Sunday, December 14, 2008

New Year, New Venue!

We're no longer homeless...

Al and Suzie of CRANKY AL'S (69th & North, have graciously adopted us. Although we will forever miss our original space at the Parkway Cafe, I'm excited at the similarities Crank's has to offer: the warm feeling of a locally owned neighborhood spot, big windows with lots of natural light (even a northeast corner entrance!), and great coffee!

The other day I stopped in for a visit and Suzie commented, "I'm amazed at how many of your storytime parents are already customers!" I'm so excited over their enthusiasm in hosting us.

So mark your calendars for the first Tuesday of the year, January 6th at 10 am (of course)!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Like Music to the Ears

"The ups and downs of our voices and our pauses and points of emphasis are like music, literally, to the ears of young children, and they love music. Simple tunes also make anything easier to remember, so it’s useful to read a book in exactly the same way every time, and to read the same book over and over again. The more quickly children pick up the "tune" of the words, the more they’ll remember the words and the more quickly they’ll have fun trying to ‘read’ the story themselves, with the same expression as we do."

I love this quote from READING MAGIC: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever, by Mem Fox.

Reminds me of the "music" we made when reading On a Wintry Morning (by Germantown author Dori Chaconas) together that day. The audience participation was fabulous! We'll have to read that one again this winter when we reconnect.

Hope everyone is enjoying this snow!

Monday, December 1, 2008

One Tuesday Morning in June

Less than a mile off the beautiful Menomonee River Parkway (where the border of Milwaukee and Wauwatosa mingle so much, it doesn't even really matter where you are!), we began our first storytime one Tuesday morning in June on the corner of 92nd & Center at a charming little neighborhood establishment, the Parkway Cafe.

Armed with: Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, a real-live caterpillar we harvested from the neighbor's dill, and a stack of construction paper circles and glue sticks; we began our Tuesdays at Ten story group!

Each week we met. Soon the caterpillar hardened into its chrysalis, and then became a beautiful black swallowtail butterfly. Our group grew steadily as the summer progressed. How fun it was to watch through the big windows as everyone came rolling up in strollers!

We had story times about: clouds, water, farm animals, zoo animals, our feelings, our five senses (I think we only made it through four senses because the big red bag became due at the library, and we became sidetracked on other things...oops!), the moon, the leaves, and dressing for winter weather... "Thumb in the thumb place, fingers all together! This is the song we sing in mitten weather!"

We had our momentary tantrums, spilled milk, clunked heads, and stepped-on toes; but we shared it all together. We read, we sang, we used our fingers! We were genuinely happy to be together.

Unfortunately, we lost our original home when the cafe closed its doors in mid November. Though, as they say, "When one door closes, another door opens."

As we search for a new home for our group, let's stay connected. I'll continue to share ideas, links, and photos. Be sure to stay tuned for our new venue!