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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
Written by Catherine Mercanti, Summer 2016 Communications Apprentice

 

NYPL
You can see Patience the lion right outside of The New York Public Library!
It’s nearly the end of the summer, have your kids achieved all of their reading goals? If not, why not take them to a place where many kids first learn to love books, the library. To inspire their end-of-summer book bonanza, here are ten fun facts about libraries to share with your kids: 
  1. The largest library in the world is The Library of Congress, with more than 158 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves. (Library Outsourcing
  2. There are more public libraries than McDonald's in the U.S. (ALA)
  3. The marble lions who live outside of the famous Beaux-Arts branch of the New York Public Library, on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Streets, are named Patience and Fortitude. The names were coined by Mayor LaGuardia in the 1930s. (NYPL)
  4. There's one book that's on record as being stolen from libraries more often than any other title—The Guinness Book of World Records. (INALJ)
  5. The smallest library in the world has appeared on the streets of New York City—and it has space for just one reader at a time. (Library Outsourcing
  6. The world’s oldest continuously running library in the world is at the St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai, Egypt. (Library Outsourcing
  7. Did you know that famous historical figures like Mao Zedong, Laura Bush, J. Edgar Hoover, Beverly Cleary, Lewis Carroll and Giacomo Casanova were all librarians at a point in their lives? (AbeBooks)
  8. The NYPL's collection includes a unique 1493 letter written by Christopher Columbus, announcing his "discovery" of the New World. (NYPL)
  9. Beneath Bryant Park are two-level stack extensions, 37 miles of shelving in total, that hold many of the flagship branch's volumes. Think about that next time you're picnicking on the lawn! (NYPL)
  10. Haskell Free Library is built on the US/Canadian border. Exiting the library through the opposite entrance requires one to report to the other country’s customs! (Interesting Facts About Libraries)

Pick a Book!

Now that your kids know a little more about libraries, how about you guys visit one to see the thousands of stories that reside there. There’s no better place than a book to spark your imagination and take you to a completely different land (except for maybe a theater), but how do you pick a story to start? We have a few ‘back to school’ suggestions for you that we happen to know first hand are great!

Ages 2-4
 

Grug and the Rainbow by Ted Prior 
Grug has gone on many fascinating adventures in his life and this is no exception! Join Grug, the fun loving top of a Burrawang tree, as he sets out to try and make a rainbow that really lasts. Grug will come to life later this season on The New Victory stage in May, but to hold you over until then, we recommend reading any of his thirty stories. 
The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers 
If you found a single propeller airplane in your room, where would you fly off to? One boy finds himself in this very scenario and flies himself all the way to the moon! But how will he find his way back home? This story comes to the New Vic in March, but who can wait that long to find out? Read this heartwarming tale by Oliver Jeffers to chart the boy’s courageous journey back home. 
Elephants Cannot Dance! By Mo Willems
Elephant Gerald and Piggie are set to star in their new musical later this season at the New Vic, but it took a lot of rehearsing to get this dynamic duo ready for the bright lights. In Elephants Cannot Dance! Piggie teaches her dear friend Elephant to dance is this zany story. We hope Gerald’s moves are ready for his big debut

Ages 5-6
 
Olivia Saves the Circus by Ian Falconer 
This season, we have three circus shows. That a lot of acrobats and juggling and dance to prepare for! To get you in the circus mood, we recommend Olivia Saves the Circus. Olivia is a spunky six year old pig with lots of skills. Some of these skills involve single handedly saving a circus who’s entire troop has fallen ill! 
Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare by Rosie Dickins
This season, Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar comes to the New Vic in rep with X, the story of Malcolm X. While this production is targeted for older kids, it’s always a good time to introduce the Bard to your kids. This book beautifully illustrates some of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and voices them for young minds, something we’re big fans of at the New Vic.

Ages 7-9
 

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater 
This beloved classic comes to life in October with amazing puppetry and catchy tunes, but if you can’t wait that long, relive the wacky tale with the original story. Mr. and Mrs. Popper’s life gets a little crazy when a package in the form of a penguin arrives at their door. 
Malcolm Little by Ilyasah Shabazz
This book tells the story of how Malcolm Little became Malcolm X, as told by his daughter.  Malcolm X's work as an activist changed the lives of millions and his influence is still felt today! We'll see his life play out on stage in Marcus Gardley's X later this season, but to learn more about this influential figure, this book is a great place to start.   

Ages 10+
 

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
This famed nautical tale kicks off our season this year. The tale contains daring adventures, mythical creatures and a journey into the unknown. While the book itself is a little daunting for young readers, we think this pick is a great opportunity for you and your child to read together. Then, when you’ve finished the story, see it come to life in a whole new way on stage with us! 
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry 
This season, Nivelli’s War tells the captivating tale of Ernst, a young boy whose life is torn apart due to World War II. In Number the Stars, a modern classic for young readers, Annamarie Johansen lives in Copenhagen with her family. The novel tells of her journey during the war, both physically and emotionally. Annamarie’s story will grip your heart.
 
Those are a bunch of books to get started on. No matter which story you share with your kids, their love of reading will only grow stronger from then on. Do you have any favorite books you share with your kids? Share your picks with us in the comments below, on Twitter or on Facebook!
 
 
Catherine Mercanti Catherine Mercanti is a Communications Apprentice for The New 42nd Street. She is currently a sophomore at Fordham University with a major in marketing and a minor in communications and media studies. A native of New Jersey, Catherine is passionate about musical theater, eating desserts, reading and dogs.

 
Posted by Beth Henderson

As we continue with our theme of summer slide prevention, we wanted to open up Scholastic's list of suggested summer reading with a few more titles. Specifically, books that focus on LGBT characters. Navigating the world as a growing kid can be difficult, especially if they feel different from their peers.

The following books were chosen both to show LGBT kids that they are not alone and to educate their peers on what it means to be them! With June being LGBT Pride Month, this is the perfect time to use this list to start a conversation with your family about gender, sexuality and diversity! 

Ages 3+
What Makes A Baby
Not everyone can have a baby the same way! This is a simple and clear primer that families can be different.

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
A blue crayon that’s mistaken for red, the funny, insightful and colorful, Red: A Crayon's Story is about being true to your inner self and following your own path despite obstacles that may come your way.

Mister Seahorse
When Mrs. Seahorse lays her eggs, she does it on Mr. Seahorse's belly! She knows he will take good care of them. While he swims waiting for the eggs to hatch, he meets other underwater fathers caring for their babies.

Ages 4-7
Normal Norman
What is "normal?" That's the question an eager young scientist, narrating her very first book, hopes to answer. Unfortunately, her exceedingly "normal" subject—an orangutan named Norman—turns out to be exceptionally strange. 

Ages 5+
A Princess of Great Daring
When Jamie is ready to tell her friends that she’s really a girl inside, she gathers her courage by becoming a princess of great daring in a game she plays with her friends.

Love is in the Hair
Carter's up in the middle of the night, too excited to sleep: her baby sister is being born! She asks her Uncle Marcus to tell her stories about the beautiful things in his dreadlocks so she can relax and rest.

Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress 
Morris has a great imagination. He paints amazing pictures and he loves his classroom's dress-up center, especially the tangerine dress. It reminds him of tigers, the sun and his mother's hair. The other children don't understand — dresses, they say, are for girls...

Ages 7+
Steven Universe (The Comics)
Steven and the Gems live in Beach City, where they repeatedly protect the citizens from magical, otherwordly happenings.

Ages 8+
Lumberjanes
A tender, ongoing comic series about a group of friends at Scout Camp who go on various magical adventures and discover their true selves.

Ages 10+
That One Kid Who Freaked Out, or Whatever
Seventeen-year-old Nicandro Stellan Colby is doing his best not to completely freak out, despite the fact that his parents named him after a romance novel zombie, he has no clue what to do after his fast-approaching high school graduation from middle-of-nowhere Wilmurth, Texas, and, oh yeah, he just accidentally asked out the boy of his dreams over the school intercom. 

 
 
Katie Diamond Katie Diamond is the Marketing & Design Associate at The New Victory Theater, where she gets to zoom in 800% on really intricate drawings and photos. When she's not at the New Vic, she can be found drawing pictures of various cephalopods. 

 
Posted by Beth Henderson
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