Literacy became a cause worth celebrating at a recent Totem Books event, complete with food, music, and dancing.
As part of festivities in conjunction with National Independent Bookstore Day on April 28, the Hispanic Technology & Community Center hosted “Celebrando Dia del Niño y Dia del Libro” at the downtown Flint bookstore.
Combining the Latino community’s love of its youth with an emphasis on building bonds through reading, the event’s title translates to “Celebrating the Day of the Child and the Day of the Book.” Along with a featured performance of Mexican dances for parents and children by El Ballet Folklórico Estudiantil guests at the event enjoyed Mariachi-style music, storytelling, and a book sale.
The bookstore welcomed visitors from throughout the community and Southeast Michigan.
“It’s important for the youth of Flint to be exposed to multicultural traditions and to see that what we do here influences a broader audience beyond Flint,” says Tyler Bailey, Totem Books manager. “Participants came from surrounding communities as far away as Detroit to attend this event.
“Totem Books is the only independent book store in Flint and is a place where knowledge lives,” Bailey says. “We want to create a safe place where everyone feels welcome.”
Along with welcoming visitors of various backgrounds to the store for regular events ranging from “Jazz Nights” to “Drag Queen Bingo,” the Totem Books staff says the store stresses the “power of activities” and cultural programs like Celebrando Dia del Niño y Dia del Libro.”
“Events like the one today are important to Flint’s youth,” says staffer Oscar Chavez, a descendant of Mexican immigrants.
Asa Zuccaro, executive director of the Hispanic Technology & Community Center of Greater Flint, says he’s pleased that children responded to the books that were showcased. Poor literacy impacts both Flint’s Latino residents and the wider city.
“We love to see the level of engagement these events bring to the community,” Zuccaro says. “The kids really paid attention to the readings, which featured stories in English, Spanglish and Spanish.”
Totem Books is located at 620 W. Court St. in Flint.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about Totem Books visit their website: totembooksflint.com
For more information on the Hispanic Technology & Community Center of Greater Flint visit: https://www.mcc.edu/hispanic_ctc