“Mama, mia!” A crowd of 90 celebrated Children’s Book Week at the South Milwaukee Public Library recently with stories, art, and a gelato treat!
The Italian ice-cream was part of Sara Laux Akin’s reading of her new picture book, “Three Scoops and a Fig.” On cue, the kids shouted, “Mama, mia,” as the book’s main character, Sofia, caused disaster after disaster trying to help her Italian family make a special meal for her grandparents. Following the reading, the kids learned how a story comes together, and helped Akin build a pretend sundae with a fig on top just like Sofia’s.
Another of the evening’s stories, “Good Night, Little Sea Otter,” by South Milwaukee author Janet Halfmann, took the kids to an ocean kelp forest. A chorus of “Good Nights” filled the room as the kids pretended to be ocean animals answering Little Sea Otter as he tried to stall bedtime. The kids held tight to strands of kelp (green fleece) to keep the otters from drifting away on the waves.
In another room, the kids helped illustrator Carol Schwartz decide on colors, and handed her the art tools needed to draw a fire-breathing dragon for one group, and a tiger cub for another. When the cub needed a friend, the kids chose a turtle.
Schwartz’s pictures became part of a prize drawing, with one of the art pieces going to the library at E.W. Luther. Kids also played a “Guess How Many” game and had books signed by the authors and illustrator. Volunteens helped put on the event.
The library’s Youth Room was decked out with “One World, Many Stories” bookmarks and posters created by South Milwaukee students. The kids spent the weeks before the celebration reading and discussing the presenters’ books. On event night, they were ready with questions, such as, “Are you famous?”
The program, the third annual, was a joint effort of the library, South Milwaukee Public Schools, and the Wisconsin Chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.
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