Friday, June 21, 2013

J is for Journey

My daughter 'stepped-up' to Kindergarden today.  There will never be another pre-K year for my children.  It feels like a punch in the gut.  I will miss being privy to the abundant creativity and pure JOY of discovery and learning that happens with 4 and 5 year olds.

My daughter was extremely lucky to have landed a wonderful teacher - perhaps the best at her school - for her pre-K year.  Ms. M embodied the philosophy of inquiry–– she literally turned every experience into a 'teachable moment'.  Ms. M knew how to find what was unique in each child and she went above and beyond in nurturing their strengths.

Ms. M was also able to cull the talents of various parents.  For example, she asked an architect mom to design 'blue prints' with the students, she arranged a marine biologist parent teach the class about sharks, and she had a journalist father make a newspaper with the children.

When she found out about my book, B is for BROOKLYN, Ms. M suggested we collaborate on a pre-K alphabet book.  Since every day she took the kids out of the class (rain or shine!) on neighborhood 'journey's', we decided to call the book, "J is for JOURNEY".  I worked together with the kids to illustrate the "J" cover, all of the letters, and various things they learned about and places they journeyed to.

The final book is a combination of collage, photographs, children's art and typography.  The kids did most of the work, I just put it all together.  It was so much fun–– it made me feel like I was experiencing pre-K all over again!

And perhaps most importantly, it reminded me why I love writing and illustrating children's books.  It's a journey that I am happy to continue throughout my adult life.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Art of Batik in Brooklyn

When my son was invited to a birthday party at HiHo Batik, I was a little skeptical.  Batik, the ancient art of wax and dye on fabric (from my hippie days at summer camp), awesome but sooo messy and a little dangerous, too.  How could this be?  Well, this cool new boutique has really brought the hip back in hippie.

As I browsed around the store, I thought that B is for BROOKLYN would be perfect amongst the lemonade and unicycle printed wear.  It seemed like we should partner-up somehow.

The owners of the boutique came up with some amazing ideas.  First, they asked me to custom design "initials" from B is for BROOKLYN for kids (and adults!) to batik onto t-shirts.  They also suggested I design an original Brooklyn t-shirt, which will be unveiled at an "opening party" (June 22).

But the best part for me is that they asked me to chose a charity to donate 10% of t-shirt sales to.

I chose TEAM CALEB and Kid's Walk for Kids with Cancer.

Caleb's mom, Ellen Hollander-Sande, was in my original mother's group 8 years ago.  She was one of the first moms I met.  I was instantly taken by her knowledge as a nurse and her confidence as a new mother.  Motherhood was scary to me.  It was a big deal for me to venture out of the house to meet up with other new moms, I felt timid and insecure.  Any bits of knowledge and help others could offer me were like little gems.  Ellen was very wise and generous.

Now, Ellen and I each have two children. Our kids all go to the same wonderful school: PS10 in South Slope, Brooklyn.  Ellen's second born, Caleb, was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphona this year.  He is responding really well to treatment–– which is the good news so far, but of course, it's an ongoing battle.

Creating a custom batik Brooklyn t-shirt and having this special 'event' is my small contribution to helping Ellen, Caleb and their family.  Please come out and show your support, too!  If nothing else, you'll come away with a cool, new Brooklyn t.  H is for Hip, indeed.

June 22, 2013
10:30am - 12:30pm
refreshments served
HiHo Batik
5th Avenue & Berkeley
Brooklyn, NY

RSVP here if you plan to attend.