An Evening of Celebration and Success for Amalie Howard’s Waterfell

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Books of Wonder was buzzing with excitement, as YA fans of all ages came out to celebrate the launch of Amalie Howard’s novel, Waterfell, and to meet Amalie’s special guest authors, Kristi Cook (Eternal), Page Morgan (The Beautiful and the Cursed), and Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14: Sky on Fire).

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From left to right:  Amalie Howard, Page Morgan, Emmy Laybourne and Kristi Cook

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Amalie Howard & Liza Fleissig

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Page Morgan

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Liza Fleissig & Ginger Harris-Dontzin

Congratulations Amalie!  What a wonderful evening!

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Creepy Crawly Critters at the Library

Yesterday my family stopped by one of our favorite libraries, the Mattituck-Laurel Library, to check out their program, Creepy Crawly Critters with Ranger Eric. ranger

If you’re into beetles, stick bugs, leeches, tarantulas and scorpions, this program was for you!

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My son and husband sat in the front row, eager to touch anything icky that came their way.  No surprise, I didn’t.  I’m not anti-bug, honest, but when Eric mentioned that hand sanitizer could kill the bugs, I’ll confess that I had the urge to grab a gallon of the stuff.

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On the squeamish barometer, I was doing fine for most of the program.  But then Eric brought out the millipede.  That changed the game for me.  I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

This program is one of the many that the Mattituck-Laurel Library runs for children throughout the year.  The children’s reading room is one of the most inviting.  And I love that the librarian knows all the kids by name, and what books they’re reading.  How awesome is that?  If you happen to be in the neighborhood, I highly recommend visiting.  It’s a very special place.

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MillionTreesNYC Planting and the Green School Alliance

Yesterday the NYC-area Green School Alliance schools came out in force to help plant 20,000 trees and shrubs in Rockaway Community Park which was severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy one year ago.

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As my six-year old son would say, “It was glorious!”

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And a ton of fun! TrickorTree

Since MillionTreesNYC began in 2007, it has planted more than 750,000 trees in our communities.  It’s a wonderful opportunity to get your kids involved in community service.

If you are interested in joining the effort, please click here.

Hooked on Rainbow Loom®

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My fellow blogger, Laura Sassi, posted during the summer about the buzz circulating around the Rainbow Loom®.  (Please click here to check out her wonderful post at Laura Sassi Tales.)  I am here to tell you that the buzz is still buzzing!

This has to be one of those IT items.  The kind of IT item that you wished you had thought to invest in way before it ever became an IT item.

Every kid in my son’s first grade class, and I mean EVERYONE, both the boys and the girls, is making bracelets and necklaces.

There’s the standard fishtail, the fancier starburst pattern, and of course, there’s the highly desirable hexafish 6-pin fishtail.  The latter is all the rage among the first graders.

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Over the weekend, after spending hours reworking my bracelets, I mastered the starburst and hexafish 6-pin fishtail.  Applause please!  With many of these patterns if you make just one mistake, you have to start all over again, or face the possibility of unraveling.  (See the painstaking similarities to writing and rewriting?)

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My son and I took turns on the hexafish 6-pin fishtail necklace that he wanted in blue and white.  Originally, he wanted to use the glow in the dark elastics, but we didn’t have enough, and the few that we had kept snapping.  (These glow in the dark elastics, I might add, are extremely rare.  On the black market, I bet you could get a pretty penny for these babies.  You didn’t hear it from me! :))

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There are so many wonderful things about kids making these bracelets.  One is that it requires patience.  There’s a high probability that as you start doing the more complicated bracelets, you will make mistakes and have to start over again.  And again.  And again.  Then, there’s the fact that the kids are not tuned into electronics.  There’s one exception to this, and that’s watching the instructional videos.  And a good number of these videos are done by kids.  How cool is that?

After watching hours of Ashley and Rob’s instructional videos on how to make the starburst and the hexafish 6-pin fishtail, both my son and I feel like they’re practically family.  (On an aside, Ashley Steph’s instructional YouTube video, How to Make a Starburst Rainbow Loom® Bracelet, has been watched by 3,001,025 viewers.  Holy Cannoli, that’s a lot of viewers!) And of course, now my son wants to make a video too!

So, you may see us on the video scene soon.  But first, I think we’re going to attempt the waterfall wave bracelet.  Wish us luck!

p.s. Please click here for the official Rainbow Loom® website.

The Little Prince

Six months.  Six more months until I go back to France.  Paris.  Of course, that means six months of planning, and thinking about what books I’m going to read or reread in preparation.  And what books I’m going to introduce to my son.

As it turns out, to my delighted astonishment, last week in library he picked up a comic book about The Little Prince.  On Sunday morning, we read it in one sitting.  And although the comic book was ok (what can I say, it’s a comic), I knew I had to read him the original.

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So yesterday I went to my favorite bookstore, Bank Street, and picked up one of the newer editions.  I have to say I like the old printings better.  Everyone is trying to jazz up the covers of the classics, but honestly, some things are classics for a reason.

The woman at checkout eyed my selection.  “You’ve chosen one of my favorite books,” she said.  Then to my surprise, she lifts up her sleeve and shows me her tattoo.  It was the Little Prince.

So, if I were one to believe in signs, or kismet, I’d have to say you got me at the tattoo.

Last night my son and I started on the adventure.  My little guy, who’s as squirmy as can be at bedtime, was automatically drawn into the story that begins when the adult narrator remembers a picture he saw in a book of a boa constrictor swallowing a wild beast.  He was six-years old.  Just like my son.

We didn’t get very far.  The narrator’s plane crashes in the desert and the Little Prince wakes him and asks him to draw a sheep.  But on our way to school this morning, I realized how much of an impression this story had already made on him.  My son was all questions.  “Do you think a boa constrictor could really swallow an elephant whole?  Why was the Little Prince in the desert?  Why did he need a sheep?  If his planet is really small, where will he put the sheep?”  And then he got reflective.  “It’s true.  Grown ups don’t see the same things as kids.”

I’m so looking forward to continuing on our adventure.  And to all of my son’s questions.