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Area Kids Encouraged to "Read a Mountain of Books"

July marks the beginning of a new program called "Frostburg Reads A Mountain of Books." This venture has been designed to encourage children to read throughout the year. Students in the area will be challenged to read 2,900 books, which corresponds to the height in feet of Big Savage Mountain.

Authors and illustrators attending the Frostburg State University Summer Author Institute will play a critical role in this program. These award-winning authors and illustrators will speak to the children at the Frostburg Palace Theatre, on Main Street in Frostburg. Prior to their presentations the children will participate in a read-aloud at Main Street Books, the Tombstone Café or the West Winds kite shop. Following the read-aloud, children are invited to participate in an art activity at the Frostburg Library, the General Art Store, or the Mountain Art Studio. Admission is free, and reading enthusiasts from all arenas are welcome. Autographing by the visiting authors and illustrators will be available also during this program.

This three-day event will begin on Tuesday, July 9, with award-winning writer Matt Novak. Novak has been making up stories and pictures for as long as he can remember. He grew up in the small town of Sheppton, Pa., where he spent a lot of time daydreaming.

He has worked as a puppeteer, a teacher and a Disney artist. While at Disney, he worked on such films as "Rescuers Down Under" and "Beauty and the Beast." Now he creates books that make him laugh and he hopes children will enjoy them too.

Among his many titles are "The Robobots," "Little Wolf-Big Wolf," and the soon to be released, "No Zombies Allowed." Some of Novak's books have received awards. "Mouse TV" was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a Parent's Choice Honor recipient. "Newt" received the IRA Children's Choice Award.

Wednesday, July 10, will welcome the much-anticipated return of award-winning Deborah Wiles to Frostburg. "Freedom Summer," Deborah Wiles' first book was chosen by Oprah Winfrey for inclusion on her Recommended Children's Book Reading List.

"Love, Ruby Lavender" is Wiles' first novel and is about a young girl in a small Mississippi town, who used to have a fun life, until her grandmother moved to Hawaii for the summer to spend time with her new grandbaby. Now, Ruby is stuck reading to some chickens, sweeping floors at the general store, and being tortured by Melba Jane. Ruby pours out her heart to her grandmother in letter after letter, but there is one thing that Ruby cannot tell even her grandmother. Miss Ruby Lavender will definitely pull at the heartstrings.

On Thursday, July 11, seashore naturalist Larry Points will speak to the children. Points spent much of his career as a naturalist and Chief of Park Interpretation at Assateague Island National Service.

Following his retirement, Larry embarked on a new career, in 1990, as a co-author of three children's nature books, "Assateague - Island of Wild Ponies," "Ribbons of Sand -- Exploring Atlantic Beaches" and "Barrier Islands are for the Birds."

These books contain unique photographs and accurate text on subjects of seashore interest, and teach children about environmental concerns of the sensitive seashore habitat. Interested children can go to the Palace Theatre at 3 p.m. on any or all days from July 9 to 11 for their free admission ticket.

These events are sponsored in part by the Allegany County Libraries, the Children' s Literature Centre, Friends of the Frostburg Library, Frostburg Main Street Program, Frostburg Palace Theatre Inc., FSU Summer School, the General Art Studio, Main Street Books, the Mountain Art Studio, the Tombstone Café and the West Wind kite store.

For more information call (301) 687-4420 or e-mail or or call (301) 687-0790.

FSU is committed to making all of its programs, services and activities accessible to persons with disabilities. To request accommodations through the ADA Compliance Office, call (301) 687-4102, TDD (301) 687-7955.

For further information on this release, contact:

Office of News and Media Services
Frostburg State University
101 Braddock Road
Frostburg, MD  21532-2303

Telephone: 301-687-3171
Fax: 301-687-7589