Message in a Bottle

Last Saturday night was our first fall PJ Story Time, and this year, the bookstore twins are finally old enough to get something out of it. Mercer Island’s beloved Nancy Stewart was our guest of honor, and as you can see from the video above, she had everyone laughing and moving the first time she strummed her guitar.

What began as Nancy’s pilot project in September 2012 has turned into an island phenomenon. She’s built a strong community of parents, grandparents, and children who all come together for her events and support her mission to promote early literacy and love of music. Did I mention she’s always full of surprises? Who knew Nancy was one of the voices singing nursery rhymes for that old Mattel See ‘n Say toy?

imageThe turnout for the event was good and I hope it will continue to increase. Our children’s librarian Miss Linda offers wonderful daytime story times at the library, so the Saturday night bookstore event is a nice variation on that. Our story times feature a variety of guests, and the nice thing about the time is that working parents are usually free to come with their kids. My husband even had the great experience of chasing both twins around the story while I ran over to the QFC for frosted animal cookies. (It wouldn’t be a successful evening without those cookies as the grand finale.) He rarely gets to watch them at a story time event and it’s just too cute to miss. I also like that it’s right before bedtime, so my 2-year-olds were dead tired by the time we tucked them in.

I love many things about living on Mercer Island, especially all the kid-friendly places and people. There was such a nice community feeling at story time that reminded me how lucky we are to have this kind of local resource. 

For the closing song all the children danced around with colorful scarves, tossing them in the air and watching as they floated gently to the ground. (Or in the case of my daughter, attempting to hoard all of them for herself.) All the parents smiled at each other, happy to see our children tucked into this safe haven of pure fun.

If you’re a long time reader of this blog, you might recall that Nancy wrote about a special story time last April with special guest Norm Brecke. Norm is a second grade teacher in the Renton school district and has been a regular at our story times. For several years he has hosted an after school storytelling club which has produced some good tellers. Our PJ Story Time next month is an hour long with Norm telling and singing to open and close the show and about five kids ranging from ages from ten to fifteen will tell classic spooky tales. This is all happening on Nov 1st, the day after Halloween. It is unique in that kids telling stories to kids is a powerful and wonderful thing to see. The evening will hold an appeal to older grade school kids more than our usual show. I hope to see you there next month!

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—Miriam

Can It Really Be So Long?

Nancy Stewart and her longtime singing partner MaryLee Sunseri are returning to Island Books to perform as our last P.J. party entertainers of the school year on Saturday, June 2nd at 6:30. With our oldest graduating from high school less than a week later, I can’t help but be sentimental about their music. Wasn’t it only yesterday that the Pages couldn’t leave the house without “Goodnight Sleep Tight” or “Oodles of Animals” in the car CD player? And what about the five-year-old’s birthday party where Roger dressed up in drag and tried convince the wee ones that he was Nancy Stewart until she showed up strumming her guitar and pushing the imposter aside to gales of laughter and relief from all?

There are no musicians more joyful and talented than these two and we are extremely honored to have had them singing inside our four walls for over twenty years. That puts our bookstore in a league with Carnegie Hall, where they performed with the likes of Burl Ives, though you would never guess by the youthful duo’s beauty and energy that they could have shared the stage with him so long ago. Please come join us if you can and remember, pajamas and teddy bears are always welcome but not required!

—Nancy

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