Tales of Our Cities

Thank you for the wonderful response to the
JCFPL “Tales of Our Cities” book festival.

All entries have been received.
The deadline has passed, and application is closed.

Please join us on Sunday, Sept 21, 2014
Grove Street Plaza, Downtown Jersey City, NJ
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. / Rain or Shine!

On a gorgeous late summer Sunday, the 6th annual book festival, Tales of Our Cities 2013 was presented by the Jersey City Free Public Library and the Jersey City Division of Cultural Affairs on September 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. With that change in name and day, over 100 people enjoyed their Sunday at the beautiful Victorian Van Vorst Park in Jersey City, N.J., across the street from the Main Library at Jersey Avenue and Montgomery Street, interacting with authors and hearing them read from the books they wrote.

Expansion into full park usage on Sunday allows for a separate Children’s author presentation area for the 10 children’s authors, with a full all-day schedule of authors geared to children (grades K-5) and young adults (grades 6-8).

Children’s faces glistened with face painting and smiles, as storytellers from the Library wove their tales in between the featured children’s authors. There was even the ancient art of henna from India applied to females’ hands and arms – all in fun! Many thanks to library employees Dolores Reyes, Julie Metri, Mani Patel, Vilma Gomez and Liz Cartaina for their expert abilities in entertaining children.

Ten books each from the participating authors are bought by the Jersey City Free Public Library for inclusion in the collections of the Main Library and nine branches.

For Children: Cherese Bracey (Story Time Friends / The Case of the Withering Books), Craig Howard (Plumster Bunny 2: Bullies in Plumsterville), Jeremiah Kleckner (Capt. James Hook and the Curse of Peter Pan), Clarence V. Matthews (School Days), Lara Saguisag (Cat Eyes / Children of Two Seasons), whose Filipino ethnicity features strongly in her stories and poetry.

For Young Adults: Ralph W. Baker Jr. (Shock Exchange), Theresa Borrelli (Why is Jamie Different?), Amy Evans (Clicks), Jane F. Pedler (The Rainbow Well), and Rick Stromoski, creator of comic strip, Soup to Nutz.

YA author highlights: Ralph Baker’s Shock Exchange is not only a book; it’s an organization that focuses on financial literacy for youth. Rick Stromoski of Soup to Nutz fame will be reading and giving a demonstration on how to draw, making sure each child walks away with a drawing.

“Staging a book festival is one way that the Library works to increase the awareness of the importance of reading,” said Assistant Library Director Sonia Araujo, who also chairs the book festival committee. “Tales of Our Cities brings together authors and readers to Jersey City, shining a light on the talent we have in New Jersey.”

Along with those name and date changes came an expanded array of talented authors and performers, totaling 30 authors and five performers, including two authors of national repute, Rick Stromoski, creator of the popular and award-winning comic strip, Soup to Nutz, who demonstrated drawing his cartoon characters to children, and presenting his latest book, Soup to Nutz: A Second Helping, throughout the day; and former NBA basketball player, Luther Wright, whose memoir, A Perfect Fit, is a study on ‘don’t do what I did’ and an inspiration for how to conduct your life differently.

For teens and adults, there are 20 authors and five performers at the gazebo in Van Vorst Park.

For Teens: Elijah M. Brown (In Two Weeks, poetry) and Donald L. Jones (The Elitist, a novel).

For Adults: Jemmie Adams (Running With No Feet, Parts 1 & 2), Mark Baird (The Idiom Magazine), Saideh Browne (Life Remixed), Vincent Czyz (Adrift in a Vanishing City), Debra A. Daly (The Marriage Proposal), Joe Del Priore (Plowed In), Elliott Fant (The Execution of Revolution), Jacqueline Hallenbeck (Poem-atic), Steven Hart (American Dictators: A Dual Biography on Frank Hague & Nucky Johnson), Yvonne Hernandez (3 Monologues), Jamal Hinnant (Encore), Valerie Angelina Mitchell (Emotional Rollercoaster: A Depicted Mind), Joe Montaperto (The Edge of Whiteness), Bill O’Dea (The Legacy of Haguesville), Hank Quense (Falstaff’s Big Gamble), Tameka S. “Earth” Raines (I Am Poetry), Ramon Terry (Defined Mental State), and Luther Wright (A Perfect Fit).

Adult’s authors highlights: Bill O’Dea is an author who knows politics, and his The Legacy of Haguesville was the expected crowd-pleaser. Equally, Steven Hart knows where the secrets are (having presented at the 2009 book festival about the building of the Pulaski Skyway), so his American Dictators, about Frank Hague and Nucky Johnson (changed to Thompson, in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire), captured the audience, as well. While not as well-known locally as the other two, Joe Montaperto’s The Edge of Whiteness wound up being a timely book, dealing with ethnic and racial prejudice in a way that transcends the personal and gives a glimpse into how misread cues actually can become positive gateways.

The performers all have a tie-in with words, mostly as singer/songwriters or a rapper. However, Sylvie Bayeux, a dancer, presented something completely different: Dancing, with Narration. The piece? U.S., huh?! And, then… There’s comedian Jamal Tyson Hinnant, who presented his aptly named book, Encore.

Rounding out Tales of Our Cities 2013, the vendor area has increased, with 10 of the 13 promised vendors showing up for the book festival. Participants: Jersey City Free Public Library (library card registration / many thanks to Library Director Priscilla Gardner and library employees Cynthia Raysor and Teresa Fairley), Richard La Rovere (commercial artist), Lady Lucas (Ashley Lucas, author & illustrator), Metropolitan Family Health Network, Jersey City (Christina Gordon, outreach coordinator), P.A.C.O. Weatherization program, NJ Division of Child Protection & Permanency (Hudson County office), NJ TIP (Travel Independence Program / transportation tips from Rutgers University), Semaj Publishing (LaVon Featherstone, publisher), The WHY Center (Shamina Allen, executive director), and the Van Vorst Park Association.

For the latest on programs, events, and special announcements please follow the Library on Facebook or Twitter at Jersey City Free Public Library. Visit us on the web at www.jclibrary.org for all information on the Library, including all press releases in The Press Room.

Author's Biographies (PDF)

Check out the JCFPL YouTube channel for "Tales of Our Cities" book festival videos.

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A Tale of Our City 2012 Picture Gallery

A Tale of Our City 2011 Picture Gallery

A Tale of Our City 2010 Picture Gallery

A Tale of Our City 2009 Picture Gallery


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