I was blessed to have known Don Parker and Don Shaw, both amazing people, and consider them both friends.
One day 21 years ago, out of the blue, Don P calls me about an idea he had and would like to have my opinion. I agreed to meet, and walked down Centre Street to what was Books Plus, Don S’s incredible bookstore.
It’s important to note, that during this time the island was experiencing a cultural renaissance of sort. Numerous festivals were being developed and introduced, enough to fill a calendar it seemed. The Chamber Music Festival, the Blues Festival, and the Jazz Festival just to name a few.
We sat out in the middle of the bookstore and Don P began telling me about a town in New England. Don P was always talking about New England. I thought, oh boy, here he goes again, but I was wrong. Don P had an idea that was right up my alley – reading. And, to have the support of Don S I was certain we could make this Book Island idea work.
Well, it worked all right. A small army of volunteers were recruited and assembled by Don P and he lit the fuse.
I have offered my total support to the effort over the years, with unlimited space and ink in both of my newspapers, the News-Leader and Nassau County Record, to insure everyone in Nassau County was aware of the Book Island Festival.
I understand the importance of reading. I have made a successful 45-year career on reading. I understand children today cannot even begin to be successful without being a proficient reader. Naturally, I was excited when the festival went into the schools. When talking to students I always tell them, ‘Reading is knowledge and knowledge is power and power is money, so read all you can!’
Foy R. Maloy, Regional Publisher & CEO,
News-Leader, Nassau County Record
Tribune & Georgian