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Friends Fair Shows Kids Still Like Books

With a pilot program lending iPads to all middle schoolers, Friends Academy is exploring the leading edge of education technology, but the grand old technology of ink on paper took center stage at the school’s annual Book Fair, a tradition since 1990, that ran through May 1.

By all accounts it was a smashing success—record-smashing, that is, with the bake sale raking in nearly twice its usual take. The final tally for the fair itself was not available as of press time.

“We do raise a lot of money for the libraries, but it’s not about the numbers,” said Judith James, library director at Friends. “It’s to promote kids loving books. We want them to have some physical experience with books. There’s something different about the tangible book on the table.”

The whole Friends community pitches in to pull off the event. This year library staff were supported by a legion of parent volunteers—including Mark and Lori Kaminsky of Roslyn, Barrie Savasta and Michele Cagner of Oyster Bay, Elizabeth Wootten of Locust Valley, and Debbie Rechler and Yvonne Feinstein, both of Old Brookville.

All Friends students visit the Book Fair at least once, with a class group accompanied by a teacher. Many return on their own or with parents. On the last day of the fair, as high school students and parents boxed up the unsold upper-grade level books, Lower School students looked over the remaining picture books and puzzles escorted by parents, teachers and teacher’s aides. Classics like Goodnight, Moon sold next to Lego books and other newer offerings.

There’s no shortage of technology use among FA students, yet James says the Fair has not been impacted by ebooks. Even though students are using both formats (and highly adept at digital gaming and communications), many books are still not available in digital editions and there is still appeal to the hard-copy experience. Only a few students told her they’d be using an e-reader for their summer assignments, she said.

According to Middle School Librarian Mary Ann Reardon, the Harry Potter-influenced fantasy genre has faded. Friends Middle Schoolers these days are drawn to serials such as John Feinstein’s Steven and Susan Sports Mysteries, which feature a young crime-solving protagonist of each gender.

These students lean to fiction with dark, often dystopian, themes. The Hunger Games mania has been displaced by the Divergent/Allegiant/Insurgent and The Maze Runner trilogies.

“They’re kind of all the same story: You’re 16, you have to make a choice, then fight everybody,” said Reardon. “I think it’s partly marketing [tied to movies].” The Sledding Hill, told from the perspective of a dead boy, sold out, as did familiar classics like S.E. Hinton’s The Outsiders (1967) and The House of Dies Drear (1968).  

According to James, the high schoolers primarily picked up their required summer readings, which include True Grit and Siddhartha for rising 9th graders; 1984 and The Handmaid’s Tale for rising 10th graders; Ethan Frome and The Americanization of Benjamin Franklin for rising juniors; and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and The White Tiger for rising seniors.

“Few bought for pleasure reading,” she said, acknowledging the jam-packed schedules of these teens. “Some tell me they hope to read for pleasure after they graduate.”

News

The installation of a cell phone antenna in the steeple of the Community Methodist Church of East Norwich has outraged parents, causing them to seek alternative preschool options for their children and resulting in the closing of the nursery school held at the church. The decision to close the school was announced last week, and the school shut its doors on the summer camp on Tuesday.

“We knew this might be coming, since the numbers were so low, but we didn’t know the summer camp would close so soon,” says Carolyn Wilson, who has been teaching at the Wesley United Method Church Nursery School for 35 years.

History will be made on Friday as Nassau Country Club opens its grounds for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship, playing host to the tournament which was last played on its greens 100 years ago. The club has been planning for the tournament for the past eight years or so, when the club’s president and mayor of Mill Neck, Peter Quick, says they first discussed having it return to Nassau for the 100 year anniversary. The tournament, conducted by the United States Golf Association (USGA), will have 156 women from all over the world competing for the Robert Cox Trophy and the title of national champion, including twin sisters Jennifer and Kristin Coleman, whose grandfather is a member of the club.

For the Coleman sisters, 21, of Rolling Hills Estates, CA, the tournament will almost be like a homecoming: they began playing golf at age 5, and have played Nassau Country Club a number of times over the years while visiting their grandfather, Daniel Coleman, who lives in Glen Cove.


Sports

The Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD) is holding its 34th Annual R. Brinkley Smithers Golf Invitational, a charity tournament, on Monday, Sept. 22, at The Creek and Piping Rock Clubs in Locust Valley.

This year, LICADD will have Kristin Thorne, Emmy Award Winning WABC-TV news reporter and personality joining them as Emcee and Auctioneer. The live auction boasts playing opportunities at some of the country’s top golf courses, along with dozens of silent auction and raffle prizes to please the most discriminating of tastes.

Everyone who enjoys running or swimming or both is invited to join in the fun for the 3rd annual “Summer’s Not Done Aqua Run” on Sunday, Sept. 14 at the Town of Oyster Bay’s TOBAY Beach in Massapequa.

UJA-Federation of New York and the Greater Long Island Running Club will be co-hosting the event, which will consist of an 800-Meter Swim in South Oyster Bay followed by a three-mile run through the TOBAY Beach Bird and Game Preserve.  You can compete as an individual or as a two-person relay team.  New this year – there is also a 3 Mile “Run Only.”


Calendar

July Band Concerts

Wednesday, July 30

Babysitting and First Aid Workshop

Thursday, July 31

Opera Night

Saturday, Aug. 2



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com