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Free Books on The Performing Arts & Traces Tickets Giveaway

I have just two words for you: free books. Interested? Read on …

Money’s tight not only for families but for school districts all over L.A. Cutbacks mean many of our schools have had to eliminate arts education programs. As parents we must try not let the state’s budget cuts impact our kids because who knows – we may be raising the next Bernadette Peters, Leonard Bernstein or Justin Timberlake?!

Because of that, it’s great to know that The Music Center’s longest-running education program, The Blue Ribbon Children’s Festival, will continue to bring exciting performing arts experiences for free to more than 18,000 fifth grade students from all over LA County from April 23-25 of this year. Students will experience the power of live performing arts as they see a performance from Traces, a modern brand of circus infused with the energy of street performance, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Afterwards, they will dance together, en masse, on The Music Center Plaza, a dance they have rehearsed in advance in their classrooms, incorporating music and movements from the professional performance. Every student who attends the Festival will receive a copy of the book, A Journey Through The Music Center, which introduces them to The Music Center and various aspects of the performing arts.

2013 MC Front cover_V4

And now for the first time, The Music Center is offering parents and guardians an opportunity to get a copy of A Journey Through The Music Center for free; formerly the book has been available only to students who attended the festival. The book is available in limited quantities for a limited period of time. Parents/guardians can visit www.musiccenter.org/festivalbook to request a copy.

This keepsake book makes information about the performing arts very accessible and understandable. Parents and students will especially appreciate the book’s attention to the vocabulary words. What is an oboe? What is a resident company? What does it meant to strike the set? What does a theater house manager do? Students will be able to answer those questions and more as they enjoy the book’s beautiful photographs and illustrations, storylines and special attention to personalizing the experiences associated with the performing arts.

To celebrate the performing arts, Good Reads With Ronna is giving away a $220 four pack of tickets to the Friday, April 26, 2013 performance at 7:30 p.m. of Traces at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Just click here to enter. You must include your name, phone number, email and postal address in the email to be officially entered into the giveaway. Tickets will be available at Will Call on the evening of performance.  Click here for the rules or scroll down below.  The giveaway ends on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at midnight and the winner will be selected and notified on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. Good luck!

HOW TO ENTER:

  1. Beginning Thursday, April 18 we’re offering one reader the chance to win a family four pack to see TRACES worth a total value of $220 ($55 each)     at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Simply LIKE us on Facebook and also send us your name and contact info in an email to Ronna.L.Mandel@gmail.com by midnight Tuesday, April 23, 2013 and you’ll be entered to win. Remember to write ARTS in the subject line. This winner and three guests will attend the Friday, April 26, 2013 performance at 7:30 p.m. with tickets available at Will Call for collection.
  2. The giveaway opportunity ends at midnight on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 and one winner will be randomly chosen on Wednesday, April 24, 2013. For an additional entry please follow us on Twitter @goodreadsronna too! If you don’t provide an email where you can be contacted your chance to win is forfeited.

Heaven, Right Here on Earth

If you’re searching for a children’s picture book with a unique subject matter, read A Bus Called Heaven by award-winning author/illustrator, Bob Graham ($16.99, Candlewick Press, ages 3 and up).  The story features a young girl named, Stella, who brings a town of people together in an effort to restore an old, rickety bus known as Heaven. The people clean up and decorate the bus and start using it as a gathering place. But one day when the bus gets towed away for blocking traffic, it seems as though the neighborhood hangout is gone forever. You have to read the book yourself to find out what happens next. You didn’t think I’d spoil the story for you, did you?

What I love about A Bus Called Heaven is that the story teaches readers about creativity, cooperation, appreciation and a bit of nostalgia.  It’s wonderful to read about a neighborhood of people who get together in an effort to accomplish a wholesome goal they all feel equally passionate about. I also adore the cute illustrations, and the fact that some of the pages have numerous illustrations much like a comic book.  This is a charming new picture book you won’t get tired of reading with your children.

Today’s review is by Debbie Glade.

Starry Night: Sophisticated Art Books are for Kids, Too

Today Debbie Glade reviews an extraordinary art book for children.

Van Gogh is my favorite artist of all time, as one could easily tell by the six Van Gogh prints I have hanging on my walls at home. Ah, if only I could afford to buy the original paintings!

Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids: Their Lives and Ideas, 21 Activities for Kids ($17.99, Chicago Review Press, Ages 9 and up) by Carol Sabbeth is treasure chest of fascinating information as well as a visual masterpiece of colorful paintings by Van Gogh and other artists of the Post-Impressionist era.

The idea for this book came to the author after a 10-year-old boy asked her, “Were Monet and Van Gogh ever friends?” The result of that question is what can best be described as a young reader’s version of a collectible coffee table art book. Readers will learn about Van Gogh’s life, how he came to be an artist, other artists he interacted with during his life and how his many personal challenges affected his work. It is informative and engaging – written so children can thoroughly understand it, yet adults can thoroughly enjoy it.

As with all other Chicago Review Press Kids biographies, there are 21 unique activities in this book for readers to dive into, such as making a value scale of light, medium and dark shades, drawing a mirror image, creating a self-portrait in swirling words and making a pointillist sailboat. These activities are so awesome that I may just try one or two myself. In the back of the book you’ll find a map of the paths of post-impressionists, a useful glossary and bibliography.

Van Gogh and the Post-Impressionists for Kids should be a fixture in all classrooms from 4th grade through middle school. It would also be a perfect holiday gift for creative children who love to draw and paint. This is a book that will be cherished for years to come. I envy the author and editor for having had the chance to do this fascinating research and sort through all these amazing images of some of the greatest pieces of art ever created.

Image of Stary Night is in the public domain.

Two Families. Two Cultures. One Very Unique Book.

Read This Terrific Tale of Two Very Different Places

Debbie Glade reviews today’s pick.

Mirror ($18.99, Candlewick, preschool – grade 4) while not brand new, is one of the most unique books I’ve ever seen. Yes, I said, “seen.” Award-winning illustrator and collage artist, Jeannie Baker came up with the idea to compare two very different places in the world – Sydney, Australia and The Valley of the Roses in Southern Morocco – using most extraordinary visual means.

Open up the book and you will discover two books on opposite sides. One book opens to the left, while the other opens to the right. The idea is to turn the pages in each book together to compare what the family is doing in Australia with what the family is doing in Morocco (thus the title of the book, Mirror).

Each side of the book starts with words in the languages appropriate to the places – English for Australia and Arabic for Morocco. But the rest of the learning is all visual, though you will not find the usual illustrations you are used to seeing in most children’s books; rather these are photographs of Jeannie Baker’s impressive collages.

She starts out with illustrations and the builds collages on wooden boards, using materials such as earth, sand, clay, paint, fabric, wool, vegetation, paper and plastic. It is apparent that Ms. Baker spent a great deal of time and effort in making the collages for this very special book.

I like any story that effectively teaches children about cultures and geography, and Mirror does just that in a most original way.

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