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Special Section to: The Valley Gazette

Kids World
The Stratford Star


The Monroe Courier

The Milford Mirror

The Trumbull Times

Faireld Sun

The Shelton Herald

The Easton Courier

School in the pool:

Giving kids Wings Over Water

By Melissa Ezarik
With pools in many schools and a community center off nearly every exit of I-95 and the Parkway, theres no shortage of places for kids in Southwestern Connecticut to learn to swim. And the facility for Wings Over Water School of Swimming in Fairifeld might, at first glance, look like others. But, being made for swim lessons, the pool is a maximum of 4.5 feet deep, the water is 90 degrees, and the instructors are adults. The people who work here, this is what they do, said Melissa Flannery, co-owner of the school, which also has a facility in Brewster, N.Y. No offense to part-time swim instructors, but we dont hire high school students to teach or lifeguards to teach. Instructors complete 40 hours of training in the curriculum, plus monthly in-house trainings, and are certified in CPR and first aid. The staff also teaches from inside the pool. Its a totally different philosophy. If you want a child to be underwater, the teacher needs to be in the water. We dont teach from the deck, said Flannery, adding that instructors also dont push students who arent comfortable in the water. Sometimes you just need to backtrack. We had this little guy who did his first lessons dry. He never got in the water. He needed to establish that trust [with the teacher]. In other words, the approach isnt cookie cutter. Each one of those children is different. You have to be open to seeing each individual child, she pointed out. The schools philosophy emphasizes students of all ages experiencing the aquatic environment safely and with joy, and instruction incorporates the Swimplicity method for learning stroke development, tri-athlete training or adaptive aquatics. The parent and tot programs are particularly popular, as is the beginners program for ages 6 and up, Flannery said. This is where you will see the greatest improvement in children. I always joke that the parent will give us a call when their child does their first cannonball. The spring session will end in June, and Wings Over Water offers programs, as well as birthday parties, year-round. Its Fairfield location, at 2221 Black Rock Turnpike, can be reached at 203-212-3950 or via

Overcoming Water Fears

Its not uncommon for children to exhibit some fear or hesitation when first being introduced to swim classes. Melissa Flannery of Wings Over Water School of Swimming will say this to parents of struggling kids: If the goal is for your child to learn to swim, you need to persevere. Its a life skill, and it gets harder as the child gets older. Cindy Freedman, co-owner of Angelfish Therapy (, which provides aquatic therapy and swim lessons to children with sensory issues and other special needs at five Connecticut locations, offers these possible strategies for overcoming common roadblocks: For children who cant take their feet off the pool bottom, which is due to struggles with the buoyancy of the water taking away their gravity: try small half-pound ankle weights or canvas tennis shoes so they can feel where their legs and feet are in space. To start, have them sit at the steps and move their feet up and down. Then have them make a choo-choo train on the side of the pool and explain that the water makes their feet float, but their bodies are safe. For those with swimming abilities but a fear of going under water: have the child lay on his side, cheek in the water, and then turn and blow bubbles. Wipe his face firmly with your hand, and then his own hand, chin tucked. Explain that the uncomfortable feeling of the water will be washed away. In any difficult situation, tangible reinforcements such as reward pegs, coins, or toys can be great motivation for testing the water, Freedman says.

At top: Young children discover the joy of swimming, safely, at Wings Over Water in Fairfield. Bottom: Melissa Flannery, owner of Wings Over Water, helps a young student get in the swim of things.

Its About More than Dance... Its About Enriching Lives

YOUNG DANCERS CAMP 4-6 YR. OLDS Session 1 July 8th-July 12th Mon-Fri 9am-11:30am Dora the Explorer Mon-Fri 1pm-3:30pm Angelina Ballerina

Session 2 July 22 -July 26 Mon-Fri 9am-11:30am Disney Princess Mon-Fri 1pm-3:30am Fancy Nancy 3 YR. OLDS Pre-Dance Saturdays 9am-9:45am


Session 2 July 22nd-July 26th Mon-Fri 9am-3pm Broadway Week

DANCE FEVER 2013 7-12 YR. OLDS Session 1 July 8th-July 12th Mon-Fri 9am-3pm Glee Week


Ages 10 & Up Intermediate/Advanced Levels July 15th-July 19th 9:45am-3:45pm Mon-Fri
Experience 5 days of amazing master classes with professional artists from NYC! View website for artist bios.

Limited Space Available!

2013 Summer Programs

838 Main Street Monroe


CREATIVE MOVEMENT & MODERN Session 1 August 5th-9th 9am-11:30am 3-5 yr. olds 2pm-5pm 6-9 yr. olds Session 2 August 12th-16th 9am-11:30am 3-5 yr. olds 2pm-5pm 6-9 yr. olds

4 YR. OLDS Pre-Ballet/Pre-Tap Saturdays 9:45am-10:45am

Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

April 4, 2013

Camp Sampler
Toddlertime offers camps with weekly, day choices In addition to its weekly camps themes Out of a Box, Tinker Lab, Glorious Mud, Stained Glass Eggs and Exploding Milk, Retro Week, Discover It, and Outdoor Art Blast Toddlertime Nursery School, located at 23 Park St. in New Canaan, is offering a selection of one-day camps throughout the summer. The weekly summer camp themes are intentionally open-ended to allow the campers to enjoy play without an end goal in mind. New this summer are two field trip camps, Discover New Canaan and the Explorers Club. In Discover New Canaan, campers will take advantage of Toddlertimes in-town location to get a behind the scenes look at their town. Campers in the Explorers Club will get their first school bus experience and head out of town to a different location in Fairfield County each day. Social Butterflies is a program for two year olds and young three year olds without any previous drop-off experience. It focuses on social interactions with peers, transitioning and separation from caregiver. For those not ready to be dropped off, there is a Two Together program for a child with a caregiver. The summer camp is for children ages 21 months until they enter kindergarten and runs single and multiple week sessions between June 17 and Aug. 2. Times vary depending on age. More info/register: 203-972-3111, Kids can kick it this summer Everton America CT is a premier soccer club based in Norwalk. As the official partner of the English Premier League team, Everton FC, the club provides a unique opportunity to train using the same methods and curriculum used by the academy which produced the likes of professional soccer players Wayne Rooney and Jack Rodwell. Everton America CT plays in a number of state and regional leagues, with their U9-U18 boys and girls premier teams, in addition to a Youth Academy and a variety of summer programs. More info: Row, row, row your boat Come to the Maritime Rowing Club and enjoy learning to row during the summer camp weeks. The club offer first time rowers, recreational rowers and competitive rowers the chance to work with their experienced coaching staff and increase their skills. During the summer, the club also offers a program for advanced rowers in their junior year. This is designed to help them increase their erg scores and physical fitness toward college coaches expectations. They will compete in two summer regattas, and row on the river to develop their sculling skills in the 1x and the 2x. The summer program runs from June 17 through August 9. More info: National Computer Camps powers up for another summer The concept of a computer camp was invented by Dr. Michael Zabinski. In 1977, he coined the phrase "computer camps" and founded National Computer Camps, America's original computer camp. NCC's educational philosophy reflects its passion about the vital role of computer technology in the education of today's youth. The camps take place at Fairfield University. New this summer at NCC is a morning program for 7- and 8-year-old campers. Developed at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch Programming introduces youngsters to the world of programming in an intuitive and fun way. Campers may sign up for any one or more weeks from June 24 to August 2. The Scratch curriculum is continuous and campers who attend more than one week do not repeat what they already learned. Each week beginner, intermediate and advanced Scratch is offered. NCC also offers a residential camp and a day camp. More info: 203-710-5771,, Monroe Dance Academy offers dance camps Registration has opened at Monroe Dance Academy for its July and August summer programs. In July, the school will offer a Young Dancers Camp for beginners age 4 to 6 years old, with various themed weeks, stories, arts and crafts and more. Also in July is Dance Fever 2013 for the older dancer age 7-12. Its a full day with four classes daily, with a presentation for family at the end of camp. Themed weeks include "Glee Week" and "Broadway Week. These camps are for the child just learning to dance or wanting to improve, and are geared towards teaching students technique while having fun. Dancers have the opportunity to review their skills, learn new technique and explore new dance genres. Classes will include, jazz, modern ballet, hip hop and musical theater. Master Class Intensive in July is for the intermediate and advanced dancer, bringing a C summer intensive to Monroe. Students will take four master classes daily for one hour and 15 minutes each, with a lunch break. Classes are taught by artists brought in from NYC daily. During August, a Creative and Modern Dance Camp will include a 3- to 5-year-old session consisting of pre-ballet/ pre-tap class, snack, craft, and story time, and will culminate in a creative dance class. Each 6- to 9-year-old session consists of modern dance class, snack craft, story time and a creative dance class. For all ages, thematic material from craft activities and story time will be incorporated into the creative dance lessons. In July, a pre-dance class is offered Saturdays from 9-9:45 and a pre-ballet/pretap class from 9:45-10:45. On Tuesdays, the academy offers creative/modern combination class from 5-7. More info/register: 203-268-1200,

Darien Summer School Darien Summer School offers one of the most comprehensive, diversified, learner-centered summer programs in the area, according to Chris Basta, director. All classes, camps and programs are open to non-residents. Each year, DSS does its best to meet the educational, artistic, social and physical needs of local children, while keeping our programs within the financial reach of all local residents, Basta said. DSS offers a reasonable financial alternative to traditional all-day camps and other local enrichment opportunities. We continue to keep an eye on our tuition prices, so parents can stretch their dollars, while availing their children of some of the best teachers and programs in Fairfield County. In the DSS catalog (online at, you will find classes for students from preschool to high school students applying for college and learning to drive. Offerings range from basic academics


for a Lifetime
A Sport, A Recreation or Just a Pastime for the Entire Family



Recreational - Basic Skills


Figure Skating



Full and Half Day Weeks Available June 24th through August 23rd
Feed a Lorikeet in our summer exhibit, Memorial - Labor Day!

Eileen Mantell, Skating Director: 203-258-6462

Summer Camp
Gets Close at The Maritime Aquarium
Sessions start June 24. Sound Scientists summer camp ages 6-15. Pick from one-day or one-week sessions. Pre-care & extended care available. 203.852.0700

Sign-up now! Sessions fill quickly! Call 203.852.0700, x 2206.

April 4, 2013

Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Curtain Call

to courses in digital art and hip-hop dance. In order to accommodate the hectic summer schedules of many families, there are extended day options your children can learn, explore and exercise at DSS from 7:30 to 2:30. There is a huge variety of sports camps, many of them directed by the very coaches who have led teams to championships this past school year. Registration online at dariensummerschool. com. Curtain Call summer acting programs For more than 20 years, Curtain Call (Stamfords longest-running and only year round nonprofit producing theater company) has offered educational workshops in the performing arts. The hallmark of those has been its SummerStock series of programs. These full-day programs are offered throughout the summer and take place at Curtain Calls Sterling Farms campus in Stamford. Taught by teaching artists with years of experience, these two-week, small-class workshops offer themes such as exploring plays and musicals adapted from fables, fiction and literature. SummerStock, for ages 11 through 16, offers creative theater from June 24 through July 3. This program is designed to build

performance skills, creative instincts and confidence, featuring the comedy and tragedy of world history. The second session of SummerStock, musical theater, runs July 8 through 19. It is a fun and focused study in voice, movement and acting for musical theater performance, staged against a backdrop of history. Both sessions run Monday through Friday, 9:30 to 4:30. SummerStock Jr., for ages 6 through 11, offers two sessions: July 22 through August 2, and August 5 through August 16, from 10 to 3. Young performers study acting, movement, music and basic stage craft, and put all these skills to use creating a showcase performance. Each session of SummerStock and SummerStock Jr. may be taken independently, but a discount applies when taking more than one. Sibling discounts are also available and some scholarships exist as well. Class sizes are small and these sessions tend to fill up quickly. Call Brian Bianco, education director, at 203-329-8207, ext.16. The evening theater program Summer Youth Theatre has two age groups and will present Into the Woods (older group), and Disneys Alice in Wonderland, Jr. ( younger group). There is a small participation fee for these programs. More info/register:

Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

April 4, 2013


A 21st Century treasure hunt

by Polly Tafrate
Kayla was standing on the viewing deck of the marsh at Sherwood Island when a father and his two sons came flying up on bicycles. They hopped off and started rummaging about in the sea oats. After a few minutes of intense searching, curiosity got the better of her. What are you looking for? she asked. The cache, the boy grunted. His dad answered, Were geocaching. This sounds vaguely familiar, Kayla thought, but was interrupted by a yell from one of the boys. Found it! The it being an old fashioned 35 mm film container. The three of them crowded around as one boy took off the lid, pulled out a piece of paper, a tiny pencil and what looked to Kayla like two dice. He signed the paper and took something out of his pocket, before stuffing everything back into the container replacing it in the sea oats. He put the dice in his pocket. The boys and their dad got back on their bikes, but not before giving one another high-fives. At home, Kayla looked up geocaching, (pronounced, geo-cashing) on the Internet and learned that its an abbreviation of the word geography and cache, as in storing information on your computer or a hiding place for provisions when hiking. What IS geocaching? Geocaching is a new craze thats sweeping the country, as well as the world. It started in the year 2000, and at last count, there are close to two million active geocaches worldwide with more than six million geocachers. Some think it resembles the 150-year-oldgame called Letterboxing, which uses clues and reference to landmarks that have been embedded in stories. It is a sport of sorts for families, nature lovers and treasure seekers. Kayla was excited about what she had discovered and called two of her hiking buddies to tell them about it. They were full of questions; she was full of answers. One of their first questions was what kind of equipment theyd need. The answer? A handheld GPS device, such as a Magellan or an Android phone, iPhone, webOS, or Windows phone, on which a person can download applications. Another option is using a GPS wrist device which is available at sporting goods stores like REI, but theyre kind of expensive, Kayla said. There are eight simple steps to begin, said theyd found and what theyd left before signing it. They removed its trinket which was a key chain and put in a Justin Bieber button, before re-hiding it in the same place. Aiden bought two books about geocaching, Lets Go Geocaching, published by DK and another one called Geocaching for Dummies, by Joel McNamara. One of the books revealed that there are more than a dozen types of cache sites with different variations of the original idea. Getting into it After a few more successful geocache adventures, Kayla, Aiden and Mia were ready for something more challenging. They decided to try to find a multi-cache, which involves two or more locations. Each one gives a clue as to where the next one is located. The final one has the treasure. They also discussed joining one of the many groups and decided that the cache-in, trash-out option sounded like the most fun. Some geocaches are increasingly difficult to find. They can be found underwater or significantly off-road, or 50 feet up a tree, or involve extensive travel. One cache was found at the Arctic Circle and one is buried at the International Space Station. Once while picnicking with her family on vacation in Florida, Kayla saw a mother and her daughter come roaring up on their bicycles. They started giving the area an intense search. Geocaching? Kayla asked. Yup, they said in the same breath. After poking under and around bushes and nearby trees for about 10 minutes, the young girl found the cache cleverly hidden between the tree branches. Kayla walked over to see their find. This was a large cache with a treasure trove of items: stickers, a heart-shaped ruby-colored stone, a toy car, a Sharpie marker, and a plastic Easter egg. On the outside of the egg a code was written. This is a travel bug, the mom said. Theyre sometimes called hitchhikers or trackables. It means its been other places. If we take it, were to put it in another cache, then when we get home we can track its coordinates to see where its been. Weve found others. One came from Hawaii and the other from Wyoming. Before long, the mother and daughter were back on their bikes again and could be heard discussing where they might hide this travel bug.

Helpful Hints for First Timers:

Along with your handheld GPS, its wise to take along a topographical map of the general location. The GPS will give you the coordinates, but wont tell you if there is a river or chasm youll need to cross. If your GPS doesnt have a compass, bring one of your own. Bring a couple of trinkets in case the cache is a large one. Be prepared not to find the cache. High winds, rain or even unknowing people may have removed it from its site.

Kayla. We need to register online for a free basic membership, (, visit the hide and seek cache page, enter our zip code, click on search, and choose a geocache from the list. After we select one well be able to enter its coordinates on our GPS, which looks simple enough, but if we need help its also on this website. The treasures, caches, need not be big. Rather, they can be smaller than the tip of your finger theyre called nanos and as large as five gallon buckets. Typical containers are plastic boxes with lids, ammunition boxes and empty pill containers. Caches may be unusual coins or currency, small toys, ornamental buttons, CDs, etc.; something that tells the cache finder about who left it there. Each cache must contain the logbook and a pencil or pen. When we find one we sign the log book and exchange the treasure inside for one of our own, Kayla said. And we must re-hide

the cache in the same location for the next geocacher. Setting off on the treasure hunts The three of them registered on the website and entered the coordinates of the cache on a Magellan GPS. They learned that the cache they were to look for was of small size and a medium difficult to find. The next morning they set off on their bikes. The coordinates took them to the local park and got them in the vicinity of the cache, but not to the exact location. They started searching the area carefully. Mia was near a stone wall. She thought it possible that the cache was hidden among the rocks surrounding the wall. Shed lift one, put it to the side, lift another. One rock surprised her because it was so light. She examined it closely. I found it! she yelled to the others. It was a large plastic rock like the kind you hide house keys in. The three of them read the log book to discover who else had found this cache, what




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The Dance Workshop

Celebrating Our 30th Year of Dance! Est. 1983

Calling All Kids!!

For Beginner and Intermediate Students Ages 5 to 11, classes divided into 2 levels Dancers will take class in the following genres: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Zumbatomic, Musical Theater, Tumbling, Stage Make-up, Arts and Crafts Session 1: 3 Day Camp, $130.00 Mon., July 1 thru Wed., July 3 9:30am to 1:30pm Session 2: 4 Day Camp, $175.00 Mon., July 8 thru Thur., July 11 9:30am to 1:30pm 10% family discount for 2 or more children Camper brings lunch and water bottle Snacks provided End of camp Showcase!!!

For Intermediate/Advanced Levels

Ages 10 and up Call for class placement Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Musical Theater, Specialty Classes Intensive featuring Master Classes with New York City Professionals Held at The Dance Workshop Monday, August 12 thru Thursday, August 15 10:00am to 4:00pm

For Advanced Intermediate/Advanced Students Only Ages 11 and up Train into New York City Take classes at Broadway Dance Center Students are responsible for cost of transportation, cost of classes and lunch Will be chaperoned by at least 2 adults July and/or August weeks * Please call for schedule **Join us for one day or the whole week**

Our summer dance schedule is an excellent introduction for the first time student, the undecided student, the student considering changing schools, the student needing extra help, or the student who wishes to continue dancing during the summer.

9:30-10:15 10:15-11:00 11:00-11:40 6:00-7:00 7:00-8:00

Creative Dance 3-4 yrs B/T Beg 4-5 yrs Mommy and Me Hip Hop Beg 8-10 yrs Hip Hop Int 11 & up

10:00-11:00 4:00-5:00 5:00-6:00 6:00-7:00

B/T Beg 5-6 yrs Lyrical Adv Teen Lyrical Beg 8-10 yrs Lyrical Int 11 & up

9:30-10:15 10:30-11:15 5:00-6:00 6:00-6:45 6:45-7:30

Music Together Music Together B/T 6-7 yrs Tap Beg 8 & up Jazz Beg 8 & up

9:30-10:30 10:30-11:15 4:00-5:30 5:30-6:15 6:15-7:45

B/T Adv Beg 6-7 yrs Kinderjazz 5-6 yrs B/T/J Beg 7 & up B/T 5-6 yrs B/T/J Int 8-10 yrs

9:30-11:00 11:00-12:30 12:45-2:15 2:15-3:15 3:15-4:15

Ballet 5 Ballet 4 Ballet 3 Ballet 2 Ballet 1

10:00-11:00 11:00-12:00 1:00-2:00 2:15-3:15 4:15-5:15 7:45-8:45

Company Conditioning 4 Company Conditioning 5 Company Conditioning 2 Company Conditioning 3 Company Conditioning 1 Yoga w/Laura

10:00-11:00 11:00-12:00 1:00-2:00 2:15-3:15 3:15-4:15 4:15-5:15

Turn & Kick 4 Turn & Kick 5 Turn & Kick 2 Turn & Kick 3 Kinderjazz 5-6 yrs Turn & Kick 1

9:30-11:00 11:00-12:30 12:45-2:15 2:15-3:15 3:15-4:15

Ballet 5 Ballet 4 Ballet 3 Ballet 2 Ballet 1

9:30-10:15 10:30-11:15 5:00-6:00 6:00-7:00 7:00-8:00

Music Together Music Together B/T 6-7 yrs Jazz Adult Tap Adult

9:30-10:30 10:30-11:30 4:00-5:00 5:00-6:00





Creative Dance 3-4 yrs B/T Beg 4-5 yrs Zumbatonic 5-8 yrs Zumbatonic 9-11 yrs

Hip Hop Beg 8-10 yrs 4:00-5:00 Contemporary 1 & 2 4:30-5:15 Hip Hop Int 11 & up 5:00-6:00 Contemporary 3 & 4 5:15-6:00 Tap Level 3 & 4 6:00-7:00 Contemporary 10 & up 6:00-6:45 Tap Level 1 & 2 6:45-7:30 Placement for Ballet and Turn & Kick will be at instructors discretion Sibling Discounts available

5-Week Dance Course $70 Fee

All Yoga and Zumbatonic classes are priced separately, call for prices. Please fill out registration card completely and return to office with full payment. Please contact Julie at 203-521-3013 ( for Music Together class registration.


Mondays, 7/1-8/5 (6-week session) Wednesdays, 7/17-8/7 (4-week session) Wednesdays, 8/14-9/4 (4-week session)

9:30-10:15 or 10:30-11:15 9:30-10:15 or 10:30-11:15 9:30-10:15 or 10:30-11:15

Music Together ages newborn to 5 Mini Session Intro to Music Together ages newborn to 5 Mini Session Intro to Music Together ages newborn to 5

Visit our website at to view our video link E-mail us at

Studios I, II & III: 500 Monroe Turnpike Gaslight Shopping Center Monroe 203-268-7297 203-445-9816

Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

April 4, 2013

Which cars are cruising in Connecticut?

A glimpse at the favorite family cars
good-looking colors and styles make them easy on the eye as well. The big snowstorms of the past few According to Joe Christiano of years have meant big sales in four-wheel Georgetown Jeep in Norwalk, the Grand drive vehicles for families in our state. Cherokee is one of the hottest and most Ford Explorers, Toyota Land Cruisers, awarded sport utility vehicles around Cadillac Escalades, Chevrolet Tahoes and, for families. The root of its popularity? of course, Jeep Cherokees, abound on The vehicles ability to laugh at inclement the highways and byways of Connecticut. weather, its spaciousness and its safety Wagons and minivans may also be seen features. in abundance, cruising carefully and Safety features are a big priority, surely across snow-covered roads. And Christiano said. We get a lot of queslately, mid-size and larger SUVs have tions about dual airbags, side and front been making a big impression (pun impact and anti-lock brakes. intended) with families both large and The perennial bestseller in the large, small. full-size SUV category is the Chevrolet Sport utility and crossover vehicles, Suburban, followed closely by the Chevy as well as luxury wagons, all seem to be Tahoe. the wheels of choice this year. Not only The Suburban is still a favorite for do they perform well under snowy and families who either lead an active outmuddy conditions, they also provide door lifestyle or have multiple kids large cargo areas and interior space for involved in multiple sports, Leo Karl, all the paraphernalia that comes with the president of Karl Chevrolet in New territory of multi-kid families. And, their Canaan said. It has the largest cargo By Julie Butler space of any SUV on the market; its cavernous. Both the Suburban and the Tahoe can seat up to eight passengers, as can the Chevy Traverse, which is a crossover vehicle. A crossover vehicle means its built on more of a car chassis, Karl said. Its lower to the ground, is all-wheel drive and has great safety ratings. Karl also said that more and more families today are also looking at fuel efficient vehicles, too. Those families who dont necessarily need the eight-seaters anymore and want more fuel efficiency as well, have made the Chevy Volt very popular. Whether your idea of a family car is an all-wheel drive, four-wheel drive or frontwheel drive sporty wagon or sport utility vehicle, you can be assured that your choice has your familys safety in mind. And, although a vehicle is a major purchase, its hard to put a price on safety.

St. Mary Preschool

Milford Patch Readers Choice 2012 Winner for Best Preschool

Visit for an application and to schedule a tour.

April 4, 2013

Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Good Night Moon Hello Twilight:

Books for tweens and teens

By Melissa Thorkilsen
Read me a story! Again! Again! As a parent of teenagers, its been a long, long time since those words were spoken. And oh, how I miss them! Practically from birth on, a day did not go by when a book (or several) was not part of our day. From Where the Wild Things Are to the Magic Treehouse series, to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, we were able to explore so many places together. But time intervened and elementary school started flying by. Reading during the day wore down to solely a chapter at bedtime. Between the homework at the start of middle school, various evening sports practices, all of a sudden a hug and a kiss and a sweet dreams were all that was left of the nighttime ritual. Being hopeful during a middle school vacation, I happily brought what I thought would be a wonderful book to share, but at 11 and 13, both boys suggested that really, they would rather read it to themselves. Sigh. In retrospect, I have come to the realization that the books they were going to be reading next were an echo of their own growing period, books that were often meant for a solitary internal journey. Realistic fiction begins to present situations where friends are not able to resolve problems with a smile and a hug. Imaginary lands are fraught with visions of a future gone awry, not the Yellow Brick Road. And while I would have loved to share in that journey through reading aloud, I embraced in theory the importance of working through those conflicts in their own heads. Young Adult genre The tween and teen (Young Adult or YA) genre is much more varied now than it was when I was an adolescent. And in some instances, I am hard pressed to explain how some of them are YA and not adult. It seems that whatever the subject matter or content, if there is a protagonist who falls between the ages of 13 and 19, it may be considered a Young Adult book. I suppose it can be said that while there are often adult conflicts, they are viewed through the eyes and voice of a teenager. Because some of the content of these books can include a fair amount of profanity, violence and sexuality, it can become a challenging situation for a child whose reading level is advanced, but whose maturity level is not. So, if reading aloud is no longer happening at your house and you are wary of this aspect, then start reading the same books alongside

Bryan Haeele

your child, if not beforehand. There are some marvelous choices which will make for great discussions and insight into the vision of the world your child has at this rather tumultuous time in their/your life the tween/teen years. Realistic Fiction The Realistic Fiction genre has a number of authors conversant in the often turbulent emotions and situations of growing up. And much of these topics go beyond day-to-day teen angst and cover topics such as divorce, suicide, mental illness and terminal illness. One such author who does so beautifully

Creative Learning
Laugh and Learn Daycare

See Books on page 8

Full-Time Enrollment

100 O

A place for kids to laugh and learn in a fun, creative environment Enrichment Classes Music Drama Sign Language Mommy & Me Art Classes
181 Josies Ring Road Monroe 203-880-4114
from 6 mons to 12 years of age

1 to

5 pm

May 5 1 to 5 pm

Open House

Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

April 4, 2013

Continued from Page 7C
is John Greene. His novel, The Fault In Our Stars, speaks emotionally and candidly about a girls struggle of being diagnosed with cancer at 13. Another of his novels, Looking for Alaska, is a quirky coming of age saga with a boy protagonist and his understanding of friendship, grief and loss. His writing has some mature content, but he has an uncanny ability to communicate with the voice and feeling of both male and female teens. Laurie Halse Andersen writes both realistic and historical fiction. Her choice of topics are both frightening and beautifully written. In Wintergirls, the unfortunate outcome of two teens with anorexia and bulimia is detailed in a frank and moving way. Speak, her book dealing with rape, is perhaps not the first choice for a tween, but relevant and moving for an older teen. Author Sarah Dessen is popular among teenage girls and covers a variety of topics in which relationships figure strongly. Some of her titles are Lock and Key, Along for the Ride, and coming out in April, her 10th book, What Happened to Goodbye, about a girls close relationship with her father, but a troubled one with her mother. Getting away from the hardcore reality fiction is Joan Bauers Peeled, about Hildy Biddle and her desire to become a journalist. Two realistic fiction novels that are not considered YA, but more middle school, yet still have topics that are relevant enough to be compelling, are Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, and Liar and Spy, by Rebecca Stead. In Wonder, 10- year-old August was born with a facial deformity and has been home schooled his whole life, but is about to enter fifth grade and the mainstream school system. It is a story of adversity and triumph. Liar and Spy has both spies and liars, but we learn that both are not what they seem and the ending caught me completely by surprise.

the paranormal. As a result of it being set in the 1920s, there is an historical aspect as well. Rich character development and themes of race and religion make it a compelling, but not a light, read. At this age, despite the ability to read, we know that teenagers lead busy lives with many activities or some are simply reluctant readers. For those, I am including a couple of short books that may inspire a longer read in the future. The Conspiracy 365, series, by Gabrielle Lord, consists of 13 books, one covering each month of the year and the final one called Revenge. The series focuses on 15-year-old Cal Ormond who has to be on the run for 365 days to figure out the conspiracy that threatened his and his familys lives. The individual books are quite short and very action packed. Trapped, by Michael North, is a short survival story with seven high school students trapped in their high school for several days by a snowstorm. An event that almost could have happened in New Canaan this year!
Bryan Haeele

which faction they must adhere to. Tris, the protagonist, goes against the grain by being divergent or suitable for more than one trait. These books are definite page turners and there is still a third scheduled to be released in the fall. Insignia, by S.J. Kincaid, will be popular with fans of Orson Scott Cards Enders Game. Boys who want to see a male protagonist in SciFi, plus military action and virtual reality, will not be disappointed. Just out this past fall, Crewel describes a fantastic world where certain people have the gift of weaving time. There are some creative and original concepts in this book and the writing is lush and descriptive. Dan Wells, who wrote Partials, out last February, has followed up with the sequel, Fragments, featuring a sociScience Fiction The Science Fiction genre is currently huge- ety where engineered organics have killed ly popular, thanks to movies like the Hunger off most of the human race with a virus. For those who are interested in a little more sciGames from the book series by Suzanne Collins, although the reverse could be said as ence in their SciFi than fantasy, this could be the ticket. well. For teens, the subject matter is not the Fantasy Star Wars of their youth with light sabers Speaking of fantasy, for Fantasy Fiction and high speed space ships, but more about dystopic societies set in a future where things readers who were mourning the end of Historical Fiction Stephanie Meyers Twilight series, the are grim or distorted. But for many of these YA Historical Fiction covers a wide variety next read for many has been The Mortal books, the familiar theme of good vs. evil of offerings. Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and good winning out, still thrives. And the Countdown, by Deborah Wiles, is an replete with characters who turn into vamdilemmas the characters face, not only make unusual book using black and white photos, pires and Shadowhunters who destroy for great escapism, but are an exercise in and sections of songs and speeches to evoke demons. The fourth book in the series is due interpreting social and moral issues often surthe feeling of growing up in the early 1960s. out in June. Between Shades of Gray, by Ruta Sepetys, prisingly relevant to our own time. For fans of the Hunger Games, the book For those more interested in werewolves, is set in 1941 at a time when the Soviets were Divergent, by Veronica Roth (scheduled for Maggie Stiefvater has written the The Wolves forcibly removing Lithuanians from their movie release March 2014), and its sequel, of Mercy Falls trilogy, starting with Shiver homes and sending them to live in work Insurgent, is probably one of the most and ending with Forever. Another amazing camps. This book discusses how Lina and popular of the category. Society is divided book that should be mentioned somewhere her mother and brother are separated from into factions based on human traits and at in this section is Diviners, by Libba Bray, her father and sent by train to a work camp the age of 16, everyone is tested to determine although only because there are elements of where she finds both solace and hope in her drawings documenting her plight. Sepetys most recent book, Out of the Easy, discusses New Orleans in the 1950s. On a lighter note, The Time Traveling Fashionista series by Bianca Turetsky, has a young girl who purchases a vintage dress that transforms her into the time period of the Titanic in the first novel and into the court of Marie Antoinette in the second. Of course, no discussion of YA historical fiction would be complete without mention of The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak. This book, set during the Holocaust and written by Death, explores the tragic but brave and amazing life of Liesel who steals books from the Nazis.

Sports Sports fans should also take note of some recent releases in the sports genre. In the midst of March Madness, basketball fans will enjoy PickUp Game, street basketball short stories written by nine notable YA authors and edited by Marc Aronson. Baseball player R.A. Dickey has adapted his adult biography for a younger audience now called Throwing Strikes. Another adult read adapted for a younger audience is Outcasts United: The Story of a Refugee Soccer Team that Changed a Town, by Warren St. John. It is an inspirational true story of perseverance, courage and sportsmanship and the dedication of a young woman who takes over the coaching of a young team of refugees outside of Atlanta, Ga. In writing this, I have been made aware even more so of what might be perceived as the gap between books for the tween and the teen. Working in a bookstore, I am not inclined to be the book police and do not want make the decision for anyone as to who is ready at what age to read certain material. Maturity, moral standing, religion, and personal choice for each family must all come into play. But reading provides such a beautiful connection. Reading to our children allowed us teachable moments. Respecting and becoming involved in the reading choices of our older children allows us all to grow and learn. While I miss the little voices pleading for another story, I am equally enthralled when I hear, Hey Mom, I just read the best book, I think you should read it too!
Melissa Thorkilsen, a lifelong reader, has worked as a book buyer/ seller at Booktopia Book Fairs, and is happily recommending and selling and books as a floor manager at Elm Street Books in New Canaan.

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April 4, 2013

Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

Martial Arts:

Discipline, tness and focus for kids and adults

By Katelyn Peterson
Individuals of all ages can achieve the maintenance of a healthy lifestyle through the practice of martial arts. Mobility is a very important part of being healthy, Nancy Robinson, the chief instructor at Martial Arts Connecticut, said. Even if you have an illness or some kind of disability, staying mobile helps you to stay fit. Martial Arts Connecticut is located in Shelton, Stratford and Bridgeport, and Robinson has studied the sport for 30 years. It seems like its just part of my being, she said. It just becomes part of yourself, part of your habit. While martial arts offers advantages to people of various age groups, it helps kids in particular to learn some of the key aspects of everyday life, including interaction and social bonding, health maintenance, and physical fitness. It helps shape them into a different kind of person, said Pete Mansfield, co-owner with his wife, Jaimee, of American Martial Arts Academy in Shelton, which focuses on the style Tao-Do, a mix of Chun Kuk Do, Judo and Jujutsu and combines the philosophy and elements of Jeet Kun Do. They also offer classes on Wushu, which is Kung Fu. If a child tends to be more of an introvert, it can help bring them out of their shell. It helps with socialization, Mansfield said. Mansfield said it would be great if schools incorporated martial arts into their curriculum. In terms of the discipline and the physical nature of it, being able to work on the pushups and sit-ups and all the exercise, I think it would be great to see in the school systems, he said. According to Sensei Anthony Smetak of the Kempo Academy of Martial Arts in New Canaan, martial arts should provide a structured and goal oriented environment. One knows to keep his/her eye on the prize, whether it's a new move, improved technique or better conditioning, Smetak said. When the class is properly taught, the instructor will engage the student after all, the experience should be fun and it is this setting which is ripe for honing focus and concentration for both kids and adults. Kempo Academy of Martial Arts is a Fairfield County-wide school, with studios

Throwing Injuries in Children

By Dr. Paul D. Protomastro,
Coastal Orthopaedics

Prevent your field of dreams from becoming a field of screams

Warm up is crucial. Have drink breaks to prevent dehydration. Many kids go straight from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. without many sips from the water fountain at school. Inspect elds for rocks, broken glass and cans. Contact your eld manager to repair any holes in the eld. Always remember not to coach alone; two coaches are better than one in an emergency.

not only in New Canaan, but also Darien, Fairfield, Norwalk, Westport, and Wilton/ Ridgefield. It is rolling out a leadership program, Smetak said, which incorporates academia while capitalizing on the inherent benefits of our discipline to better prepare our youth for the future. Master James Bergers, the owner and instructor at Valley Karate in Shelton, said martial arts serves as an aid in providing kids with the focus and absorption needed for their schooling. At Valley Karate, Bergers teaches what he calls eight key concepts which include humility, endurance and concentration. Were a traditional form of martial arts, Bergers said. So we really focus on structure, order, making sure protocols are met, bowing, shaking hands. We kind of run a tight ship. When considering a class in martial arts, remember the numerous benefits of the sport, which include fostering respect for self and others, self-discipline, physical fitness and of course self-defense. To nd more information on the studios mentioned, visit their websites Valley Karate,; American Martial Arts Academy,; Martial Arts Connecticut,; Kempo Academy,

Baseball, softball and the spring sports season are about to head into full swing. From the exhilaration of hitting a gamewinning RBI, to the satisfaction of making a double play, to the triumph of striking out the side: baseball and softball are timeless. Shoulder and elbow pain sidelines throwing athletes of all ages and ability levels, but child athletes are vulnerable to a unique type of injury commonly known as Little Leaguers Arm. Under age 13 in girls and 15 in boys, childrens bones are still growing. These skeletally immature bones grow in length and width in a specialized area of cartilage within the bone known as the growth plate. These cartilage growth centers are softer than the surrounding bone and are thus the weak link. Unlike rotator cuff tendon tears and ligament tears in adults that do not heal without surgical repair, growth plate fractures of the shoulder and elbow in children almost always heal. The key element to healing is rest. Developing Little Leaguers Arm is linked to three key factors: 1.) frequency and intensity of throwing; 2.) improper throwing mechanics; and 3.) inadequate warmup and strengthening prior to throwing. The best way to treat these arm injuries is to prevent them. When your throwing athlete complains of shoulder or elbow pain that is sharp, intense and lasting more than a week or two at most, it is time to take action. The simplest and most prudent step is to take

the athlete out of all throwing activities for two weeks and then gradually return them to play. If this proves unsuccessful or as a parent you want assurances the athlete can play through the pain, evaluation by an orthopaedist is recommended. Pitchers and catchers are most susceptible, but third basemen, short stops and outfielders are also commonly affected by Little Leaguers Arm. Enrolling child athletes in multiple sports throughout the year gives their arms time to heal, but also develops their balance, endurance, coordination and psychomotor skills which may ultimately make them a better baseball or softball player.
Coastal Orthopaedics has doctors especially trained and experienced in treating all injuries in young baseball players. Our surgeons provide complete orthpaedic treatments from head to toe in three offices: Darien, Norwalk and Westport. Statewide doctors voted our surgeons Top Docs Orthopedic Surgery in Connecticut Magazine for the fourth year in a row. More info: 203 845-2200 or

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Kids World Hersam Acorn Newspapers

April 4, 2013

Prom Fashions:

What the teens will be promenading in this spring

get dolled up. Some of his very popular styles are strapless chifPossibly every home in Fairfield County where a fon flares in several different colors, which are very high schooler resides will eventually have a prized appealing when a girl is on the chubby side. The photo on display: Me in my Prom Dress. And its dresses are fitted around the bust line, and then that time of year again proms. Junior and/or flare out, Empire style, concealing waist, hips, etc. senior high school proms are as much of a sign of On the other hand, the Mermaid dress, for the sospring as daffodils and forsythia. called hour-glass, small-waist figure, It seems as though choosing a makes being on the slim side very Rentals? prom dress has become almost as sexy. If you arent interested important as the choice of a wedding We have really glamorous prom in or cant afford gown. dresses, with lots of beadwork, to buy a fancier, multi-colored stones, quite dazzling, pricier prom dress, Whats in for 2013 Tandon says. you might want to For the first time, Caren Forbes (of They handle the exclusivity facconsider renting one. Caren Forbes in New Canaan), says tor at Atianas by recording the girls For a fraction of shes hearing conversations about school and trying hard not to sell the the retail price, there long or short? although she believes exact same dress to someone wholl are designer dresses long dresses are still the favorites. available to rent be at the same prom. for up to a week. Bright colors, some with cutEvery young lady is a new chalAnd nobody will outs in the back or at the midriff, lenge, Tandon says. The usual probe the wiser! are popular, Forbes said. We have cedure is that a girl will come in with Check out: Rent Bodycon dresses which means some friends, try on lots of dresses, the Runway at body conscious also known as pick one, put it on hold and then tightly form-fitting Mermaid styles. bring mom in to approve. Our prom dresses are elegant and In Stamford, One Step Ahead is theyre not just for one-time use, but the store that started the exclusivity very appropriate for other dressy occasions. factor. They wont sell the same dress to any girls While young women are known for changing from the same school. This would seem to encourtheir minds (red dress on Monday, pastel pink on age first picks, and shopping early, but Danna, the Wednesday) young men are choosing the classic stores owner says, Not necessarily. We constantly tuxedo, according to Tuxedo World in Milford. The have new styles coming in, so, at any time, therell classic, two-button black tuxedo, with two back be fresh new merchandise to try on. The big color vents, satin lapels and buttons makes every young this year is nude, she says. man look attractive, especially when compared to Nude and the Mermaid, body-hugging style are what they wear everyday. Of course, for the few really in, usually fully beaded to look glamorous. young men who still go for baby blue or cocoa I think that Downton Abbey has influenced this brown tuxedos, theyre available, but look rather years styles, Danna says. Customers are looking nerdy. for a softer, English rose look. Ivory and pastels The Darien Sport Shop sells single button, classic are popular. As for short or long, that depends notched lapel tuxedos. Young men would also be on the school. For instance, in Ridgefield, short very well served renting a tuxedo from Camillos in dresses are for the junior prom, long dresses for the Norwalk, which prides itself on being the largest senior prom. One thing we do is: after a girl has source of rental styles, with fitting and alteration on bought her dress, if she changes her mind, we will the premises. exchange the dress for another, because we want But back to the girls, who are much more frenour customers to be happy. zied. Atianas Boutique in Milford has 5,000 dresses What you wear to the prom is important, an 18 in their shop, 20 fitting rooms, and owner Sumit year-old says, because when you feel youre lookTandon says that he spends about $1 million each ing pretty, no matter whether you have the greatest season on prom fashions. After all, he says, most figure or not, it just gives you a feeling of confiof my customers are only going to have three or dence that youre going to have a good time, and four days in their lifetime when they really want to then you usually do.

by Lois Alcosser

Dave Stewart