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Book Fair Helps Literacy Bloom

Books and blooms were on display at the historic Mill Neck Manor House recently where a family-oriented book fair, “Literacy Blooms” was held. With spring blossoms on view in the surrounding gardens, the interior of the mansion was the setting for a selection of children’s and adult books, along with their respective authors. This is the second year for the event, hosted by the Mill Neck Family of Organizations and the Long Island Authors Group (LIAG), with proceeds benefiting The Literacy Collaborative at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf.  

The Literacy Collaborative, one of the academic programs at the Mill Neck school, helps students acquire the literacy skills crucial to their schooling and futures. Results of the collaboration between intensive classroom instruction and consistent parental involvement demonstrate the Mill Neck students’ remarkable progress toward achieving the same level of literacy as their hearing peers.

John Cardone, founder and President Emeritus of LIAG, was present at this year’s book fair. A writer/producer of educational video programs, Cardone is also an avid kayaker and photographer and his latest book, Waterviews, combines both passions. Several years after self-publishing his first book, the need for an organization to assist local authors began to take shape.

“After publishing my book, I found I wasn’t having much success in selling or promoting it. I realized I had no clue how to go about marketing it.” This led to Cardone eventually organizing his first book fair for about 16 authors and, in 2008, starting the nonprofit LIAG.

In addition to helping authors increase their visibility and promote their books, LIAG frequently participates in community events like the Mill Neck book fair. Thirteen LIAG authors joined Cardone at “Literacy Blooms,” including Roland Allnach; Linda Maria Frank; Joe Giannola; Natasha Guruleva; Lois Kipnis; CB Knadle: Sandy Lanton; Dorothy McPartland; Russ Moran; James Perez; Boris Riskin; Jim Ryan and Ron Scott.

Several other authors participated as well. Edward Mirabella talked about his memoir, L’Only Child, which recounts his experience as a hearing child born to a mother who is deaf. Trisha Malfitano was on hand, offering a different experience with deafness. Malfitano, a children’s author, was accompanied by Kiefer, her deaf dog. She and Kiefer regularly visit the library at Mill Neck’s Deaf Education Center, as does Elyse Salpeter, who writes both adult and young adult stories. Rounding out the author attendees were Katherine Bart, an author and illustrator of many teddy bear-themed picture books and Kathryn Livingston, whose most recently published book is a biography of fashion icon Lilly Pulitzer.

For more information about Mill Neck programs and services, call 516-922-4100 or visit www.millneck.org.