One Book, One San Diego at the El Cajon Branch Library

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By Victoria Gonzalez

FOR THE EAST COUNTY CALIFORNIAN

As part of its 10th anniversary, KPBS’s One Book, One San Diego, in partnership with Girl Scouts San Diego, flew in Mr. Morris Lessmore’s Fantastic Flying Books to El Cajon Library this past Saturday to help promote literacy and a love of reading in local children. 

By Victoria Gonzalez

FOR THE EAST COUNTY CALIFORNIAN

As part of its 10th anniversary, KPBS’s One Book, One San Diego, in partnership with Girl Scouts San Diego, flew in Mr. Morris Lessmore’s Fantastic Flying Books to El Cajon Library this past Saturday to help promote literacy and a love of reading in local children. 

One Book, One San Diego is a binational program where people from both sides of the border nominate recent books for a kind of community-wide book club where the same books are discussed around the region in a variety of events throughout the year. The program includes selections for adults, teenagers and children. 

This year, the selection for children was the same as in 2015, “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” by William Joyce, the inspiration behind an Academy Award winning short film of the same name.

Minhhieu Phamvu, Girl Scouts San Diego’s Troop Support Specialist and the Lead Event Coordinator for the event, said the reason that book was picked again in 2016 as the One Book selection was that this year there was no other winner in the category and the message in “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” was still relevant today. She said the book was a wonderful story about how books and inspiration from words can revive the human spirit.

“It was inspired in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and how it shook the town, but given the imaginative and creative aspects of storytelling, building your own story helps find courage,” she said.

At the event, all children got a One Book patch for free with the book so they could follow along during story time.

Linda Morales, who is originally from La Mesa, took her daughter Sylvia, 7, to the event and said although it was the first time she had visited El Cajon Library, she loved the combination of the reading, watching the short film based on the book and the arts and crafts activities.

“I loved the craft was fun for my daughter. Storytelling was a lot of fun as well,” she said. “It was a well-rounded event.”

Hildie Kraus, the library’s Branch Manager said she was happy the library partnered with Girl Scouts and KPBS.

“We are very happy about the partnership, it’s important to KPBS as a nonprofit and the Girl Scouts of course are a wonderful organization with a very rich history,” she said. “The library loves to expand its reach by forming partnerships like this.”

Krauer talked about the positive influence One Book had in the community.

“We have a very richly diverse community, and this is a way of focusing on the positive aspects of El Cajon,” she said. “The great thing I love about this program is that it brings people together, and in our county that is a really really important goal with the part the library plays in being a neutral, welcoming place, and it’s kind of a wonderful thing.” 

Phamvu said the program was a fantastic way to inspire both young and old readers.

“Books and literature can transform us. A story takes us to different places,” she said. “So it’s either an escape from something that’s troublesome or it can bring all our communities together.”

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