A story that begins with Once upon a time is an invitation to nestle down and become a part of a great adventure just chock full of wonderful characters and happy endings.
At the Jefferson-Houston School for Arts and Academics book fair on December 8, students gathered in the library to hear a special guest read-aloud from a once-upon-a-time story: The Cole house was strangely quiet. Ruble rocked her baby sister in the living room and wondered at its silence. Normally, the small house vibrated with the sounds of its 11 occupants. The doors creaked and dishes clattered, her brothers and sisters voices tumbled over one another, and their footsteps pounded against the wood floors, read, Jennifer Liu Bryan to the children at her feet.
Attentive little faces looked up for more as Bryan continued to read from the book that she co-authored with her grandmother-in-law, Hazel Cole Kendle. The story, Cole Family Christmas, is the true story of a special Christmas for Kendles family when they were children in Benham, Kentucky, in the 1920s. The children were very excited to learn that the author reading to them lives in Alexandria, just a few blocks from their school.
School Principal Kimberly Graves and Librarian LaGina Gross had arranged for Bryan to come to the book fair to talk about her book and the impact writing it had on her family. I hope that our story inspires other families to recognize and preserve their histories as well, said Bryan. Listen to your grandparents and have them tell you the stories of when they were growing up.
The book was supposed to be a booklet just for distribution to the family but has now grown into a best selling Christmas story that to date has involved the participation of more than 20 family members.
To encourage the collecting of family stories and to promote reading, especially reading aloud, the family has created a website www.readaloud.org.
Spokesgoat Hilda, Bryans character mascot, is touring with Bryan and interacts with live audiences in real time at book readings, childrens festivals, and other family events to share the importance of reading aloud.
And they all lived happily ever after.