Hundreds of kids attend ‘Cornbread’ event at Midtown center
BY DAYTONA TIMES STAFF
There were squeals of delight and plenty of giggles the afternoon of July 31 at the Midtown Cultural and Educational Center as students were treated to a visit by the 6-foot character “Cornbread’’ and author Vincent Taylor, creator of the popular children’s book series.
More than 350 kids attended the entertaining and highly interactive reading and literacy presentation by Taylor, whose “Cornbread’’ series, explores the adventures of a young African-American boy and his surroundings. The series focuses on different character traits including sportsmanship, obedience, courage.
Taylor, an educator from Duval County, uses rhythmic reading with rap during his interaction with the kids. Learning games using rap music and dance are his tools. Helping to keep the kids laughing and on their feet was Taylor’s tall buddy “Cornbread.’’
‘Thirsty for knowledge’
The children’s literacy event was sponsored by the City of Daytona Beach and the F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival 2016. Donna M. Gray-Banks is the director of festival.
“The event was fabulous because we brought children from all over the county to participate in this event. I want to believe that we have started a collaborative project of literacy that we can do again and again if funding and cooperative relations continue. Children are thirsty for knowledge and a book will take you places that you may never get to go, but it can fill your cup with experiences without having to be there,” Gray-Banks said.
‘Books in every home’
Gray-Banks pointed out the importance of these types of programs in helping children develop a love for books and reading.
“Friday is the end of everyone’s week and it is a relaxed time for the children. Children love to multi-task. This is a new generation so we have to give them knowledge of reading from all resources, art, music, poetry, rapping and theater, which are all part of language. Our goal is to have books in every home. It is one thing to get a book from the library and have to take it back, it is another to have your own library in your home.
“A family that reads together can accomplish almost anything. The F.R.E.S.H. Book Committee’s motto: ‘Literacy is a Legacy.’ Reach back and pour your knowledge and love of reading into a young person.’’
Each child at the July 31 event left with a free ‘Cornbread’ book.
Gray-Banks said the kids attending were from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Daytona Beach, New Smyrna Beach and the Summer Camp Youth of the City of Daytona Beach along with the YES Kids (youth summer employment program) and the Chiles Academy. The event also was open to the public so many neighborhood children attended as well.
‘Cornbread’ in classrooms
Taylor, an educator for 20 years, is the creator of the “Cornbread’’ series. The CEO of TriEclipse Publishing is a nationally acclaimed educational consultant and author of numerous publications.
His series includes “Cornbread Runs for Class President,’’ “Cornbread Has a Bad Habit,’’ “Cornbread Faces the School Bully’’ and “Cornbread and the Stolen Diamond Watch.’’ Taylor says the series was developed out of a need to address two voids that were prevalent in many classrooms – an absence of fictional books with a male protagonist and a lack of multicultural literature.
These books were preceded by Rhythmic Reading with Rap, a workbook and audio CD that Taylor created, which has now spawn into a standing-room-only, professional development and student presentation he calls “Reading, Rappin’ & Having Fun.’’
Along with taking his presentations to students, Taylor currently provides staff development support for teachers in Duval County while continuing to inspire educators across the country with his highly energizing workshops, which have been presented to more than 60,000 educators.
The Midtown event also was attended by local counselors, teachers and principals.