Ian Falconer

The author and illustrator of the infamous Olivia picture book series, Ian Falconer, passed away last Tuesday, March 7, due to kidney failure. He won a Caldecott Honor Award in 2000 for Olivia, about a feisty young pig, first in the series of seven titles, which he originally wrote for his young niece. Falconer was also a set and costume designer for the theatre, and created 30 covers for the New Yorker. He will be missed in the world of children’s books…

The Year I Flew Away

Gabrielle is 10 years old and living happily in Haiti when her parents make the decision to send her to America to live with relatives. She now has to learn how to live in a new country with a different language and customs, and still figure out how to fit in. Gabrielle makes an unfortunate decision to bargain with a witch, without realizing how much she will have to give up. Give this middle grade novel to any child who feels like “the other”; it will help them to realize that they don’t have to change their identity in order to make friends.

Outdoor Art for Families

The Hudson Valley is rich in outdoor art parks, as Nevin Martell reminds us in his recent Washington Post article. Social distancing is easily done in the great outdoors, and children can explore as freely and noisily as they choose in the open air. Art Omi (where you’ll find Olaf Breuning’s “Clouds,” pictured above), Storm King, Opus 40 Sculpture Park and Museum, and the Olana State Historic Site are a few nearby options to try.