JoAnn Carter-Wells and Jennifer Carsrud

JoAnn Carter-Wells, left, professor of reading and director of Cal State Fullerton's Community Learning and Literacy Center at the Irvine campus, and Jennifer Carsrud, right, the center's administrative assistant, are among planners of the first-ever Community Literacy Festival April 19.

Community Literacy Festival

CSUF-Irvine Campus Event Features Storytelling, Authors, Entertainment

April 8, 2008

By Debra Cano Ramos

Come meet Wheely Willy the paraplegic Chihuahua, a North Pole explorer, "Mark Twain" and the young author of superhero books at the free Community Literacy Festival Saturday, April 19, at Cal State Fullerton's Irvine campus.

"For the Love of Language and the Joy of Learning" is the theme of the 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. festival, which is part of the university's yearlong 50th anniversary celebration. The festival will feature authors, a mime, magician and balloon artist, storytelling, book signings and entertainment.

"This community festival highlights the importance of literacy from a multicultural perspective and will include authors representing the cultural diversity of Orange County," said JoAnn Carter-Wells, professor of reading and director of Cal State Fullerton's Community Learning and Literacy Center at the Irvine campus. "This first-ever event will be multifaceted and a fun day for the entire family."

Cal State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon and Claire Cavallaro, dean of the College of Education, are the opening speakers at 9:30 a.m. "Mark Twain" (impersonator) will be on hand to welcome everyone and interact with festival attendees.

Among the presenters:

Wave Vidmar, the North Pole solo explorer who broke two world records and wrote a book about his adventure who will give demonstrations of some of the special equipment he used during his explorations

Elaine Wonsavage, former editor of the Weekly Reader for 25 years, as well as the Betty Crocker and McCall's cookbooks, and editor of gardening and crafts publications

Quang X. Pham, a Marine pilot in the Persian Gulf War and first Vietnamese American to earn naval aviator's wings who penned "A Sense of Duty: My Father, My American Journey"

Gloria DeLaTorre-Wycoff, author of "Scarred by Scandal Redeemed by Love: The Triumph of an Unmarried Mother."

Ryan Lederer, the 11-year-old author of "The Adventures of Captain Candy," and Sylvia Lieberman, who wrote "Archibald's Swiss Cheese Mountain" are among the special guests. "Archibald the Mouse" also will make an appearance.

Also in attendance will be Wheely Willy, the rescued dog, and his owner, Deborah Turner. Turner, touched by this tiny dog's plight, got him a set of wheels a custom-made dog wheelchair that changed both Turner's and Willy's lives. Turner and Diana Mohler chronicle the dog's mobility and freedom in the children's book "How Willy Got His Wheels."

Children can take part in the action in math and science activity rooms and receive a free book in the Scholastic/Orange County Reading Association Reading Room. Sue Neuen of the California Science Center's Science@OC, a professional development and science education outreach organization in Orange County, will give a presentation together with a mime.

Other highlights include a free continental breakfast; performances by a jazz ensemble; raffle; appearance by Cal State Fullerton's mascot, Tuffy Titan, and the Spirit Squad; and bounce houses for children. A barbecue lunch and other food and beverages will be offered for purchase. Childcare will be available for parents wishing to attend the parent workshops.

The festival was developed and planned by the Community Learning and Literacy Center's 23-member advisory board ( and the university's Office of Community Relations.

Festival sponsors are the Community Learning and Literacy Center, Office of Community Relations, Scholastic and Orange County Reading Association. Vendors are Libreria Martinez Books & Art Gallery and Educators Outlet, seller of classroom materials for teachers and parents.

For more information, event schedule and directions, visit or call 949-936-1694. The Irvine campus is located at 7314 Trabuco Road, off Sand Canyon Road (at Santa Ana Freeway).

North Pole explorer Wave Vidmar
North Pole explorer Wave Vidmar


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