BY KRISTI FISH | MIRROR REPORTER — Volunteers decked in purple shirts and hundreds of avid young readers used the annual Claire’s Day festival as a way to pay tribute to Claire Rubini while encouraging literacy.
Claire’s Day, which was created in honor of Claire Rubini, a young Maumee resident and avid reader who died at the age of 10, brings together local authors and students.
In the week leading up to Claire’s Day on May 20, authors and illustrators visited several local schools.
Students were able to participate in crafts and reading time with the authors, learning more about their process and how books are created.
Claire’s Night, which was held on May 19, also allows adults in the community the chance to meet with the authors and illustrators and help fundraise for the cause.
It is at these events that Claire’s parents, Brad and Julie, are able to see the influence their daughter has had on the community.
“There’s so many ripples. Between school visits and the influence that the events in Claire’s honor have on so many young people, it just doesn’t stop. Now, we’re into the second generation,” Julie Rubini said.
Students who received a Claire’s Award for Reading Excellence (C.A.R.E.) are now bringing their own children to the festival. Friends of Claire are even able to attend the festival with their children, allowing them to enjoy the literacy-focused event and learn more about local authors and illustrators.
“At Claire’s Night at The Pinnacle, one of the employees came up to me and her granddaughter won a reading award when she was in second grade, and now she graduates from nursing school and she basically said that award launched her into being a reader and student,” Brad said.
Seeing the influence that Claire’s Day can have on the community is always a highlight, Brad added.
The community has also had an influence on Claire’s Day.
Without the support of the community, Julie noted, Claire’s Day would not be able to exist in the capacity that it currently does, with hundreds of people enjoying a free book festival in both Toledo and Maumee, along with authors and illustrators visiting with children in schools.
“We’ve always felt very supported here in the community,” Julie added. “For me, it was a way of giving back to the community that I felt has given us so much.”
Providing this space for young readers is important to the Rubini family and Read for Literacy, the parent organization for Claire’s Day, Julie said.
“The event has evolved in to a celebration of our young readers, our C.A.R.E. award winners, but everything that is here for those C.A.R.E. award winners is here for anyone who would like to come and enjoy Claire’s Day,” Julie explained.
This year, she was especially proud of all of the opportunities available to attendees.
“Since we’ve transitioned with Read for Literacy now being our parent organization, we’ve always tried to be diverse in our author/illustrator lineup, but we have been significantly so this year. Our staff did an incredible job in bringing a diverse lineup to both Toledo Claire’s Day, as well as Maumee,” Julie said.
Claire’s Day is an annual event in both Maumee and Toledo. For more information on Claire’s Day, those interested can visit clairesday.org.