Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, the Newark Public Library, Parents magazine, Parents Latina magazine, and Highlights magazine partnered to present “Reading Under the Stars” on Wednesday at the Clinton Avenue Sound Stage.

At the free event, the three magazines gave out free issues and workbooks, the library registered parents and children for Newark Public Library Cards, an African Griot did readings, and African Drummers performed. Source of Knowledge gave out free books to attendees. The event was an initiative of the Office of Special Projects “Summer Fun 2021” program.

“Newark’s last school year was a challenging one for our students and teachers alike, because COVID-19 forced us to adopt virtual learning,” Baraka said. “At the ‘Reading Under the Stars’ event, we will connect our youth with books, which will empower and inspire children to achieve greatness in their own lives and the world at large. A love of early reading fosters a lifetime of success.”

There was also a book giveaway and a screening of the Disney movie “Soul.”

“Mayor Ras Baraka understands that building literacy is one of the most powerful tools for empowerment. Literacy is a top priority for the Office of Comprehensive Community Education (OCCE),” said Dr. Sharnee Brown, the city’s newly appointed Chief Education Officer. “This ‘Reading Under the Stars’ event is a celebration and a reminder to our youth that we are in this together. Partnering with the Department of Special Projects, the OCCE seeks to fuel the excitement of reading and connect our wonderful Newark residents with more resources in the community.”

“Highlights is a longtime champion of children’s literacy and the far-reaching impact it has on the lives of young readers everywhere,” said Highlights for Children CEO Kent Johnson. “We’re proud to put Highlights and High Five magazines in the hands of children throughout the Newark community and support Mayor Baraka’s critical mission to engage and encourage as many children as possible to pick up a book or magazine and read this summer.”

“At Parents, we believe that encouraging and inspiring young readers is one of the most valuable things moms and dads can do for their kids. We’re proud to support this year’s Reading Under the Stars event,” said Julia Edelstein, Editor in Chief of Parents.

“The Source of Knowledge motto is ‘It takes a village to educate a child,’ and we believe in that motto and in supporting our City and community with literacy programs,” said Source of Knowledge Owner Masani Barnwell-George.

“The Newark Public Library is delighted to partner with the City of Newark and the Source of Knowledge bookstore in hosting this event. When children and teens are encouraged to normalize reading books for pleasure outside of the classroom with regular visits to the library as well as participating in engaging cultural events that frame literacy in fun, it makes them better readers and can be critical to improving their academic experience when they do return to the classroom,” said Newark Public Library Directory Joslyn Bowling Dixon.

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