Livingstone Children’s Book Festival is Saturday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 27, 2016

By Laurie D. Willis

Livingstone College News Service

SALISBURY – The annual Livingstone College Children’s Book Festival will be held on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the institution’s front lawn.

The fun-filled event offers free food, entertainment, a Bounce House, games and other activities for kids and is free to the public. Willa Brigham, a two-time Emmy Award Winning host of WRAL’s television show “Smart Start” will serve as guest storyteller. She is the author of “The Pizza Tree” and also a performing artist, writer and inspirational speaker.

“We are delighted to have someone of Ms. Brigham’s caliber participate in our annual Children’s Book Festival,” said Livingstone’s UNCF Director Deborah F. Johnson. “She has written a children’s book and is well-known for her ability to tell stories in an engaging fashion. I encourage all parents who bring their children to Saturday’s festival to ensure they stay long enough to hear Ms. Brigham’s presentation because it will be well worth the wait. She is a dynamic speaker and will relate well to the children. I’m an adult, and I don’t mind admitting that I’m excited about hearing her!”

The Children’s Book Festival is held in memory of Salisbury’s own international storyteller Jackie Torrence, also known as “The Story Lady.” Ironically, Torrence overcame a speech impediment as a child to become a world renowned storyteller. According to information on, Torrence used “animated language and facial expressions, hisses, shrieks and other homespun vocal efforts,” to breathe new life into the art of storytelling.” It also said “her retelling of African-American folktales and classic ghost stories, as well as her delivery of modern tales,” established her as a strong presence among contemporary storytellers worldwide.

The Children’s Book Festival is designed to help shape positive attitudes and to encourage an appreciation for books and reading for children ages 3-12. Each child who attends the festival gets to choose two books to take home. Parents must be accompanied by their children to receive the free books, Johnson said.

Livingstone is proud to sponsor the annual Book Festival, Johnson said.

“As an institution of higher learning, Livingstone is committed to doing everything in our power to ensure Salisbury-area children get off to a solid educational start,” Johnson said. “Reading and writing are key to academic success, and that’s why we get so excited every year toward the end of April because we know our campus’ front lawn will be filled with children who we can inspire to get excited about reading. There’s so much that can be learned from just picking up a book or browsing a child-appropriate web site, and we want to encourage area children to read as much as they can.”

In the case of inclement weather, the festival will be moved inside the J.W. Walls Center on Livingstone’s campus, 801 W. Thomas St.

For more information, call Johnson at 704-216-6118 or Marsha Mitchell at 704-216-6120.