Area children tuned in to Obama's inauguration

Published: Sunday, January 18, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 17, 2009 at 11:54 p.m.

Young people in Gainesville are tuned in to Tuesday's inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. Just ask the children ages 7 to 12 who took part Saturday in Borders bookstore's first-ever "Kids Inauguration Party."

"I think it's great," said Pam Jones, general manager at Borders in Gainesville. "Anything that gets kids interested in the world and reading."

Saturday's inauguration party, led by Jones and Sophia Dow, consisted of coloring of the flag and White House, a presidential word scramble and a scavenger hunt.

Ms. Pam and Ms. Sophie, as the children called them, tended to the children with snacks and refreshments.

"This event was created to help the children of our country to become more informed about what is going on around them. It just seemed like the natural thing to do," Jones said.

Borders puts on events for children every week. Sometimes it's just story time, and other times they have authors reading to the children.

Ana Montes brought her 5-year-old daughter, Natalie, after having attended story time at Borders.

"Before she started kindergarten, I used to come every Tuesday for story time. I think this is good for them," Montes said.

Nicole Williams, 11, said she was pleased with the party because it let kids know what it is to be in an inauguration.

"Usually grown-ups go to the inauguration and the kids have to be left out," she said.

Linda Finch brought her granddaughters, Kelaux and Edee Bonzongo, after finding out about the event online.

"I'm very impressed that they came up with an idea to get kids involved," Finch said. "Even without it being an African-American president, it's an inauguration [and] that's a big thing."

Dylan McMahon, 9, comes from a split household, with his mother and him having been McCain supporters, and his father and 6-year-old brother supporting Obama.

Dylan's mother, Tabatha McMahon, liked the fact that the party involved children in such a historic event, but also that the children learned how to utilize the store's system to search for books during the scavenger hunt.

"We are more inspired when we see younger kids in the White House," Tabatha McMahon said of the Obama's two daughters. "The kids get more involved because the president has children their age."

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