Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Pen Parentis Literary Salon

Are you in need of some grown up time and some intellectual stimulation?  Maybe,  you are a budding writer or just interested in reading good literature.  Well, Parentis Pen Literary Salon maybe for you.

Pen Parentis is a new, New York-based organization that provides resources to authors who are parents.  They offer a monthly author reading at the gorgeous Libertine Library at Gild Hall located inside the stunning new Gild Hall Hotel at 15 Gold Street, NYC.  The literary salon presents two notable authors reading from their work each month—the two hour event concludes with an intimate Q&A and signings at the authors’ discretion. Full bar service is available.  Enjoy interesting literary conversation in elegant surroundings.  The next reading is February 8 from 6:30 - 8:30 pm.

The  authors this month include Heather Kristin whose unpublished novel BROOKLYN TO BOMBAY was a finalist for the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and  Lauren Grodstein whose books include the novels A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY and REPRODUCTION IS THE FLAW OF LOVE and the story collection THE BEST OF ANIMALS.  To find out more about The Pen Parentis Literary Salon  and the authors visit their website

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Just received this email:
Are you a young person or do you know a young person (13-18 years old) that is passionate about service and would make a great leader?
generationOn is now accepting applications for its national Youth Advisory Council! This is a unique opportunity for ten middle and high school students (13-18 years old) from diverse backgrounds across the nation to participate in a service-learning and leadership development program. Participants will contribute to and inform generationOn programming, while acting as ambassadors and leaders for youth service in their communities. Thanks to the generous support of Hasbro Children's Fund, the Youth Advisory Council provides youth from across the country the opportunity to: 
*Engage in creative work with a thriving nonprofit organization focused on youth and service
*Partner with like-minded youth with unique perspectives from around the country
*Inform generationOn programming while learning about approaches for engaging youth in community service
*Act as a service-learning ambassador in their region by playing a leadership role in engaging youth in service and service-learning
Students interested in applying must meet the following criteria:
*Be enrolled in middle or high school (age 13-18 and grade 6-11) at time of application
*Be a resident of the 50 United States or District of Columbia
*Be available to travel March 18th- 22nd 2011 for a special, expense-paid, kick-off youth leadership event in Washington, DC
*Be available via phone and internet for monthly web meetings with fellow Council members
*Be able to provide feedback and participate in program evaluations
visit to learn more about how to apply for the generationOn Youth Advisory Council!
Applications accepted through Friday, February 4th 5:00pm EST
What is generationOn?
generationOn is the global youth service movement igniting the power of all kids to make their mark on the world. generationOn has brought the nation's leading youth service organizations and programs under one umbrella including New York-based Children for Children, The League, Learning to Give, Points of Light Institute's Kids Care Clubs, HandsOn Schools and HandsOn Network's youth-driven programs. By partnering with teachers, parents, schools, community organizations and businesses, generationOn gives kids the opportunity to see firsthand the issues in their communities and the tools and resources they need to respond and become part of the solution.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Babies The Movie

Last year I was disappointed when I missed seeing Babies in the theater.  This is a special documentary that looks at childhood in four different cultures around the world.  "Directed by award-winning filmmaker Thomas Balm├Ęs, from an original idea by producer Alain Chabat, Babies simultaneously follows four babies around the world – from birth to first steps.  The camera follows Ponijao, who lives with her family near Opuwo, Namibia; Bayarjargal, who resides with his family in Mongolia, near Bayanchandmani; Mari, who lives with her family in Tokyo, Japan; and Hattie, who resides with her family in San Francisco."

Now that it is out on DVD , I finally got to see it.  It gave me a lot of food for thought.  There is no dialogue just the shared human experience of raising children.  I loved the way these little children interacted with their different environments.  Their joy, unbridled emotions and curiosity was contagious especially watching scenes like Ponijo drinking from a stream and Mari having a temper tantrum.  Watching the show without dialogue allows you to create your own  dialogue and come to your own conclusions, which for me meant realizing how much we are a part of a much bigger family. Babies only follows the children their first year but I would love to see how they have grown.  A part two would be nice. I am looking forward to seeing it with my nieces and getting their reaction.  If you haven't already, check out Babies.  To get more information and find out how the Babies parents felt about the movies visit

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Snowy Day

With more snow in the winter forecast, it is time to pull out the dog eared copy of The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats and make some hot chocolate.  Everyone enjoys following Peter into the deep snow.  At this time of year, reading The Snowy Day, one of our favorite books has become a tradition.    Written in 1963, today this is a classic now enjoyed by several generations.  With so many little hands grabbing the book, we have gone through a few copies.  I think our next copy should be the board book.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Share the Dream Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

          Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.

                                                                                   Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Collecting Family Stories Part I

I wonder if anyone else watched Henry Gates‘s show Faces of America on PBS and Lisa Kudrow’s Who Do You Think You Are? on NBC.  Both shows were based on the same premise.  They follow celebrities like Brooke Shields, Meryl Streep and Yo Yo Ma, and delve into their family history.  Of course, they find out all kinds of secrets and a few surprises. I was especially moved by Emmet Smith’s journey back to the south during slavery and Lisa Kudrow's journey to Poland and Eastern Europe during the Nazi occupation.  I thought I knew where both stories were going yet each story ended with hope and survival against great odds.  These stories were moving and something that can be watched as a family.  The second season of Lisa Kudrow’s Who Do You Think You Are? will be shown on NBC in February.  Henry Gates‘s Faces of America is now on DVD on PBS.

I have tried collecting family stories but until last year when I met Louise Bobrow I didn’t know that collecting stories could be a professional occupation.  Bobrow is a personal historian, she ask the questions and records the story for families who want to keep a record of their family history.  She interviews family members especially elders before their story is gone.  She was offering classes at the libraries in “Recording and Preserving your Family History.”  She has interviewed families about their immigrant experience and celebrities about their success in America.  She gave great tips for those who want to work on their family story:  
  • Do your research
  • Prepare your Questions – ask opened question, ask who, what, where and when
  • Listen, listen listen – do not interrupt while interviewee is talking
Hopefully, she will be offering more classes this year.  You can contact her at

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Grinch That Almost Stole Christmas

 When I look back on Christmas 2010, I will be grateful for the season for many reasons but  one incident stands out above the rest.  This is a story of how the Grinch almost stole my Christmas spirit.  It was the week of Christmas and I was heading to my nephews' Christmas pageant by bus.  We were suppose to meet at my mother's house first but when I realized that I was going to be too late, I decided to jump on a train and head to their school.  I needed to call my mother and let her know I would meet them at the school but  I didn't have a cell phone on me.  I don't need to tell you I was a little stressed but fortunately, ( I thought) there were two phones in the train station.  So I tried to call her on the first phone but a man who I had not noticed before started, "Miss, can I have some change, can you spare something...blah blah blah" I was very annoyed with the interruption and not in a good mood so I snapped back sharply, " I don't have any more change" ( which was the truth) and preceded to ignore his conversation.

I continued placing my call only to find out that the phone did not work.  I could hear my sister on the other end of the phone but she could not hear me.   After a lot of shouting on my part the telephone just swallowed my money and I realized with dismay that  I had no more change.  So I headed to the token booth to ask the clerk to change a dollar bill for me.  She was sitting there with a small mound of change but looked at me and started screaming, "No, I am not giving you any of my change."  She continued with her loud outburst and shouting for a few minutes.  I was surprised by the scene she was making and was about to say something nasty when the same man who I had just brushed off came to my rescue.  "Don't get upset miss, you need quarters for the phone?" and handed me four quarters.  At that moment I realized that Christmas was much more than the stress I was feeling and it was also a good time to receive as well as give.  So I humbly thanked him and made my call.   Sometimes the lessons I learn come from left field.