On one of the hottest days of the year so far, Linda and Amy took me on a stroll through Sachem Public Library’s beautiful gardens, which are aptly named Inside/Out.

The purpose of the space, Linda says, “is to extend the library’s space outdoors, to get people up and moving.”

Strolling through the garden is one way to get moving; 11 laps around the circular path equals one mile. But Amy has a different kind of movement in mind with the two outdoor programs she’s planning for kids this summer: Mud and Where the Wild Things Are. “They can have their wild rumpus out here!” she says.

A brand new service this year is the Nature Explorer Kits, which are available for families to take out into the garden. Four types of kits are available, the Nature Explorer Kit, Nature Builder Kit 1 and Nature Builder Kit 2 (designed for older kids) and Nature Musician. These kits feature tools and toys children can use to explore, build, and make music in the outdoors. Many of the items are made out of natural wood.

For all the tech-types in the community, Sachem has extended its Wi-Fi services into the gardens. For music lovers, outdoor concerts are planned throughout the summer. With its contemplative garden, nature walk, and occasional wild rumpus, Inside/Out truly has something for everyone.


Meet the Steads

Judy Zuckerman, Chair of the Caldecott Committee that selected A Sick Day For Amos McGee as the winner of the prestigious award, hosted the creators of the book at the Brooklyn Public Library. Erin E. Stead, who illustrated the book, is the youngest person ever to win the Caldecott Medal, and also the first person to win the award for her very first book. Her husband, Philip Christian Stead, wrote the story, which also won the Charlotte Zolotow Honor Award for outstanding writing in a picture book. Neal Porter, who established Neal Porter books and edited Amos McGee, was also present to comment on the creation of the book and sing the praises of working with these remarkable young artists.

The audience got a “photo tour” of the couple’s life together in Ann Arbor, Michigan. They live in a barn –  not in the country – but in the middle of downtown Ann Arbor. The upstairs apartment is where they live with their dog, Wednesday McGee (yes, that’s where Amos’s last name comes from) and the lower level is their studio. Erin showed photos demonstrating how she made the woodcuts for Amos McGee while she talked about her creative process. If you took the CLASC field trip to Books of Wonder some years ago, you may remember Erin, as she is one of the many creators of children’s books to get her start at this remarkable book store that specializes in literature for kids and teens.

Phil, who works across the room from Erin, showed us his process in making his next book, Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat.  Phil, who is also a musician, created this wonderful book trailer that features his own musical composition. When will this book be published? Join the countdown in boat postage stamps at Phil’s blog. He’s collected these since he was eleven years old. His previous book, Creamed Tuna Fish and Peas on Toast, is already available in Suffolk libraries.

Many familiar faces were in the audience, including Kelly and Danielle from Hampton Bays, Christine from Smithtown, and Liz and Amy from Northport-East Northport.