NATURAL AND MARITIME WORLDS COLLIDE AT UNIQUE CHILDREN’S EVENT
Tugboats? Check. Sea creatures? Check. Nationally renowned children’s book authors? Double-check.
All that’s left is for late July to roll around so that nautically inspired little people can take in the sixth annual Fish Tales, Tugs and Sails festival. All of the activities and visiting professionals, including illustrators and storytellers, are focused on introducing children to the world of literature and their surrounding environment.
Among them are Uri Shulevitz and Lynne Cherry, the keynote authors. Shulevitz has won several national awards, and is the author of “Dawn,” “Snow,” and “Rain, Rain Rivers” which focus on the natural world.
Cherry is the author/illustrator of more than 30 award-winning books. Her best-selling books “The Great Kapok Tree” and “A River RanWild” teach children to respect the earth.
“The authors bring a diversity of writing styles and topics to the festival, from world travels to the trek of a local spotted salamander,” says Cris Staubach, children’s librarian at the Public Library of New London. “Regardless of whether it is a picture book or a book for young adults, they will provide insight to our environment, the sea and our planet.”
Tracy Tremblay, the promotion coordinator for New London Main Street, the group organizing the event, says the professional interactive children’s performers will appeal to children of all ages. Along with Captain Papillion, who will arrive with the tugboats Patricia Ann and John Paul from Cross Sound Ferry, children’s entertainer Steve Elci & Friends, Lana Burton Dance and Geoff Kaufman and the Shanteens will perform.
Children can tour working boats, including the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter and the Mystic Whaler, or check out the New London Community Boating’s youth sailing program.
Is your child a budding oceanographer? Then be sure to visit the touch tanks provided by Project Oceanology’s Enviro-Lab and Mystic Aquarium.
A new addition this year is “The Bodacious Book Show,” sponsored by the Connecticut Humanities Council. The audience becomes performers as classic children’s books are acted out on stage. The “Nature Tales” show features animal adventures, poetry and stories celebrating the world of nature.
Attendees are asked to donate a new or gently used children’s book to the Whale’s Tales Book Bank. Tremblay says the program provides more than 5,000 books to city children every year.