Added this year is Sending a Book on a Journey, a literary project that asks the community to donate new or gently-read books for the homeless and mentally ill people of Long Beach. Books may be dropped off at various Long Beach Reads One Book events, the Bixby Knolls Farmers Market on Sundays at Longfellow Elementary School, the main branch of the library, as well as all 11 branches from Wednesday, March 3 through Saturday, March 13. Friends of the Library sell bargain-priced/second-hand books at Main and all branch libraries. Donated books will be placed in Mental Health America (MHA) Village and Wellness Center. An inserted “book note” will encourage homeless and mentally ill readers to share the joy of reading by passing their books on to others…thus Sending a Book on a Journey.
Karlos Karrillo, a local freelance artist, designed the poster celebrating Sending a Book on a Journey. His art murals grace the entrance wall of the MHA Village drop-in center and the accompanying Deli 456.
Karrillo is served and inspired by the Village. “The Village is my champion,” Karrillo says. “They have provided the support in helping me overcome hearing impairment, past homelessness and unemployment.” Karrillo agreed to donate his award-winning talent to create the Sending a Book on a Journey project poster for Long Beach Reads One Book 2010.
Betty Buffington, chair of Sending a Book on a Journey, first met Karrillo when she toured the MHA Village facility with a team of local mental-health professionals. She was there to learn first-hand about Long Beach mental health resources and to encourage these agencies to participate in the Public Library Foundation’s Long Beach Reads One Book community events and city-wide discussions. “It is a rare opportunity to bring mental-health awareness and outreach to the community,” Buffington says. “We are able to do that because Steve Lopez’s bestseller book The Soloist, a true story evolving in a world of mental illness and homelessness, was chosen for Long Beach Reads One Book for 2010. “
Karrillo believes his inspiration and artistic ability are gifts from God. He was born hearing impaired, but it was not diagnosed. His parents knew something was wrong, but thought their baby might be retarded. At age four, he still did not talk. He communicated with his parents and brothers by drawing exact pictures of what he wanted…a slice of bread, a glass of water. After his impaired hearing was recognized at about age five, he began attending special-education and mainstream grammar, middle and high schools, often as a “straight-A” student in art. Years of enrollment in art classes at El Camino College taught him to love art in all media: life drawing, water color, oil, silk screen and sculpture. “Someday Karlos hopes to learn all about art history,” Buffington says. “But for now, his challenge is to make a success of his own fledgling art design business, where he is focusing his art on unique skateboard-deck design.”
Karrillo may be found at local art shows, where he accepts art commissions, and may be reached at email email@example.com.
Mental health bookmarks will be available at all libraries and Long Beach Reads One Book events. These free MHA bookmarks provide mental health/homeless information, tips on caring for one’s mental health, resource phone numbers and how to get involved with local organizations.
(562) 285-1330, ext. 225