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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

A lot of people think that our world would be better off without all of the insects in it. Not so, according to Lois Lindberg, volunteer naturalist at the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site. Lindberg and fellow naturalist Wendy Albin gave a presentation about the importance of butterflies and insects in our ecosystem at the site of Theodore Roosevelt’s former home on Saturday, Aug. 23, from 1 to 2:30 p.m.

“Butterflies and other insects are very important in nature,” said Lindberg. “People see bees, wasps and ants and other insects as pests, but they actually contribute to our ecosystem by each doing their own unique job. They pollinate the flowers and fruits and without them we would not be able to eat a lot of the stuff we eat every day.”

Building J at Oyster Bay’s Western Waterfront is again up and running as the Ida May Project builds the 40-passenger oyster boat that will be operated by the WaterFront Center. The Ida May Project of the Christeen Oyster Sloop Preservation Corp. is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization whose mission is to preserve Oyster Bay maritime heritage by involving the community in traditional boat building.

Bill Shephard, Herb Scheirhorst, President Clint Smith and Project Manager Hank Tiska were there on a recent Thursday. Smith had left at around 2 p.m. to get a part he had at home they needed to fix the tractor they use to move the logs they cut to size in their saw mill. Fixing their equipment and cutting logs are some of the many projects that encompass the work.


Sports

Picture-perfect weather was on board for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations’ Third Annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta on Thursday, Aug. 7. The event, featuring an evening race of yachts, followed by a cocktail party, was held to benefit the organization that serves individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have other special needs.

In this year’s race, fifteen sailors took to the waters of Oyster Bay Harbor; three aboard their own boats, others on several boats provided by Oakcliff Sailing Center. The WaterFront Center’s oyster sloop, Christeen and two vessels from Oyster Bay Marine Center, brought a total of 45 spectators out to watch the race.

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.


Calendar

Movie at the Library

Thursday, August 28

Sagamore Hill Walk

Saturday, August 30

Hooks and Needles

Tuesday, September 2



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1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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