Friday, November 29, 2013

For the LOVE of BOOKS

Celebrate Picture Book Month with a PARTY
                                         ....or maybe a Wild Rumpus?

Oh yes we did! ... an evening to remember!   Our recipe for success included: a red carpet, fancy stanchions, shinny streamers..balloons! refreshments...glitz, glam, swag bags, stories, songs and picture books galore!  


November is Picture Book Month and the Caldecott Award is 75 years old, whoa!  This deserved a party.  Agreed?  Of course!  And we thought... fancy party, fancy dress, fancy pants, fancy fancy!  Check out this fancy, handsome young man...simply perfect

We set up a "Walk the Red" PRESS BOX for interviews and family was the best!   Everyone sat in the director's chairs.  Take a look!  Straight from the Faxon Library's BNN (Book News Network) where I had the microphone and they answered the questions....we have a charming mom and son...
talkin' books and monkeyin' around!

Knuffle Bunny and Sarah, (photo bombed by a monkey)

Oh my! A fancy-dressed princess in the press box with mom and dad!

Two of the evening's prize winners!  (watercolor paint sets)

...and, well, what can I say?  Hey hey we're the monkeys!

We set up the Library's Community Room with spotlights on the Caldecott Books.  We dimmed the overhead lights, turned on the music and our families walked that red carpet.  I must confess...I walked it like a runway...fancy me!!  My friend Isabella "walked the red" and announced,  "Mrs Breen, I love this party already!"  

Within minutes I realized that the parents and grand parents were excited to see Caldecott Award winning books from their youth.  This was incredible and it both surprised and delighted me.  A common thread, a common joy...these beautiful, beautiful books held meaning and memories for the children and THE ADULTS!  The adults loved revisiting their favorites.  WOW!  (and just saying...I don't think you'll ever get that feeling from a Kindle... like I said...just saying, absolutely no judgement here!)

Max and his Wild Things were front and center in our decorations for the evening.  Everyone recognized them and identified with the story in some way.  My thanks to the incredibly talented author/illustrator Maurice Sendak.   I had the honor of sharing the stage with him in 1988 reading books to children.  It was spectacular - but alas, I was so completely in awe...I could not manage to speak a single word to him! *sigh*


 Anyway, back to the help everyone settle into our event we provided a maker's table for designing and making pipe cleaner flower corsages, bracelets, crowns and hair jewelry! Once decked-out with personalized designer accessories we slowly organized into the story time area.  Here are two of the evening's beautiful young is stylin' a Disney designer gown, crown and cherry lollipop, and the other sweet heart is politely waiting for the story!

Before reading our book we just had to have a conversation on background information for the round gold medal on the book cover.  The author writes the you like to write? Raise your hand.  The illustrator does the drawing and painting and creating pictures for the book.  Ah, the work of the illustrator is as cool and as important as the author's words. And the illustrator wins this award!  "Please raise your hand if you like to draw and paint and make beautiful pictures" .   Hands went up...adults and children's hands stretched into the air with pride.  This is the best!  Twenty-six years in Children's Services and it's always a delight when the parents "buy into" the deal.  Yep - many of our parents like to draw and paint and make messes!   They raised their hands!  Good listeners!  Great audience!  Thank you for being the best role model for your children.  

We read Kitten's First Full Moon - written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes.  Oh what fun!  Everyone loves kittens!  And this one is really thirsty...but why, oh why is the bowl of milk in the sky?  Wait!  Milk in the sky?  That can't be...hmm.  No spoiler to be found on this blog - you'll need to read the book!  

But for now, just look at the expression on her little face.  Ut-oh!

The book is darling and silly and we learned that many of our families own it. (YAY!)

We did a cute flannel board game too.
Little Cat, Little Cat are you in THIS party hat? 
Just hide that kitty behind a hat and you have a suspenseful game with a giggling group!

Then we all stood up and did a freeze dance...we needed a stretch!  And more giggles!

                     And finally refreshments!  (inspired by books!)

Hollywood had the Rat Pack - and we had the SNACK PACK.
These happy children were outstanding...

 ...and beautiful.

Parents proudly talked about Caldecott books they read and remembered.  We had a couple of moms in the press box who recalled some very classic folk and fairy tales while growing up in other countries.  Again, to hear children and parents discuss their particular favorite book and books they love to share with each other just made my night.

I told the crowd early on that I hoped they would all go home with a Caldecott medal (aka borrow a book!)  - they did!!  As we wrapped up the evening we had a swag bag for each child - it's just what happens in the glamorous red carpet get a swag bag!  Honestly!   And on top of that...a touch of gold!  We had Little Golden Books, (donated) for each child - again, a home run!

Here's my friend Isabella bundled up to go home but FYI: she wore a golden dress!

 One of the party go-ers received her very first library card on this special night and I just have to say...Sofia...Girl On Fire!  You rocked it!!  And congratulations!

I am grateful to all who attended the Faxon Library Special "Walk the Caldecott Carpet" on Monday the 25th of November.  The love and joy you have for your children is contagious.  Reading, sharing and celebrating books with your little ones is PRICELESS. Just keep doing it.  And many thanks for letting me be a part of this journey. 
Read * Share * Celebrate


It's a wrap!  November has come to a close.  It was a pleasure to serve as an Ambassador for Children's Picture Book Month.  I am grateful for our community and their love of picture books.  We'll have to get together soon and talk books again.  Yes?

P.S. (Piper Script)  We're reading all of the Caldecott Award winning books from now til Christmas. You can too!  Pick them up at The Faxon Library in West Hartford, CT.  

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