Hilltown Families


February celebrates Black History Month, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, and Snow! Here are reading lists and literary guides to connect you to the season with books for all ages.

HFVS Black History Month Episode.

In celebration of Black History, Hilltown Families contributing writer, Cheli Mennella has 10 wondering recommendations on books that celebrate this month in “Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews,” featuring stories of bravery, heroism, pursuit of justice and so much more…and each one beautifully illustrated.

“Rhythms of a Faithful Journey” is an framed exhibit showing at Elms College in Springfield from Feb 3 to 23, featuring African-American artist and author Robin Joyce Miller. The artist herself is a tremendous believer in the transformative power of the arts, and she pays homage to this and her African-American heritage in this exhibit of visual poetry, which is especially appropriate for Black History Month. Read on for a description of the exhibit and some insights offered by the artist.

Since her teen years, yoga Instructor Ginny Hamilton has worked to engage others to acknowledge race and address racism. In this month’s “Off the Mat: Reflections on the Practice of Parenting,” she takes her son to see “The Wizard of Oz” and to Black Lives Matter rallies. Their conversations about skin tone, race and racism point to a baseline shift in what we teach our children to see.

Westfield State University will celebrate Black History Month by hosting a month-long celebration of events ranging from poetry performances, panel discussions, and interactive experiences.

Edible Book to Dr. Seuss Birthday. Wind Turbines to Hydrodynamics. Black Holes to Hubble Telescope. Food Systems to Sugaring… These are just a few of the community-based educational opportunities we’re featuring this week! Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

This month in “Open Sesame: Kid Lit Musings & Reviews,” Cheli shares five new kids’ books that bring history alive in honor of Black History Month. Courageous individuals, unsung heroes, and influential (but little-known) events, reach through pages of text, photos, art, and poetry, and connect young readers to the struggles and achievements of the civil rights movement… she also shares a special pick just for grown-ups too!

Shaker Inventions to Turkish Coffee. Smith Splash to Kitchen Kaboom. Telescopes to Rainforest… These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week in “Learn Local. Play Local.” Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

This week in “Learn Local. Play Local.,” learning highlights range from chain reactions to aviation; saber-tooth cat to arctic gray wolf; candy land to medieval feasts…. Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play during February vacation week!

“Learn Local. Play Local.” is up! Valentine’s Day to Black History Month. Creative Free Play to Chemistry. Bread Baking to Snowshoeing. These are just a few of the community learning highlights we’re featuring this week! Peruse our list and make plans to get out into your community and learn while you play!

Since 1974, Westfield State University (WSU) has held special events during the month of February dedicated to informing students, faculty, and staff as well as the community about the importance of black history, culture, and traditions. Continuing this tradition, WSU will celebrate Black History Month this year by hosting community events ranging from music performances to diversity dinners…

In honor of Black History Month I want to share an extraordinary book about an extraordinary human being: Carver, a life in poems (Front Street, 2001) is an intimate portrait of the botanist, inventor, scientist, artist, musician, and teacher, known as George Washington Carver. Written by acclaimed poet, Marilyn Nelson, the book takes us through Carver’s life in a series of narrative poems told from the voices of the people who knew… Read More

Underground Railroad Quiz Listen to the HFVS Podcast Before Taking Lloyd Miller from the Deedle Deedle Dees writes: Our friends at the Hilltown Family Variety Show (HFVS) put together a special program all about the Underground Railroad. Our songs “Underground Railroad” and “Henry Box Brown” are on it. So are great versions of traditional songs by Taj Mahal and Bill Harley, a story read by Morgan Freeman and much more. Listen to… Read More

Spelling Bee to Cosmology.  Glass Blowing to Handmade Valentines. Ice Harvest to Hobby Railroad. African-American History Month to Groundhogs Day… These are just a few of the learning highlights we’re featuring this week.  Get out into your community and learn while you play! And be sure to check our list of supporting book titles to supplement the learning on the different topics highlighted each week. Purchase them for your family library, or… Read More

Langston Hughes, The Dream Keeper Bring me all of your dreams, You dreamers, Bring me all of your Heart melodies That I may wrap them In a blue cloud-cloth Away from the too-rough fingers Of the world. This is the opening to one of my very favorite books of poetry for children. Originally published in 1932, The Dream Keeper, written by African-American poet, Langston Hughes, included 59 poems selected especially for young… Read More

In Honor of Black History Month, 5 Award Winning Books Every January the American Library Association announces the much-anticipated Youth Media Awards, some of the highest honors given to books for children and young adults in this country. The Coretta Scott King Book Award is one of those awards. It commemorates the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and honors Mrs. Coretta Scott King for her courage and continuing work for… Read More

Hilltown Family Variety Show The last two installments of the Hilltown Family Variety Show have been re-broadcasts of two very popular episodes: Underground Railroad Episode Black History Month Episode Follow the links above to listen to our archived podcasts and to see playlists, video and resources. UNDERGROUND RAILROAD QUIZ Our friends, The Deedle Deedle Dees, an educational rock band based in Brooklyn, NY, are currently a doing a quiz for students ages 9… Read More

Listen to Podcast: Black History Month Show Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am February 12th & 13th, 2011 WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio Northampton, MA Featured Video: Ella Jenkins, the First Lady of the Children’s Folk Song, performs “I Know a City Called Okeechobee.” New Podcasts ♦ Archived Podcasts ♦ Subscribe to Podcast Radio ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter Booker T. & The MG’s — “Green Onions Ella Jenkins —… Read More

THE DEEDLE DEEDLE DEES Saturday, February 26th @ 1:30pm At Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA Hilltown Families & Spare the Rock present Valley favorites The Deedle Deedle Dees in their triumphant return to Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA at the Old Town Hall on Saturday, February 26th, at 1:30pm (doors open at 1pm).  Part of the fantastic No Nap Happy Hour Series, The Dees will be doing a Black History… Read More

March On! The Day My Brother Martin Changed the World … and more stories about African American history This January, as America prepares to commemorate the birthday of our country’s most iconic civil rights leader and Black History Month, families can learn more about Martin Luther King, Jr. and other heroes of African American history in an entertaining and educational new Scholastic Storybook Treasure DVD release, March On! The Day My Brother… Read More