Early in each new year, the American Library Association (ALA) gathers for its annual midwinter conference. Usually the hottest ticket is a seat to hear the announcements for the Newbery and Caldecott Awards, two of the most prestigious literary prizes for works written and illustrated for children during the previous year. Rochester's Linda Sue Park won the 2002 Newbery for A Single Shard.
A national committee determines the winners and honor books for ALA, but here in Monroe County, Children's Librarians from public libraries meet in December to discuss potential winners and make a few predictions of their own. This year, the group selected the following titles as serious contenders for the Caldecott (illustration): Mr. Maxwell's Mouse (Frank Asch), Hot Day on Abbott Avenue (Karen English), Sidewalk Circus (Paul Fleischman), Kitten's First Full Moon (Kevin Henkes), Coming on Home Soon (Jacqueline Woodson), Actual Size (Steve Jenkins), and my own personal favorite, Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (Mo Willems).
Predictions for this year's potential Newbery (for outstanding writing) included: Al Capone Does My Shirts (Gennifer Choldenko), The Teacher's Funeral: A Comedy in Three Parts (Richard Peck), The Sea of Trolls (Nancy Farmer), and the one that gets my vote, Ida B:...and Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly) Save the World (Katherine Hannigan).
Why not make it your New Year's resolution to visit your local library and borrow some of these fine titles to share with your family?
--- Carolyn Schuler
This week for families:
Henrietta Public Library Storytimes for toddlers: Tues, Jan 4, 10:15-10:45 a.m. | for preschoolers: Tues, Jan 4, 11 a.m. and Wed, Jan 5, 10:15-10:45 a.m. | 455 Calkins Rd. 359-7092, www.hpl.org
RMSC Strasenburgh Planetarium 657 East Ave. Giant-screen film: Bears, Wed-Fri 4 p.m.; Sat 2, 4, 8 p.m.; Sun 1, 2, 4 p.m. | Star shows: Hubble's Universe: Sat 1 p.m.; I See the Sky: Sat 9:30 a.m. | Laser shows: Moody Blues Laser, Sat 9 p.m.; Holiday Songs and Skies with Mr. Jack Frost, Sat 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., Sun 3 p.m.| $4-$7. 271-1880, www.rmsc.org
Rochester Museum and Science Center 657 East Ave. through Thurs, Dec 30, holiday science and technology days, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. | through Thurs, Dec 30, Take-It-Apart, 2-4:30 p.m. | Surprise! It's Science, through May 2005 | Rochester's Frederick Douglass, through January 2006 | Live Science! demos and theater, Sat 2, 3, 4 p.m.; Sun 1:30, 2:30, 3:30 p.m. Sat 3 p.m. show sign-interpreted | Ongoing exhibits include: AdventureZone, Carlson Inquiry Room, At the Western Door | Hours: Mon-Sat 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m., closed Sat, Dec 25. Tix: $5-$7. 271-1880, www.rmsc.org.
Strong Museum 1 Manhattan Square. Through Sun, Jan 2, school break with Arthur. | Arthur's World, through Jan 23. | Long-term exhibits include National Toy Hall of Fame, Can You Tell Me How To Get To Sesame Street? and Super Kids Market. Hours: Mon-Thurs 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Fri 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sun 12-5 p.m. Tix: $7; $6 seniors, students; $5 children. 263-2700
Potty like it's 1999
Just because you have kids doesn't mean you can't have fun on New Year's Eve. Just not that much of it. Did I say that? I meant having kids enriches your New Year's Eve experience in ways you never dreamed possible.
Sometimes being a parent actually gives you more time to party. I attained a new level of maturity --- the good kind, not the kind that requires wearing Depends --- when I realized there was no need to shave my legs and apply makeup just because I was going somewhere other than Wegmans. Right there, I picked up an extra ten minutes at the buffet table.
Plus, you have more partying options with kids. Get a sitter and head someplace classy like you used to, or take the kids to an event like the Family New Year's Eve Party at the Dome Center in Henrietta. In case you didn't get enough fireworks when the relatives discussed politics over your holiday dinner, there'll be another display at 9:30 p.m. (call 359-2540 for details).
You'll spend less money celebrating now that you're a parent. I think of my kids as my built-in two-drink maximum. Whether we enjoy a quiet evening with friends or live it up downtown, they'll still wake up at 7 a.m. on January 1st.
I've always thought becoming a parent is a sign that God thinks you're having way too much fun. So get out there on Friday night and wear your parenthood like a badge of honor.
--- Linda Kostin (www.junkstorecowgirl.com)