Comic book superhero to promote literacy at festival

LAWRENCEVILLE - Even with superhero abilities at his disposal - "spider-sense," the ability to cling to most surfaces, inhuman strength, speed and agility - Spider-Man knows the importance of reading.

The web-slinging wall crawler will take time out of his crime fighting schedule to emphasize the value of literacy at the second annual Gwinnett Reading Festival on Saturday, hosted by the Gwinnett County Public Library, at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. Marvel Comics' most famous character will appear on the children's stage at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., signing autographs afterward. The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is a free event.

"When the public embraced the first (festival) as it did, we knew it was the right event for us," said Nancy Stanbery-Kellam, executive director of the Gwinnett County Pubilc Library. "Building on the success of last year, I am confident we will once again create a memorable experience for our guests this year."

Spider-Man will be joined at the Gwinnett Reading Festival by award-winning and up-and-coming authors, including Rick Bragg, Carmen Deedy and Mary Jane Clark, among others. Conyers resident Darrell Huckaby will be on hand at the Daily Post's booth Saturday signing books and autographs and promoting his latest literary endeavor, "A Southerner Looks at All Fifty States,"

humorous reflections on his travels with his family.

"The reading festival takes the library experience to a whole new level," Stanbery-Kellam said. "Reading is an exciting activity that can be celebrated and enjoyed together as a community. If anyone doesn't quite know what we are all about out there, come out and join us. You will be a believer by the time you leave!"

Keynote author Steve Martini will kick off the festival Friday night at the Historic Gwinnett County Courthouse, 185 Crogan St. in Lawrenceville. Martini has written several New York Times bestsellers featuring defense attorney Paul Madriani, and the author brings his own legal experience to his work, having practiced law and having served as an administrative law judge and supervising hearing officer.

Martini will host a one-hour discussion starting at 7:30 p.m. Doors are set to open with a musical performance by the Gwinnett Horn Quartet at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 and include coffee and dessert from the Singin' Bean Musical Coffeehouse and Eatery.

For ticket information, call the Gwinnett County Public Library at 770-978-5154 or visit any of the library branches.