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Children's authors to speak Saturday at McHenry West

McHENRY – Inflatable bouncy houses, carnival games and lots of books will take over the gym and cafeteria at McHenry High School West Campus.

For the first time, the annual Kiddie Carnival, which will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the school, will be paired with a book and authors fair.

The event is open to the public.

Four children’s authors will be giving presentations throughout the day.

Karen Halvorsen Schreck of Wheaton will start at 10:30 a.m. and talk about her work as an author, read from her young adult book, “While He Was Away,” and answer questions.

She will be followed by Marianne Richmond of Minneapolis, who writes for young children, at 11:15 a.m. and Stew Cohen of Crystal Lake, who will talk about his radio career and his book.

Betty Davis of McHenry, who has written several chapter books for elementary-aged children, will conclude the authors fair with a presentation at 12:45 p.m.

Organizers will also be collecting books that will be given to area resource centers, schools, places that provide books for families in need and other places in need of books, said West Campus Assistant Principal Carl Vallianatos.

Economic disadvantage plays a big role in determining the reading ability of children, he said, adding that when money becomes tight, books are rarely in the budget for families.

The goal is “to really raise up the concept of literacy in general,” Vallianatos said. “So many of us take it for granted how important literacy is, not just in school but in life success.”

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