LATHROP – Six-year-old Ryan Marquez did not even wait until he got home to start reading the two Mathew Gollub books he just bought.
First, he quickly devoured The Jazz Fly 2. When he finished, he passed it on to his father, Armando, who perused the heavily illustrated thin book with interest. Then Ryan eagerly started reading The Jazz Fly. He was so engrossed reading about the jazzy fly and other characters in the book that the din inside the Lathrop School Multi-purpose gym did not even bother him.
The conversation between the donkey and a fly on the first page immediately grabbed his attention:
“The fly saw a donkey short and gray,
So he flew – zzz – to ask him the way
Ryan’s young cousins – nine-year-old Mauricio Omar Estrada, and his brother Alec, 7 – were equally quiet, absorbed in their own autographed copy of Gollub’s award-winning children’s book which comes with an interactive CD that the young readers can play, sing-along and act out while reading the book. They were among the first ones to purchase copies of the books which Gollub then signed and personalized with the children’s names.
Armando Marquez brought his son and nephews to the book event while his wife, who was sick, stayed at home. He was one of several fathers who brought their children to the evening book extravaganza that included an interactive presentation by Gollub about his books, his drum, and his pet puppet Kiki, the monkey.
The presence of the male parents was in line with one of the messages that Gollub brought to the event Thursday evening. “Children need to see the men in their lives read or they may grow up thinking that reading is just for girls,” read one of the messages that accompanied one of the pictures in the slide show that he incorporated in his program Thursday evening.
“He really wanted this one,” Armando Marquez said, referring to The Jazz Fly books that he bought for his son that evening.
Like many high-tech savvy children nowadays, the young father who works as a truck driver said his son and nephews are interested in the latest video games just like other high-tech-savvy children today. “But they also like to read,” said Marquez who also admitted to being an avid reader.
While The Jazz Fly appeared to be the biggest hit among the young readers, Gollub’s other books were just as popular. Two-year-old Nayeli Salcedo picked “Ten Oni Drummers,” while her five-year-old cousin Emmanuel Salcedo picked “Gobble, Quack, Moon,” another book that is accompanied by a CD by Gollub. The two came to the event with their aunt, Lathrop City Council member and Lathrop School Language Arts teacher Martha Salcedo, who also brought along nieces Brianna, 9, and Genevie, 10.
The two-hour evening program capped a day-long visit by Gollub at the school where he met with various groups of students and their teachers.
Principal David Silveira said the author’s visit was made possible by a grant received by a group of Lathrop School teachers for their writing as part of the Great Valley Writing Project. Providing food and drinks for the evening were the school’s fifth graders who sold pizza to raise money for their Science Camp.
Also taking part in the evening book event were students and teachers from Mossdale Elementary in west Lathrop and Joseph Widmer School at Stonebridge north of Lathrop Road.