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Reading among radishes
Storytime takes place inside Manteca Save Mart
Save Mart nutritional program specialist Erin Tassey, left, explains the nutritional value of a coconut during Wednesday’s Manteca Library story time at the West Yosemite Avenue store. - photo by HIME ROMERO
Zulma Castellanos couldn’t help but smile as she followed along with Manteca Librarian Ruthanne Bassett during Wednesday’s story hour.

The fact that she got the chance to do so as well as get a tour of the West Yosemite Avenue Save Mart – the site of this week’s library read-along – only made the afternoon ever more special for the five-year-old that has been a regular at the community gatherings ever since her mother first learned of them.

“We like to read at home, and this gives her a chance to be around other kids her age while enjoying the benefits of reading,” said Luz Castellanos. “It’s been great for her to be around kids her age, and it’s really helped her develop a love for reading and stories.

“I think that events like this are great for kids.”

While the monthly read-along is normally held inside of the McFall Room at the Manteca Library, Bassett – who operates the program – is currently in the middle of a mini-tour that has not already credited with the Manteca District Ambulance headquarters as one stop, but is also scheduled to progress on to City Hall on March 18 to give those who turn out a chance to learn more about their local government.

“We’ve got a pretty good turnout today, and everybody seems to have a good time and events like this,” Bassett said. “The change of venue is something that the kids like, and they get little perks on top of that like tours that really seem to be a big hit once the read-along finally wraps up.”

According to Save Mart Manager Luke Hansen, events like the read-along are somewhat unique, but at the same time very much welcomed by the store – allowing them to reach out into the community that supports them and offer the children something different.

Representatives from the Union Bank of California branch inside of the store were also on hand to hand out balloons to the children who eagerly waved them around while a staff member pointed out various aspects of the grocery store.

“Our community is our lifeline, and events like this give us a chance to not only get to know people here in town, but allows us to give something back to the kids – and that’s something that everybody is happy to be a part of,” Hansen said. “So far this is something that everybody seems to be enjoying.”