Live, interactive readings of social justice picture books for grades K-3
Westport Country Playhouse will launch “Story Hour with Jenny,” a live, virtual series to engage children, grades K-3, in an interactive reading of social justice picture books.
The books in the series are written and illustrated by BIPOC artists. Their themes center on the four pillars of the Playhouse’s education department: Empathy, collaboration, activism, and literacy. For each “Story Hour with Jenny,” kids will receive the book and an activity packet. All books were purchased by the Playhouse from People Get Ready, a Black-owned community book space in New Haven. https://www.peoplegetreadybooks.com/
“Wings,” written and illustrated Christopher Myers, ©2000, reflecting the Playhouse pillar of education, empathy, will be read on May 16. The book asks the question: Are you brave enough to be your true self? Ikarus Jackson is, but it isn't always easy. The people in his neighborhood point at his wings. The kids at school laugh. The teachers call him a distraction. One girl identifies with Ikarus, but she is too shy to speak up for herself, let alone for him. Maybe I should have said something to those mean kids, she thinks, when their taunts send him drifting into the sky. Inspired by Ikarus's own courage, she sets out in search of him and so begins her own journey of self-discovery, leaving both of them transformed. The author said, "I wanted to create a book that tells kids never to abandon the things that make them different, to be proud of what makes them unique. Every child has his own beauty, her own talents. Ikarus Jackson can fly through the air; I want kids to find their own set of wings and soar with him."
Jenny Nelson, who will lead “Story Hour with Jenny,” hails from Arizona where she received her bachelor’s degree in theater, master’s degree in theater from the University of Arizona, and a second master’s degree in education from Fairfield University. She is the associate artistic director of Collective Consciousness Theatre, a social justice theater in New Haven. She has taught at several universities, including City College of New York in the graduate program for theater professionals and educators. She has also worked as an artist and educator at several theaters, including Long Wharf Theatre, Shubert Theatre, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Recently, Nelson was a nominee for the Tony Teaching Award of Excellence.
Each “Story Hour with Jenny” session, including picture book and activity packet, is $40 per family. There is also a pay-what-you-can option, minimum $10. Enrollment is open three weeks prior to each session. Limited enrollment; first come, first serve. To register, visit https://tickets.westportplayhouse.org/overview/storyhour, call the Playhouse box office at (203) 227-4177, or email email@example.com.
Education programming at Westport Country Playhouse is generously supported by Roz and Bud Siegel.
Due to the global pandemic, the Playhouse campus remains closed since March 2020. The 2021 Season is scheduled to begin in April, online and in-person. Playhouse management will be following the science and the State of Connecticut Department of Health guidelines in deciding when and how to safely open its buildings to the public.
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