Claire’s Day marks eighth yearWritten by Julie Ryan | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Rubini said she wanted to do something to honor her daughter, Claire, who died at the age of 10 in July 2000 of a heart condition.
She began searching for ideas, and sparked by her daughter’s love of reading, founded Claire’s Day, a book festival and celebration of Claire’s life.
The event continues to grow and is now in its eighth year. The 2009 Claire’s Day will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. May 16 at the Maumee Public Library.
Rubini said Claire loved what most 10-year-olds love: dancing, making crafts, playing sports, but most of all, reading.
“She oftentimes used reading books as an excuse to get out of doing chores,” Rubini said. “Dinner would be ready and I would call her down and she would say, ‘Mom, can I just finish this book?’ … After she died, we felt compelled to do something in her honor.”
Claire’s Day is a family-oriented book festival featuring children’s book authors and illustrators from around the nation, but mainly from Ohio, Michigan and Indiana.
Linda Hoetzl began volunteering at Claire’s Day six years ago. She joined the committee four years ago and serves as a volunteer administrative assistant. Hoetzl said she loves being at Claire’s Day to see families in the tents and interacting with authors.
Rubini, a Toledo Free Press contributor, will join the seven authors at the event this year, with the release of her first book, “Hidden Ohio” from Mackinac Island Press. Her publisher, Anne Lewis, attended Claire’s Day two years ago and approached her about writing a book. Rubini said the book is geared toward children between preschool and sixth grade and has a lot of historical elements and drawings. “Hidden Ohio” will be for sale at Claire’s Day.
Leading up to the May 16 events, the authors will visit local schools to share their work and read aloud. Rubini said the schools pay for the guest speaker’s honorarium, and Claire’s Day Inc. covers visit expenses. Area hotels have partnered with Claire’s Day Inc. to provide complimentary guest rooms. Claire’s Night will take place May 15 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library’s children’s section at the Main Library. Tickets are $65. Authors and illustrators will be at the event and signing work. Food, beverages and music will be provided.
“Claire’s Night is wonderful because all of those adults who help children read get an opportunity to talk with like-minded adults and meet the authors,” Hoetzl said.
Rubini said one of her favorite aspects of Claire’s Day is Claire’s Awards For Reading Excellence (C.A.R.E.) awards.
“The C.A.R.E. awards are a highlight of the day,” she said. “These are children that have been nominated by their principals by working hard to improve their reading. The stories are just amazing: the children that are reading way below grade level, and then something happens and they blossom.”
“I love the C.A.R.E. awards; I think it’s really cool for the kids to come up on stage and get their certificate for what I think is a really important part of learning,” Hoetzl said.
Rubini said the Claire’s Day committee consists of 25 members who volunteer their time — a “labor of love.”
“The whole spirit of what it is about is a tribute to a young reader that left us too soon, a way of celebrating her life and tribute to reading,” she said.
On the Web: visit www.clairesday.org and click on links for more.