UTPA Report: 7th annual Festival of International Books and Arts

Photo courtesy of UTPA

POSTED: Friday, April 26, 2013 - 2:43pm

UPDATED: Saturday, April 27, 2013 - 11:22am

The University of Texas-Pan American's 7th annual Festival of International Books and Arts reached out to the community by bringing in prominent authors, scholars, musicians, and popular athletes to spread the message about the importance of the arts and humanities and to promote reading. Sandra Quintanilla shares with us highlights of another successful event in tonight's UTPA story.

Many of these students had a unique opportunity to meet a real author and receive an autographed book thanks to UTPA's Festival of International Books and Arts. FESTIBA as it is commonly referred to, is a week-long community outreach initiative whose goal is to promote the arts and humanities and the love of reading among children and adults. It's also about bringing attention to the illiteracy problem in South Texas and what UT Pan Am is doing to address it. To coincide with the theme of "Literacy: Inspiring Healthy Minds and Healthy Bodies" the university invited Robert Garza, a Valley native and NFL player with the Chicago Bears. He played activities with young participants and shared with them some tips about how to maintain good eating habits. He also reached out to many families during FESTIBA's Community Day and took the time to pose for pictures.

Robert Garza, NFL Football Player, "Unfortunately now, our kids are having a real issue of being obese and I think the more we can promote a healthy life style it's going to help them in the classroom. Obviously your body feels good and its healthy you can actually excel in the classroom and that's the message here, health body, healthy mind."

Also during FESTIBA Community Day, families enjoyed a puppet show, games, arts and crafts, music, a free book giveaway and visiting with out of town and up and coming local authors like Ben Trevino who recently crafted a collection of poetry.

Ben Trevino, Author, "It’s no secret that the United States is lacking in literacy rates and graduation rates and it really is a pity that the strongest nation on the planet is rated so low when it comes to those types of things. And, I think events like this spark an interest particularly in our young people in a desire for reading and a craving for learning."

Educator Amy Trevino couldn't agree more. That's why she brought her children to Community Day .

Amy Trevino, Mother and Educator, "It’s just the love of reading that brings us here and so that my children are able to take an adventure anywhere any time so that they can see other places just through the books and maybe one of these days they’ll be able to see it really, in real life."

A young attendee had this to say about the benefits of reading and events like FESTIBA.

Natalie Ocanas, "I think it's good because it helps us kids build our vocabulary. Like if nobody wrote a book then we would probably be mindless by now, we wouldn’t even know, like what a tree would be, we would be like Auu! Aba! Or something like that, so I think it’s a good event cause it helps us kids express our ideas."

I'm Sandra Quintanilla reporting for UTPA and News Center 23.

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