Archive for the ‘libraries and bookstores’ Category

Parents on the Avenue: Voices of Adoption

October 24, 2008

Chestnut Hill mom and writing professor Andrea Ross has started a blog: The Sought-After: On Growing Up Adopted.

An intimate glimpse into the life of an adult adoptee, her writing is personal, informative, and touching. In the few posts already up, she touches on being adopted, finding your birth parents, infertility, exploring adoption, and parenting her five year old son. In her latest post, she provides readers with a great list of resources on all aspects of adoption with perspectives from both adoptees and adoptive parents, memoirs, psychology, and even poetry.

Have you been touched by adoption? Andrea and her colleague Betsy Self Elijah will be holding a free one-day writing workshop at the Big Blue Marble in November:



Voices of Adoption

This one-day workshop is for anyone touched by adoption who wishes to explore her or his stories through creative writing. In a relaxed and supportive environment, the instructors will guide students through writing prompts, sharing of work, giving and receiving of constructive feedback, and discuss

ion of the writing process and adoption-related topics.

WHEN: Saturday, November 15, 2008, 1-3pm

WHERE: Big Blue Marble Bookstore, 3rd Floor Community Room, 551 Carpenter Lane, Philadelphia, PA 19119

COST: Free

To RSVP for Voices of Adoption, contact Andrea Ross at writerinres2004@yahoo.com or 530-220-9250.

Andrea Ross, M.A., was adopted in Colorado in the late 1960s. She has a Master’s degree in creative writing, and has been teaching creative writing courses for all ages since 1992 through California Poets in the Schools and the University of California. A former wilderness guide, Andrea is especially interested in writing about the intersections between adoption, literature, and the environment. Since moving to Philadelphia recently, she has taught writing at La Salle University and The Morris Arboretum.

Betsy Self Elijah, M.F.A., was born in South Korea and adopted by a Caucasian family in the 1970s. With an MFA in Creative Writing: Memoir and Creative Nonfiction, Betsy serves as nonfiction editor for Quay, a literary journal, and has taught personal narrative writing workshops in the Philadelphia public school system, Free Library of Philadelphia, Asian Arts Initiative, Pan African Studies Community Education Program at Temple University, and Mt. Airy Learning Tree. Betsy works as a Reading and Writing Specialist for Community College of Philadelphia and as a freelance writer for the Chestnut Hill Local.

Let’s Read: William Jeannes Memorial Library

October 23, 2008
It is a bit farther up the road that some other libraries, but I think the drive to William Jeannes Memorial Library is completely worth it.  (And I usually head up Stenton Avenue to Joshua Road for the scenic route through farm land).  
Jeannesstory times are nothing short of amazing. They are down in the basement, but it is a very large room and you can enter it directly from a door at the back of the library.  Add your kids’ names to the list on the table and there will be a name tag for them the next time you visit, a circle they can wear proudly around their neck.

 


The librarians do a wonderful job and even include a little craft at the end of each reading. The stories are usually themed and include songs and visuals, such as a felt board.  There is even a puppet named Lucy who participates in the activities!  The librarian is very animated and understanding of the kids, really someone straight out of Mr. Roger’s neighborhood (and I mean that in the best of ways).

This is obviously not an activity that is thrown together at the last minute.  These story times are very well planned and carried out.  Yesterday’s theme was leaves and fall.  Lucy (the puppet) started with a conversation with the librarian (Miss Linda) about who had found the biggest leaf, as they went through some different leaves found outside.  Three leaf-related books were read, between songs like “The Leaves Are Falling Down.”  The kids then went to some tables to decorate trees with different colored paper leaves.

If you have little ones who are not in school yet, this is great preparation for future school days and is just plain fun.  It really is like a school lesson; it’s amazing we get to bring our kids for free!




After the story time, head upstairs to the children’s section of the library.  It is nice, large space with three circle tables and kid-sized chairs for children to sit at.  They have stacks of great puzzles and a few toys for kids to play with.  There is even a rocking chair for those tired moms and babies.

There is also a great section of cloth activity bags available for checkout.  Each bag contains a book, a related stuffed animal, and a tape, all with the same theme (such as whales).  You can check these out for two weeks.   



The grounds around this library are also great. We even suggest making a day of this trip and bringing a picnic lunch to eat outside afterwards, under one of their beautiful cherry trees. There is also a nice grove of pine trees that kids love to play in, a fun “hideaway” for them.

So, if you want to check out a new library, I highly recommend Jeannes.  Tomorrow (Fri. Oct. 24th) is the perfect time to try it out; there will be a special event, Puppets Pizazz, at 4:00pm.  There will be non-scary Halloween puppets.  Or, go on Saturday for Makin‘ Music at 11:00am.  

If you can’t make it this week, check out Jeannes next week for some special days:  Wed. Oct 29th and Thurs. Oct. 30th — all story times will be Halloween-themed.  Children are encouraged to come in costume and treats will be handed out.  (You may also bring some treats if you like).

Jeannes Library is not part of the Philadelphia Free Library system; it is part of Whitemarsh Township.  You can, however, use your free library card there.  You will need to fill out a new form, but you won’t need to be issued a different card.    

4051 Joshua Road, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444
610.828.0441
map

Full Calendar of Events

Fall Story Times:
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 am: “Mother Goose on the Loose”(1-30 mo.)
Tuesdays at 11:15am and Thursdays at 1:30pm — 3-5 yr
olds
Wednesdays at 10:15am and Thursdays at 11:15am — 2 1/2-3 1/2 yr
olds (Miss Linda and “Lucy”)
NEW:  Wednesdays at 4:00pm — 3-6 yr
olds
Bedtime
Story times: 3rd Tuesday of each mo. at 7pm for 3-7 yr olds


Let’s Play: The Plymouth Meeting Mall

October 7, 2008

Some of the following post is a re-posting of one of our earliest entries, entitled “Rainy Day Solutions,” but there is a lot of new information and news about amazing features coming soon to the mall, so don’t skip it!


Are you running out of ideas for places to take the kids?  Especially on those dreary, rainy days?And we all know it will be to cold soon to frequent area play grounds and parks, so we need to start preparing to visit some indoor attractions too.

So, here is an idea for you:  Plymouth Meeting Mall.  Yes, it’s a mall. But, more importantly, it is a mall with a beautiful carouselan enchanting fountain, a free futuristic kids’ game and much more to come! Just the kind of distractions you need for your little ones. Start out at the food court entrance to eat or enjoy a ride (or 10) on the carousel and then head down to your left to the other end of the mall where you will find a huge, lit fountain.

The carousel is an amazing, two-story structure complete with 
rocking benches for moms with babies and spinning teacups for your older, adventurous kids.  (Take my word for it; don’t eat your cheese steak and immediately afterwards agree to join your child in the tea cup.  Not a good idea.) At $2.00 a ride, it’s a great deal for the smiles it will put on your kids’ faces.  We just wish you good luck getting them off of it.

And the light and water show of the fountain will entertain your little ones and give you a break for a while. They love to watch the water slowly rising up,up, almost to the ceiling! And they’ll want to make a wish, of course, so bring your pennies!

If you’re looking for another free way to entertain young and older kids, head over to the Starbucks kiosk and you will see an amazing treat on the floor behind it.  There is a large rectangle projected onto the floor that rotates through different video-like games.  And it is interactive!  And totally free!  Stand on it and use your feet to play the games.  The games range from kicking balls around to racing cars on a track.  You might even enjoy it; it is pretty cool!

And, if that isn’t enough fun for you, there is the new Dave and Buster’s across from the fountain, a huge arcade, bar, and restaurant with ride-on games that make you feel like you are really racing a car, skiing down a mountain, or kayaking through river rapids.  (Their food is yummy too.)  Minors must be accompanied by an adult over the age of 25.  This is a great place to plan events also.  Visit Dave and Buster’s on Halloween to play for 1/2 price!

And you won’t believe what is about to park itself near the food court (some time in “fall/holiday 2008″):  Krazy City.  I have never personally been to one, but I have to say after viewing the website, it looks pretty crazy.  It will be a two-level indoor theme park for children age 3-14.  

Krazy City will contain an arcade, lit bowling alley, a black light miniature golf course with an underwater theme, a prehistoric dig area, an interactive soft ball maze where kids can shoot these balls out of guns and cannons, and mining for gemstones in a stream.  Can you believe this place?  There will even be some of the smaller amusement park-type rides!  And, of course, a restaurant, in case your kids have time to remember that they are hungry.

Make sure to stop by the Customer Service Center in the mall during October for “Think Pink,” which includes free give-aways of shopping bags and shower cards to educate women on breast health.  Also, stop by  Boscov’s in the mall tomorrow (Tuesday, Oct. 7th) for “Friends Helping Friends.”  This is an event that will be held from 9am-9pm and the proceeds will go to non-profit organizations.  These local organizations will be selling 25% tickets for just $5!  Boscov’s will provide food demos, special sale prices on clothing and appliances, and prizes.  “School of Rock” will be providing the entertainment!

Don’t have a great place to trick or treat on Halloween?  Visit the mall for their annual Mall O Ween Trick or Treat event, from 5:30-7:30pm on Halloween.

Some other additions to Plymouth Meeting Mall to look for: 
 
A new Borders Express on the lower level to open mid-October
The largest Whole Foods in the area, with roof-top cafe, to open spring 2009.
Underground parking with more than 350 spaces to be finished in spring 2009

The mall’s site even has an interactive map so that you can get a visual of where these places are before you leave the house.

The mall is located at:  500 W. Germantown Pike, Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462.  
It is open Monday through Saturday 10am – 9:30pm Sunday 11am – 6pm
610.825.9351
map


Your Turn:  Click the “comment” link below and let us know what you think of these new mall additions.  A good idea?  Too much?  Are you annoyed by all the construction?  What do you think about the idea of Krazy City?  Exciting or crazy?  We want to hear from you!  And come back by here to respond to other readers’ opinions!

Let’s Read: The Big Blue Marble Bookstore

September 24, 2008

Are you tired of the same old big, chain bookstore?  Then it’s time for a visit to The Big Blue Marble Book Store in Mt. Airy.


This is a wonderfully quaint little shop right next to the Weaver’s Way Co-op.  There is only on-street parking and it does sometimes get crowded in this area, so walking might be nice if you’re close by.
 
The children’s section is small, but fabulous, set down from the rest of the shop with plenty of toys for kids to play with and a kid-sized table to accommodate little readers.  They have a great selection of books and other products, such as “Knuffle Bunny” shirts for kids.  The staff is also very friendly and knowledgeable about the books they carry.

The Big Blue Marble specializes in “progressive and multicultural titles of interest to Philadelphians in general and Mt. Airy-ites in particular: children’s books; woman-centered pregnancy and parenting; sustainable living; lesbian/gay, African-American, and Jewish studies; feminist science fiction; literary graphic novels; and smart, fun fiction.”

After perusing through the titles downstairs, take a minute to wander up to the second-floor book section that borders a full cafe serving coffees, teas, and desserts.  The kids will be entertained by the colorful foam seating on the floor for them to lounge on or run around in circles on, as my son did.  Or, they can cook up a meal for you at the adorable wooden toy kitchen.

If the weather is nice, follow the back door out to a private deck with seating to enjoy your book and coffee or tea.  There is just enough room for the little ones to roam around happily, but safely, as well.

The story time on Thursday has been small lately, but the story teller is engaging, fun, and very understanding of distracted children.  She is flexible and happy to read a book pulled off a shelf by a child.  She obviously knows children’s books well and reads them like a true story teller.  

If you have you have a bigger kid at home, he or she can go to the Big Blue Marble on the fourth Thursday of the month for the Big Blue YA Book Discussion.

Baby Group: Tuesdays at 10:00am — An informal gathering of babies (and parents) playing, reading, and hanging out.
Story Time: Thursdays at 11:00am

Open Mon- Wed 10-7, Thurs 10-8, Fri 10-9
New Weekend Hours:  Open Sat. and Sun. 10-5

Located at 551 Carpenter Lane Philadelphia, PA 19119 
215.844.1870
map

Let’s Read: Lovett Branch – Free Library of Philadelphia

September 13, 2008

Located at the corner of Sedgwick St. and Germantown Ave. in Mt. Airy, the Lovett Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia has lots to offer for local kids and families. At first I was disappointed that it wasn’t stroller friendly (the children’s section is on the second floor and the library does not have an elevator) but I quickly learned that if you wheel your stroller up the ramp on the Sedgwick St. side of the building and ring the doorbell, someone will let you in and then when you’re done browsing you can ask a staff person to take your books down to the desk while you go back around to the front entrance to check them out. This may not seem convenient, but for us it’s a lot more convenient than getting in the car and driving to Chestnut Hill! Also, the second floor is only the children’s section so kids have more freedom to explore on their own without you worrying about them wandering into the stacks, bothering people, making a mess, or getting lost.

The children’s section of the library has four computers, books, magazines, CDs (stories and music), study tables, and movies for kids of all ages.

The branch also has a monthly storytime for preschoolers (the next one is Thursday 10/23 at 10am), a drop-in knitting group for all ages (kids and adults) that meets Thursdays from 3-430, and the Knights of Lovett Library Chess Club (also for all ages and skill levels) on Saturdays from 2-4pm starting again on October 4th. They also have LEAP – an afterschool drop-in program providing homework assistance, computer literacy, library skills, and multicultural enrichment activities for school-age students in grades 1-12.

On Monday, October 6th at 6:30pm, the branch will host Books Aloud!: Nursery Rhymes & Mother Goose, a free one hour literacy workshop for parents and teachers of pre-school children. Participants receive Free Books! Call 215-686-5372 to register.

When you check out the library, be sure to check out the large green space next door, too. There are some great artistic benches and lots of room for running, playing, reading, or having a picnic.

Let’s Read: What’s the Story?

August 11, 2008

There are tons of libraries around, most with scheduled story times for kids. So, which ones are worth it? Which ones feature old women reading books while they yell at our kids to sit down? Here’s the story:

Philadelphia Free Library — Chestnut Hill Branch
8711 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118-2716 (Germantown Ave. & Bethlehem Pike)
215.248.0977
map

Story time: Tuesdays at 10:30-11:15 am (
for children 18 mo.-3 yrs).
Children’s Librarian Ms. Klemas reads stories, sings songs, and leads the children in finger rhymes. Parking is available in paid lot off Bethlehem Pike — tickets validated at library circulation desk.

Ms. Klemas is relatively new to this location, but is doing a fantastic job. She is very upbeat and great with the kids. This one can get crowded, but there is plenty of room and cookies afterwards! If you have a stroller, make sure you come in at the side entrance (the left side of the building). You can come up the ramp and even leave your stroller outside if you want.

*There will be no story times for the majority of September. They will resume on Sept. 30th.

Borders Book Store in Chestnut Hill
8701 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19118
215.248.1213
map

Story time every Monday at 11:00 am

open to all ages

This is a nice story time at a beautiful Borders location. The story time takes place on the second floor next to the cafe. So, grab a coffe before or after or even drink while you watch your bigger kids enjoying the stories. This one can also sometimes be crowded, so get there early to get a good spot on the floor. And remember that you will be coming up an elevator, so you will do better without a large stroller if you can help it.

The Big Blue Marble Book Store in Mt. Airy
551 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19119
215.844.1870
map

Baby Group
: Tuesdays at 10:00am — An informal gathering of babies (and parents) playing, reading, and hanging out.
Story Time: Thursdays at 11:00am

This is a great little book store right next to Weaver’s Way Co-op. There is only on-street parking and it does sometimes get crowded in this area, so walking might be nice if you’re close by. The children’s section is small, but fabulous, set down from the rest of the shop with plenty of toys for kids to play with and a kid-sized table to accomodate little readers. They have a great selection of books and a cafe upstairs. The staff is also very friendly.

Our review of the story time will be posted soon.


Jeannes Library – Lafayette Hill

4051 Joshua Road, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444
610.828.0441
map

Fall Story Times (starting Sept. 9th):
Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:15 am: “Mother Goose on the Loose”
(1-30 mo.)
Tuesdays at 11:15am and Thursdays at 1:30pm — 3-5 yr olds
Wednesdays at 10:15am and Thursdays at 11:15am — 2 1/2-3 1/2 yr olds

Bedtime Storytimes: 3rd Tuesday of each mo. at 7pm for 3-7 yr olds

These story times are nothing short of amazing. They are down in the basement, but it is a very large room. The librarians do a wonderful job and even include a little craft at the end of each reading. The stories are usually themed and include songs and visuals.

The grounds around this library are also great. We even suggest making a day of this trip and bringing a picnic lunch to eat outside afterwards, under one of their beautiful cherry trees. There is also a nice grove of pine trees that kids love to play in, a fun “hideaway” for them.


Plymouth Meeting Barnes and Noble
The Metroplex, 2300 Chemical Road

Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
610.567.2900
map

Story time: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10.30am
Both for pre-school (ages 3-6) and beginning readers (ages 5-8)

Our review will be posted soon.


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