World Day: International Literacy Day (8th Sept)

We take it for granted, the ability to read and write. In fact, most of us take education for granted. That we and our kids would go to school, learn to read and write; most likely go to university and beyond is something we actively plan for, not (just) because we are so confident in their (and our) ability, but because its a given.

That our kids would read- enjoy books, magazines, read school notes… and write- letters, emails, assignments… hey, even, text messages; are something we take for granted.

Over my many trips to Myanmar, it has always been very evident to me that there are kids that cannot read and write. Some probably never will. And no matter how much we support literacy programs there, there will be many that fall through the cracks. Around the world some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

To commemorate International Literacy Day, we took Q to the bookstore to use some of the book vouchers we’ve been saving for one of our “book drought” days.

We have several favorite authors we “collect”. One of our favourite-est is Sandra Boynton who wrote the famous Pookie series. Q’s favorite is Fifteen Animals and he recites it like a little comedy act.

We also love collaborations between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler  the team behind the famous Gruffalo books. They also wrote Stickman and Room on a Broom. His all time favorite is Monkey Puzzle which he reads and re-reads and re-reads.

Q, who’s is way into Ironman and the Avengers, picked out a new Ironman book, complete with moveable arms at the bookstore and has been lugging the said book everywhere!

Because our nights are usually kinda haphazard, we moved reading time to first thing in the morning. And its been great. Before the day descends upon us, we spend time reading. Evan joins us with his picture and touch-and-feel books too!
So, on International Literacy Day, we remember those that may have never even seen a book or have books readily available to them. We have several friends working on community library projects and over the next few months, maybe I’d run a drive to collect books from all of you guys!
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Review: Ace! Festival- The owl who was afraid of the dark

I read this book one day whilst wandering about the kid’s bookstore and while I didn’t like it enough to buy it (read: too expensive in my eyes), I did enjoy the story enough to think that it would make a relatively funny show for kids to watch and was duly excited that it was part of the ACE! Festival! offering.

This was probably the strongest of the festival offerings I watched- the cast started out engaging the audience even before the show actually began and had many pockets of occasions for the audience to participate throughout the show.

The storytelling element itself was beautifully done, kudos to all three actors who- despite a slightly strong English accent that threw me off a little at some points, played their roles magnificently. They kept the story simple enough for my 2.5yo to understand and Q really got into the whole show- singing and participating as requested.

A great show overall.

From the synopsis:
Plop was a baby Barn Owl. He lived at the top of a tall tree, in a field. He was fat and fluffy. He had big round eyes. He had very knackety knees. Plop was exactly the same as every barn owl that has ever been – except for one thing. He was AFRAID of the DARK. One day, Mr Barn Owl suggested that Plop fly down into the world and find out about the dark for himself. So, Plop climbed out of his nest-hole, peeped over the edge, wobbled a bit, and fell off his branch. And so, began Plop’s adventure…

Based on the classic children’s book by Jill Tomlinson, this funny, gentle and reassuring tale (is an) irresistible blend of live music, puppetry and storytelling, this beautiful new show introduces an old friend to a new generation of theatre-goers. Join Plop, the baby barn owl as he journeys into the night-time world of campfires, fireworks, starry nights and moonlit adventures. Come join us, – it’s going to be a hoot!

Review: The tiger who came to tea

Q thoroughly enjoyed watching the Sesame Street live show Elmo’s Green Thumbs and since then, we’ve been fortunate to have been able to take him to several shows and today we caught another gem of a show: The Tiger who came to tea.

Based on the book of the same title by Judith Kerr, this show/book is a lovely story about an unexpected and magical day after lil Sophie and her mother welcome a tiger that turned up on their doorstep. And as hungry tigers go, he eats his way steadily through all the food in their house and all the drinks in the house including “all the water in the sink”. And just as politely as he came- with a flourish and a bow, he makes his exit. And when dad comes home, he takes his family out for supper and the next day, they even bought some tiger food, just in case the tiger ever came back… “but he never did.”

With great story telling and easy repeatable songs that Q managed to catch on by midway of the show, The tiger who came to tea (show) was a delightful way to spend the afternoon. The kids- and parents- were duly entertained by the talented cast of three and I hope you have the chance to take your family to catch this Olivier Award nominee (2012) when it next hits town.