REGION — The Northeastern Pennsylvania Reading Association (NPRA) recently celebrated 50 years with a banquet and program at the Hilton Conference and Convention Center in Scranton.

Over seventy members and guests enjoyed the evening.

President Donna Salva was the MC for the evening. After giving some background and history of the organization, Donna welcomed them to enjoy a delicious served dinner.

Following dinner, local children’s authors Jan Chierpko, Lindsey Barrett George, Gayle Krause, Alison Green-Myers, and Patricia Thomas entertained the group with a skit about writing which included songs and a power point which all enjoyed.

Member Joan Lengel then introduced the first of two Celebrate Literacy Awards which were a surprise to the recipients. Joan introduced the first recipient as being raised on a small farm in western Pennsylvania and attended a one-room school and now lives in Carbondale.

She has authored many children’s books which include Stand Back, Said the Elephant, I’m Going to Sneeze.

Her picture books range in style from nonsense verse to evocative poetry.

With her books and programs she leads children to a discovery of the joy of reading, the adventure of books, the power of their own creativity and the pure, unadulterated magic of words.

In Words, Words, Words, she explains that words are the basic building blocks of that marvelous, magical commodity known as story.

Her writing workshops include To Be or Not To Be: The What If? Question. She poses such questions such as what if an elephant sneezed?

She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and an instructor for the Institute of Children’s Literature. In total surprise and humble shock, Patricia received a lovely framed certificate, flowers, and a standing ovation.

Elizabeth Dessoye then introduced the second Celebrate Literacy recipient beginning with the fact that she doesn’t know how any one person can do all of the things that the recipient does.

She belongs to many organizations which promote library literacy. She is also a member of the Eastern Star, St. David’s Society and Kiwanis.

She serves on the auxiliary of GCMC, Lackawanna County Blind Association and the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic.

She volunteers with the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, CONCERN for kids and Heartland Hospice. In addition to serving the community in so many ways, she has served as the Director of the Taylor Community Library for thirty-six years.

She serves on the Lecture Committee and is co-chair of the annual Staff Development Day for the Lackawanna County Library System.

At this point, Jeanie Sluck realized that she was the recipient and was also humbled by the announcement and the award and said, “for once I am speechless.”

Both ladies have given so much time, talent and energy to the Northeast Pennsylvania Reading Association and as a result were chosen as the Celebrate Literacy Award recipients for 2016.

The award, given annually through the International Literacy Association, recognizes individuals for exemplary service in the promotion of literacy.

NPRA is a professional organization serving Lackawanna, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties devoted to the improvement of all aspects of reading.

It provides extensive professional development opportunities and family programs on a variety of topics at different locations throughout the area including schools, libraries, colleges, and universities.