Photo Courtesy of Office of Councilwoman Nury Martinez

Photographer / Robert Cisneros

Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez recently hosted her 6th annual holiday “Gift of Reading” event at the Van Nuys Civic Center with partners North Valley Caring Services and the Los Angeles Public Library.

As many as 700 students from 24 Council District Six elementary schools were in attendance on Sunday, Dec. 15, including approximately 100 children whose families receive assistance from North Valley Caring Services and LA Family Housing.

The students, who were selected by their principals and teachers to attend, received a free backpack, along with a selection of books to build up their home libraries.

Martinez, who will become the new City Council President in the New Year, hopes to inspire children to continue reading through the holidays, and develop a lifelong love of books.

“‘Gift of Reading’ is all about promoting literacy for our children in the Northeast San Fernando Valley,” said Martinez, a product of public schools and a former LAUSD School Board member. “Besides a memorable holiday celebration for hundreds of elementary school children to enjoy, we want our kids to experience the expanded social, imaginative and academic advantages that reading brings. The Winter Break provides an opportune time to do just that.”

Besides photos with Santa, snow sledding, face painting, and ornament decorating, the kids enjoyed being read stories by Martinez, police officers and fire fighters and others, including children’s author Susan Schaefer Bernardo and Illustrator Courtenay Fletcher, and Patty Rodriguez, co-author of the Lil Libros bilingual children’s book series.