Tomes of fun at the Bay Ridge book fair

Despite the cold, the Bay Ridge Jewish Center was filled with laughter, warmth and bookworms from near and far at the very first Bay Ridge book fair.

The brainchild of center member Candi Friedman, the fair featured both adult and children’s books, provided by the Book Mark Shoppe.

Friedman said that she loves to get lost in books and wanted to share her passion with others.

“I have a mission to singlehandedly support the Book Mark Shoppe. I have a Kindle that is loaded, but you would never know by the amount of books I buy!” she joked.

“I thought we could bring books to not just synagogue members but to the community at large, plus get the community at large to come here,” Friedman explained.

Christine Freglette of the Book Mark Shoppe said that she was happy to participate. “We do a lot of fundraising with book fairs,” she said, adding that a portion of the sales will go to the synagogue.

People from as far as Cobble Hill came to the fair and organizers said there was a “steady stream” of people in and out throughout the afternoon.

One of the highlights was a book signing by author Yona Zeldis McDonough, who writes for adults and children. One of her latest reads, “A Wedding in Great Neck” will be the Book Mark Shoppe’s book of the month for March.

McDonough grew up on Ocean Parkway but now lives in Park Slope. She said she has ties to Bay Ridge through her all-girls high school, which was known as the Berkeley School then, but is now the Berkeley Carroll School.

“Our brother school was Poly Prep [which was all boys back then],” she explained, adding that she spent a lot of time in the neighborhood visiting the school. “I love Brooklyn. I’m a go Brooklyn gal.”

McDonough said that she decided to participate in the fair because writing is such a “solitary profession.

“It’s really nice to come and meet and talk to people,” McDonough said. “I like hearing what kids have to say. I enjoy meeting the people who read my books. It’s a sweet experience.”

Second grader Ariela Sagor was one of those who got her book signed by McDonough. She talked about a deal she has with her parents.

“If I read a book a month, I can get a new book,” said the seven-year-old who attends P.S./I.S. 204. “I came here to choose a book to read for next month.”

There was also face painting, courtesy of center member Sarah Sokol, and refreshments.

Olivia Schanzer brought her two-year-old daughter Valis.

“She likes books. This is fun for us,” she said.

If you missed the fair, stay tuned. Friedman said she is planning on making the book fair an annual event.

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