The third annual Latino Book and Family Festival (LBFF) took place on Saturday May 2, 2015 in the Santos Manuel Student Union (SMSU).
The LBFF has been a great opportunity for more than 1,500 members in the Inland Empire community to learn and appreciate Latino education, literacy, and culture.
The festival is organized by CSUSB and other community organizations including Latino Literacy Now, Kiwanis of Greater San Bernardino, and Libreria del Pueblo.
Dean of the John M. Pfau Library, Cesar Caballero, has been on the planning committee for this event for the past three years.
“The main purpose of the LBFF is to promote literacy, education, the arts, and culture,” stated Caballero.
“The festival provides a venue for the Latino and greater community to become aware of Latino authors and their published works,” added Caballero.
The event hosts entertainment for families, local and published authors, and workshops for people interested in becoming writers.
“All students in surrounding school districts are invited to participate. Folks are also exposed to art and culture with the rich offering of programs that take place on two stages: folkloric dances, singers, musical groups, puppet shows, storytellers, and Aztec dancers,” stated Caballero when asked why attending the festival is beneficial.
This year, the planning committee worked with the Mexican Consulate to bring in storytellers and a theater group from Mexico that presented some of their work for all the families to enjoy at the festival.
The LBFF also hosts an essay and art contest for students who are interested in participating.
The winners of these contests are recognized during the opening ceremony where Ted Alejandre, superintendent of San Bernardino County Schools, handed out awards.
With over 50 award-winning authors participating, one of the featured authors was Judith Valles, former mayor of San Bernardino, who presented her book “Como Decía Mi Mamá: As My Mother Would Say”.
“For many families, this may be the first time they step onto a university campus,” stated Caballero. “Many children have been heard telling their parents that this is where I am going to go to college when I grow up. Thus, the Festival helps to motivate young students to read, do well in school, and go on to college.”
The importance of literacy, education, and culture is evident throughout this event.
“The workshops presented by experts in their fields provide a wealth of knowledge dealing with topics that range from how to find scholarships to how to write memories and publish a book,” stated Caballero.
For the past few years, the LBFF held here at CSUSB has always been on the first weekend of May to incorporate Cinco de Mayo.
There are many people who volunteer their time every year to help plan this event.
The time and dedication invested is valuable in a community where a majority of the population is Latino.
“It is great to see whole families coming in to take part in the festival and become exposed to literature and the arts in a fun and exciting way,” stated Caballero.
“It is also rewarding to see campus and community leaders coming together to hold a festival that champions reading, writing, education and the arts,” continued Caballero.