The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 18, 2013

Clown stresses importance of reading

Erica Benjamin
The Stanly News & Press

Friday, January 18, 2013 — A special guest appearance made the Stanly County Public Library the place to be Monday as Jamarr Woodruff, also known as JMan the Clown, from Ringling Bros, and Barnum & Bailey Circus, stopped by for a fun-filled afternoon.

Woodruff kicked off the event by reading “Song of the Circus” by Lois Duncan to the children and sharing how his love of reading led to his career as a performer.

“Reading is very important. A lot of circus performers got their start by reading a book,” Woodruff said, going on to explain that after seeing a juggler on television he was inspired to read a book on the technique. This in turn put him on the path to his future career.

“I was able to follow my dream and run away to join the circus.”

After reading the tale, Woodruff demonstrated his talent by performing many juggling tricks involving tennis balls, basketballs, scarves and pins. He even invited some audience members to assist him with the show.

Woodruff concluded his act by performing a feat of strength and took time to take photographs with the children.

The guest appearance and a new reading program was made possible by a partnership with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.

Through the “Reading with Ringling” program, any child who reads five books and completes a form at the library will receive a free ticket to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey presents Dragons event Jan. 30-Feb. 3 at Time Warner Cable Arena.

According to Al Pozyck, head of the youth services at the library, this is the first time a reading program has been implemented during this time of year when children are still in school.

“This is usually a lull period for us,” Pozyck said, adding that he was surprised at the amount of interest the event had generated.

“We’ve had phone calls almost every day asking about the event.”

Pozyck estimated that approximately 60 free tickets have been given out since the start of the reading program Dec. 3, 2012.

“I hope this program will encourage kids to read and participate in more library programs,” Pozyck said.

The Reading with Ringling program, for children ages 2-12, will end Friday.