FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Just beyond the John L. Throckmorton Library on Randolph Street lies a quiet and secluded grove, perfect for a late Saturday afternoon picnic with only a blanket and your favorite book in hand.

In celebration of National Children's Book Month, Families gathered here Saturday for Picnic in the Grove presented by the library.

This year's annual Picnic in the Grove featured more than 300 children participating in different activities, explained Dorothy Averhart, library technician.

"We have storytellers, mime artists, face painting, animal balloons, crafts and other fun endeavors along with free lunch for both the children and parents," Ross said.

"Our mission is to create a comfort zone for the Soldier and his Family through literacy," said Bernadette Ross, reference librarian.

The main event this year was a variety show put on by magician, puppeteer and literacy advocate, Ron Johnson.

"It's important for children to read because they are the next generation - our future," said Johnson.

The children seemed to be picking up on this, because many couldn't wait to share their favorite books.

"I love to read animal books," said Logan Ogle, 4, holding his book of choice, Eyes on Nature Sea Creatures. "They're fun."

As this year's Picnic in the Grove came to an end, the librarians at Throckmorton Library already started looking to the future.

"We have done this for the last eight years, and we will continue to have the Picnic in the Grove because libraries are in the business of educating and meeting the needs of Families," Ross said with a smile.