HUBBARD- Following the death of her young daughter, an Ohio author decided to remember her by establishing an annual spring book fair to encourage children to read books while celebrating life.
Julie Rubini of Maumee, which is near Toledo, was the guest speaker at Roosevelt Elementary School where she shared her new book ''Hidden Ohio'' with the 725 students in grades kindergarten to fourth and also spoke to Title I students and parents about starting Claire's Day, a children's book fair and festival in memory of her daughter, Claire Lynsey Rubini, which was started in 2002.
The event brings together many authors and speakers from across the nation and celebrates reading. It is held the third Saturday in May in Maumee and includes hands-on activities and music.
Hubbard Roosevelt Elementary Principal Ray Soloman said Rubini spoke at five different assemblies for each grade level and also at the Title I breakfast.
Rubini encouraged the children to continue reading throughout the summer.
''The program was both educational and entertaining,'' Soloman said.
Soloman said Rubini's book ''Hidden Ohio'' was read to the students and includes local historical information on such places as the McKinley Memorial in Niles and places in Warren.
''Items included in her book fall under the Ohio Academic Content Standards for fourth graders,'' Soloman said.
Rubini said it has been a long journey since her daughter died at age 10 of an unusual heart condition.
She said she hopes the day inspires children and families to be life-long readers through exposure to a variety of literary opportunities and experiences. The event includes children's authors, illustrators and storytellers.
''The day is a celebration of life. I was a mom who wanted my child to be remembered and celebrated," Rubini said.
Rubini, who spoke recently at Roosevelt Elementary School in Hubbard, said she has been a freelance writer and also a speaker and was encouraged to write a book, which she did with "Hidden Ohio." The book, which will be available in May, highlights interesting events, places and people throughout the state.
"I never expected to have a children's book published,'' she said.
She said Claire's Day allows the family to remember Claire while also allowing children to enjoy books and meeting authors.
"I felt compelled to do something for the children. I had heard about Laura Bush's reading program in Texas. When I came up with the book festival the community embraced it,'' she said.
"We empower the kids on that day by presenting reading awards to the children who are the most improved on their reading skills,'' she said.
At the First Claire's Day held in 2002, more than 1,000 people attended. In 2009, more than 25 schools hosted an author or illustrator.
''I want to expose readers to a variety of literary opportunities and experiences,'' she said.
Soloman said the school has been able to bring in many different literary speakers and illustrators, which has benefitted both the staff and students. Other speakers have included Dwayne Abell, a cartoonist, and Amanda Mae Ruiz, a Hubbard graduate and author of ''So Big: A Cricket's Journey To His Purpose.''
Soloman said he is able to get speakers who also often speak to the Trumbull Area Reading Council.