Parents and Children Get Together to Talk about Books

The New York Council for the Humanities’ Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents program provides funding for libraries to create a welcoming forum for families to come together to talk about books. Each of the six 90-minute Together sessions is co-facilitated by a public librarian and a humanities scholar from the local community. The sessions explore key themes in American life such as courage, freedom, and what it means to be American.

According to Erika Halstead, the Program Officer for the New York Council for the Humanities, six libraries in Suffolk County have received a grant to host a Together—Book Talk for Kids and Parents program:

• Brentwood Public Library (fall 2008)

• Floyd Memorial Library (spring 2009)

• South Huntington Public Library (fall 2009, fall 2010)

• Emma S. Clark Memorial Library (spring 2010)

• Rogers Memorial Library (spring 2011)

• Northport-East Northport Public Library (fall 2011)

This summer, Brentwood Public Library is hosting a Family Reading and Discussion Program through a Together extension grant. I stopped by on Wednesday night, July 13th to participate in the discussion. Myrna and her collaborator Yolanda, a teacher at Southeast Elementary School, are pictured here with the featured books The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson and Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles.

The Together program is a wonderful opportunity for families to spend time together talking about ideas and experiences and it all starts with a book as a catalyst. It is great to hear a parent share their experiences and hear a child say, “Mom, I never knew that happened.” And kids have lots of ideas and experiences to share that they may not have even considered talking about until we bring them in a group and encourage them to share. It’s a great way to bring everyone together to read and talk and hopefully the reading and conversations will continue at home. – Myrna, Children’s Librarian at Brentwood Public Library

Check back with the blog in the fall for the latest from the Northport-East Northport Public Library, who will be partnering on the Together project with Heather Forest, storyteller and speaker at the September 14th SCLS program “The Magic of Words.”

Would you like to offer the Together program at your library? The deadline for spring 2012 applications is December 1, 2011.

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The Magic of Words

On September 14th, 2011, Youth Services will host the program “The Magic of Words: A Storytelling Skills Workshop” featuring Heather Forest, storyteller and children’s book author.

For over thirty five years, Heather has been teaching and performing nationally and abroad as well as in our communities. This resident of Huntington uses a minstrel-style method of storytelling to share stories from around the globe with audiences of all ages. Heather’s virtuosity paired with her ability to teach makes her workshops unforgettable. 

Heather – in addition to holding a Masters Degree in Storytelling and a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change – is the recipient of the National Storytelling Network’s Circle of Excellence Award, the founder and director of Story Arts, Inc., and the webmistress of Story Arts Online.

The interactive storytelling workshop for staff of Suffolk libraraies will begin promptly on September 14th at 9:30am (coffee and tea at 9:00am) and end at 12:30pm. Registration for “The Magic of Words” is now open to all Suffolk Public Library staff. Take a peek at some of Heather’s books such as The Little Red Hen: An Old Fable, illustrated by another Huntington resident, Susan Graber.