13th Annual International Art of Storytelling Family Festival

  • Pint-sized storybook characters Jennifer Santos (Sleeping Beauty), 4 of Miami, left; Violet Levine (Gerald the Giraffe), 2, of Kendall; and Sofia Ezpeleta (Mulan), 6, of Miami, stand with costumed characters from beloved books for children, after they took part in a Storybook Parade on Saturday, April 27, 2013. The 13th Annual International Art of Storytelling Family Festival celebrated the written and spoken word. The Miami-Dade Public Library System presented the free event at the Main Library, 101 West Flagler Street in downtown Miami. MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Fans of the written word sign up for free library cards inside the Main Library in downtown Miami. MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Throngs of book fans enter the Main Library in downtown Miami on Saturday, April 27, 2013 during the 13th Annual International Art of Storytelling Family Festival. MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Jennifer Santos, 4, of Miami (dressed as Sleeping Beauty), joins other youngsters in making faces during a lively storytelling session led by Dianne de Las Casas, a New Orleans storyteller and author. MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Benji Riggio, 4, of Homestead, shakes the frog-puppeted hand of Shenita Greaves (portraying Princess Tiana from "Princess and the Frog." Greaves has been a children's services specialist at the North Dade Regional Library in Miami Gardens for 30-plus years. Benji's mom, Luisa Patino, at left, said her son was dressed as "his own superhero self -- Superhero Banjo." Patino says they have attended this festival before: "The whole art of storytelling is the most untapped and valuable resource the county has, because it encourages this multicultural group to tell their own stories," she says. "Anything that encourages people to communicate is good." MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • New Orleans-based storyteller and author Dianne de Las Casas, left, shares an impromptu hug with new fan Gabriella Abaunza, 8, of Coral Gables, after Gabriella asked for her autograph. De Las Casas presented a lively storytelling session of her book "The Cajun Cornbread Boy." MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Portraying the main character from "The Matador," Stephen Anderson shares a laugh with Claudette Connor of Miami and her granddaughter, Liana Harrigan, 22 months, of Homestead. Anderson holds the sign Connor made for Liana. It is a quote from Charlie Brown's curly-haired character Frieda: "People always expect more of you when you have naturally curly hair!" MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Esperanza Rodriguez of Miami, left, portrays Don Quixote of "Man of La Mancha." Rodriguez teaches biology at Hialeah High. At right is Latoya Darbeau, the children's librarian at South Dade Regional Library in Cutler Bay. MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Cousins and siblings from the Dukharan family in Miami wear T-shirts after characters in "The Cat in The Hat" by Dr. Seuss; From left: Ashanti, 11; Alysah, 10; Brandon, 8; Nykolas, 8; Amaya, 7; and Bryan, 3. MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff

  • Gainesvile-based storyteller Shana Banana (Shana Smith) combines music, storytelling and yoga to share the story of "Hanuman." MARSHA HALPER / Miami Herald Staff