Nelda LaTeef reads to children in One Loudoun

Award-winning author and illustrator Nelda LaTeef reads to a group of young explorers sporting safari hats and binoculars at a Barnes & Noble book fair to benefit the INMED Family & Youth Opportunity Center in Sterling.

Local children got to hear enchanting stories from Africa Saturday at the Barnes & Noble Book Fair.

Award-winning children’s book author and illustrator Nelda LaTeef read and signed her latest work, "Animal Village," to benefit INMED’s Family & Youth Opportunity Center in Sterling. She also read an earlier work titled "The Hunter and the Ebony Tree."

Barnes & Noble regularly holds book fairs to benefit local nonprofits. A percentage of all eligible online sales, as well as in-store purchases at its One Loudoun store last Saturday afternoon were donated to INMED’s programs for at-risk children and low-income families, INMED officials said.

LaTeef, who spent time in western Africa while studying anthropology at Harvard, was inspired to write Animal Village after hearing a storyteller in the Republic of Niger share a folk tale about a tenacious tortoise, who toils night and day to find water for her thirsty village.

LaTeef’s illustrations in acrylic, India ink, colored paper and collage on art board capture the richness and vibrancy of sub-Saharan culture. 

“The warm reception experienced at Barnes & Noble during the book fair was further enhanced by having Nelda share her stories with the children,” INMED Family & Youth Opportunity Center Executive Director Cecilia A. Capece said in a prepared statement. “She not only gave them insight into her writing, but also conveyed the importance of teamwork and perseverance in everyday life.”

In addition to its programs in Loudoun County, INMED facilitates adaptive agriculture programs in climate change-affected regions of Southern Africa, Jamaica and Latin America to improve food security, health and economic opportunities for vulnerable children and families.

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