The other good reason to be in Chicago with your children over the next two weeks is the city's Children's Humanities Festival, which begins this weekend with the presentation of the Chicago Tribune's Young Adult Book Prize. This year, the winner is Lowis Lowry, for her novel, The Silent Boy. Following Ms. Lowry's talk, you can hear a very different kind of writer, but one who's also a favorite of young people and a festival regular, R. L. Stein -- who did the wildly popular Goosebumps series a number of years ago. And if that weren't enough for one morning, there's "The Incredible Dr. Sal Vavoz Show" at Navy Pier, that's all about voices -- if you've never heard of a voice catcher, or a Post-It voice note, here's your chance. In the afternoon, the festival offers innovative new versions of traditional Latin dances from the Luna Negra Dance theater, and in the evening, there's a concert with the sensational pianist, Awadigan Pratt, who will also be holding a master class for high school - age performers later in the week.
On the next weekend, your young aspiring animators can attend workshops from the National Film Board of Canada; or if they're intersted in poetry, the Chicago Park District will be sponsoring a poetry reading, with Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Phillip Levine presiding. And there's also a hands-on illustration workshop for families being offered by Eric Rohmann, who won the Caldecott Award for best picture book this year for his My Friend Rabbit. On Sunday, November 2nd, there will be a premier of a new musical composition by David Stock to accompany Simms Taback's award-winning Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. And during the week, at Chicago public schools, you can attend performances of Native American stories from James Bruchac or hear Amy Axelrod -- whose wonderful Pigs Will Be Pigs books, illustrated by Sharon McGinley -- have become a delighting way to introduce math and number concepts to young children. "Saving and Spending" is the theme of this year's children's festival -- which takes place along with a multi-week adult humanities festival. And this idea has inspired Megan Wells's new retelling of the ancient King Midas myth, which she will be performing at various times during the festival. So if you're saving some weekends for travel this fall with your family, think about spending them in Chicago.
Copyright 2003 © John Cech
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