, low employability skills, limited socio-economic mobility and socialization problems. One of the root causes of these reading difficulties is children lack of interest in reading. Indeed most children as from an early age do not read or parents do not read books to their under aged kids and thus children do not grow up in a culture of books and reading.
Book festivals help to break the preconceived stereotype that reading is not fun and to build consciousness among parents and children of the importance of reading books as from an early age such as the positive impact of reading on cognitive development, academic achievement, socialization, social integration and carving the right niche. In this respect, the Alabama Book Festival has come up with children’s activities to show them that reading is fun.
New electronic devices like the Kindle e-reader have also made obtaining books and reading more accessible. Downloading these books to your e-reader is easily administered via the marketplace where these e-books are sold. Amazon Kindle E-Books is probably the largest marketplace in the world for e-books today.
In the 2012 festival edition like in previous ones, the public and children will have the opportunity to meet their favorite authors and pedagogical activities and games such as arts and crafts activities will be organized. Other happenings as well have been planned to build children’s curiosity and imagination aiming at developing their skills and senses and for them to develop a culture for book reading.
Fore more info about how important reading is for our kids, visit Reading Is Fundamental (RIF). RIF is the largest children’s literacy nonprofit organization in the United States.
Why people should buy books?
It has been established that one of the primary roles of schools and parents is get their children to read. One of the means of getting them to love books and encourage them to read is by exposing children to books as from their tender age. Buying books for children and having a private library at home is a way to introduce the latter to the world of books and for them to grow up in an environment where people respect and love reading books.
Indeed, it has been proved that when children are exposed to reading and to books as from early stages of life, they develop a curiosity for books and are encouraged to read. These two elements play a core role in the cognitive and socio-psychological develop of children. However not all families can afford buying new books especially in countries where books are expensive and the market is limited. But, nowadays, people can purchase new and used books online. Online shopping has democratized the access to books and often these secondary books are in good state and good quality as new ones. Besides, they can find great deals on the Internet such as discounts and clearance sales that are incentives that can make people save lots money.
These book festivals are also great opportunities for the public to meet booksellers and authors. They are a platform where fans can meet their role models and where booksellers can sell their products. Besides, readers have the chance to ask authors to sign their books.
Hence, while some people tend to see the purchase of books as expenses, yet they should rather conceive this spending as a lifetime investment. They are investing for the future of their children and in a sane leisure activity. In the long run they are guaranteed return on investment since studies have proved that reading and literacy skills have numerous beneficial effects such as they help to build self-confidence, a positive self-image and dignity. They have other social positive effects like in social integration and socialization processes.
Thanks to the internet it’s very easy to find good information when it comes to buying books, reading book reviews, joining discussion groups, forums and social communities. Places like Authors, www.authors.com, is one such place where authors, writers, and readers can partake in discussions or post their own blog posts. Facebook Groups is another great way to find groups of people with similar of interest that you can join.
So what are some of the most popular books people like to read today? Novels and fiction books are always on top of the best seller lists. In recent time biographies of famous people have become very popular. Also, professional and self-help publications are on rising demand. For instance, e-books on learning how to play poker better have risen in popularity in the last couple of years, PokerNet.com reports. Also books about how to improve your day-today life when it comes to stress or time management usually tops the list for that category.
An overview of the 2012 Alabama book festival edition
The seventh annual Alabama book festival, as the previous editions, will be organized in the historic downtown of Montgomery at Old Alabama Town. The event is scheduled for the 21st April 2012 as from 9 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon. Forty vendors and exhibitors are expected to participate in the event and a public of approximately four thousands visitors from around the state are expected to this annual rendezvous.
A series of activities will be organized to give the occasion to visitors to interact with vendors, exhibitors and their favorite authors. The book fair will be a platform for the public to buy books, learn more about the publishing world and meet featured authors. Booksellers and exhibitors will have the chance to market their services and products to authors and the public. This event is also an opportunity for authors to promote their books and meet publishers, distributors and retailers.
The 2012 program of activities is already online including the list of authors, vendors and exhibitors who will be present. Activities have been planned for both adults and children taking into consideration the expectations of the different publics that will attend this fair. The main events are categorized as follows: authors’ appearances, booksellers, book signs, exhibitors and children’s activities. Refreshments and amenities will be provided for visitors for want to organize a family picnic. All these activities and entrance are free.
Brief on Book Arts Program
This program aims at cultivating the art and craft of books hand making. Many institutions such as the Master of Fine Arts in the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama have developed courses to inculcate to students the art of books and book making including historical knowledge. The courses have been designed to combine both traditional artistic practices and modern ones to develop the students’ craft skills in line with historical techniques and principles, their artistic expressions and technical knowledge.
The objective of the Book Arts Program is to come up with professional artisans that, on one hand, have the technical proficiency in book making and, on the other hand, who are knowledgeable of the historical development of these crafts. The details about the goals and objectives of this program, admission requirements, course outline are available on the website of the School of Library and Information Studies.
The 2012 Alabama Book Festival is among a long tradition of promoting and encouraging a reading and literacy culture among people of all social and cultural backgrounds and of all age groups. It is often said that reading and books are dying cultures. But, fortunately, book fairs are contributing to revive these cultures. This festival can be placed within an international fight against illiteracy amongst children and adults. This annual celebration promotes the love for book and the joy and pleasure of reading. Besides it is also a family day whereby parents and children can enjoy a fun and nice time together.