Tag Archives: Hooray for Books

Oct 25, 2013

This Saturday is Trick or Treat with the Boutiques in Old Town Alexandria!

Thirty-seven stores in Old Town will be handy out treats of all sorts to you and your little ones. The event runs during regular store hours from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
This is such a fun event and a great way to spend the day as a family.

Many of the Old Town Boutiques will be having special events celebrating Halloween!

At Pink and Brown you can have your child’s photo taken in costume on Halloween and win major prizes!  On Halloween (October 31) from 11 am to 5 pm. Bring your child into the store in their favorite costume for the free photo and you will be automatically entered to win a $100 Pink & Brown gift card. Pictures will be posted in store and on Facebook. Encourage your friends and family members to vote for your child’s photo starting on November 2. The winner–the child with the most votes–will be announced on November 10. Spend $25 or more at Pink & Brown on October 31 and you will automatically be entered to win a gift basket worth $200.

Hooray for Books ten timid ghostswill have an author event on Saturday from 2-3 p.m. They are pleased to have author Jennifer O’Connell in the store, just in time for Halloween. Her book Ten Timid Ghosts is a delightfully spooky counting book that teaches children how to count backwards. This activity is for kids ages 3+

Monday’s Child will be offering a bonus 20% off all day Saturday!

Sep 24, 2013
What’s the best free event in Alexandria for children and families that you may have never heard of? The 4th Annual Alexandria Story Festival of course!
This fun festival has been growing each year and this year offers an incredible line up of authors and performers. This year won’t disappoint! This is a don’t miss event for families.
The 4th Annual
Alexandria Story Festival
Saturday, September 28, 2013
10:00 am – 1:00 pm
T.C. Williams High School
3330 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302
As always, the Alexandria Story Festival is a FREE event for children and their families.

2013 Author Presentations

Jonathan Auxier Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyesa is for musk ox
John Belemans Marciano The Nine Lives of Alexander Baddenfield,
Madeline and the Old House in Paris, Madeline at the White House, Madeline and the Cats of Rome, and others
Erin Cabatingan A is for Musk Ox, Musk Ox Counts
Elisabeth Dahl Genie Wishes
Martha Freeman The Case of the Diamond Dog Collar, The Case of the Ruby Slippers,
The Year My Parents Ruined My Life, and others
Shannon Jones KeeKee’s Big Adventures in Paris, France
Anne Marie Pace Vampirina Ballerina Hosts a Sleepover, Vampirina Ballerina
Erica Perl – King of the Zoo, Chicken Butt, and others
Trevor Pryce An Army of Frogs: A Kulipari Novel
Mark Tatulli Desmond Pucket Makes Monster Magic, Lio: Making Friends,
Lio:There’s a Monster in My Socks, and others

Schedule of Events

Picture Book Panel: 10:00 am – 11:15 am
Cafeteria Stage
(in alphabetical order)

  • John Bemelmans Marciano
  • Erin Cabatingan
  • Shannon Jones
  • Anne Marie Pace
  • Erica Pearl
Chapter Book Panel: 11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Cafeteria Stage
(in alphabetical order)

  • Jonathan Auxier
  • Elisabeth Dahl
  • Martha Freeman
  • Trevor Pryce
  • Mark Tatulli


Kaleidoscope for Kids Activity: 10:30 am – 11:15 am
Titan Den (for students in grades 3 and up)
Arts on the Horizon’s The young Spectaculars and the Front Yard Adventures: 11:30 am – 12:00 pm
Black Box Theater (performance for youngsters)
Lulu Delacre: Canta, Baila, y Viaje por el mundo!: 12:30 pm – 1:00 pm
Black Box Theater (for Spanish speaking students and families)
Young Spectaculars_newspaper

The Alexandria Story Festival is hosted by
Wright to Read, Hooray for Books!, ACPS Face Center and Carson Scholars Fund.

Jan 28, 2013

It’s now the coldest part of the year and the kids are going crazy being in the house so much.

Here are some are some ideas of places to go in Alexandria to let the kids play and get their crazies out!

There are 8 recreation centers throughout the city. The hours and facilities vary. IMG_3675The Charles Houston Recreation Center is a newer facility on Wythe St. Not only does it have a game area and basketball court that older kids will enjoy, it has a soft play room for kids that are toddler age. We did a post last year with more information about the facility. For kids between the ages of 2 and 5, there’s a soft play room at the Chinquapin Recreation Center. Call before you go though, because they do rent out this facility. It’s $4 per 1/2 hour. This recreation center also has an indoor swimming pool with a zero entry that makes it perfect for families. Several of the recreation centers also have regular play groups. Check out the city’s Winter Program Guide to see classes that will be offered by the city.

The YMCA on Monroe Ave. is also another nice option for an indoor swimming pool. They even offer baby sitting for members.

2321660991_6204b1f6d4Landmark Mall has ‘The Woodlands’. This small indoor play area is not enclosed but it’s usually fairly empty so it’s easy to keep an eye on your kids. I would recommend this for kids up to 4 years old. The mall also has a kid sized train that kids enjoy riding for $4 per ride.

There are several kids gyms here also. There’s a brand new The Little Gym of Alexandria that just opened up at Van Dorn and offers classes for kids as young as 4 months up to 12 years. JW Tumbles, Gymboree  both have regular classes and weekly open play hours where you can bring kids in to play

Hop on Play has a play room that you can bring the kids to or even drop off while you run take care of errands. You can read more about their facility on our recent blog post.

JBF-Nature-Exhibits-300x225Buddie Ford Nature Center is a small educational facility on the west side of Alexandria with lots of room for the kids to roam around and enjoy the mounted animals, see live turtles, snakes, toads, salamanders and aquariums. The facility is rarely crowded during the week so it’s nice to not have to worry about crowds.

Local Motion studio has regular dance and movement classes for kids but they occasionally open up their studio for ‘Open Play’ days. Follow them on Facebook to see when their next ‘Open Play’ will be.

5776743124_b562403c0eThe city’s four library’s offer story time and special programs throughout the week. We keep the schedule for the Del Ray’s Duncan branch posted on our Del Ray Baby community calendar but you can find the list of all the programs on a monthly calendar for each branch conveniently listed on ‘Upcoming Events’ on the main library webpage.

Hooray for Books! has regular story times on Friday and Saturday and frequently has special events where they have parties, characters or authors at their store.

I’m sure this only covers a small portion of all that’s available! Feel free to share other great cold weather spots in the comments or on our Facebook page. We’ll try to do another update this Winter.

Dec 07, 2012

I was recently introduced to Alexandria mom, Melissa LaSalle after enjoying her Blog What to Read To Your Kids. I like reading her great book picks for kids and her wonderful writing style. Melissa was kind enough to agree to do a blog post for me today for great Christmas books you may want to consider adding to your bookshelf. Enjoy the post and be sure to visit Melissa’s blog!

My Favorite Christmas Stories, by Melissa LaSalle


Every year around this time, I’ll be mumbling to myself about how much I can’t wait to buy some newly published Christmas book (this year, it’s Alison Jay’s nostalgic Christmastime), and my husband will pipe in: “The last thing our kids need is more Christmas books! They only read them one month out of the year!” Fortunately, he’s only half serious, because even he can see the sheer joy on our children’s faces when we unpack the large box of Christmas books each year. (It also helps that the book he remembers most loving as a kid happens to be the scratch-and-sniff classic The Sweet Smell of Christmas.) For my children as much as for myself, re-discovering these books every year is like re-acquainting ourselves with old friends (welcome back, Santa Claus, The World’s Number One Toy Expert!). On several days last week, my kids actually forgot to request their 30 minutes of pre-dinner television, because they were buried under a mountain of Christmas hardcovers, my five year old preaching to his little sister, “This one is the greatest, you have to look at this one!” (referring, of course, to Merry Christmas, Curious George). For those of us who celebrate Christmas, these stories enrich the way we experience the season. Some offer just the encouragement our kids need to get in the spirit of giving (there’s no shortage of snuggling in our house when we read the irresistibly sweet Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas or Shall I Knit You a Hat?). Other stories explore what it means to be on the receiving end of a gift (what happens if Santa takes your request seriously and gets you that live penguin, like in the hilarious My Penguin Osbert?). Christmas stories give our children a working vocabulary for the unusual experiences and conversations they’re bound to have this time of year (Alison Jay narrates the magic of The Nutcracker without the scariness, while The Jolly Christmas Postman plays with children’s curiosity about how mail gets to Santa). Just yesterday, aboard our local Santa Train, I looked on as a child asked Santa how he gets himself up the chimney when he’s finished filling the stockings. Santa responded with a quote from Clement Moore’s famous poem: “and laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose”—to which my five year old, his eyes wide with astonishment, blurted out “that’s what it says in my book!” (I am a bit of a freak about collecting editions of The Night Before Christmas; my favorite is the classic paperback I had as a child, still in print with illustrations by Douglas Gorsline, although those from Will Moses, Gyo Fujikawa, and Bruce Whatley are close contenders.) Finally, Christmas books help our children to believe. Whether it’s listening to The Christmas Magic, where Santa feels the much-anticipated tingling in his whiskers on Christmas Eve, or The Polar Express, where the reindeer’s bell still endures the next morning, these are the moments that inspire awe in our little ones. These moments are more enduring than any gift-wrapped present under the tree. When our children grow up and read Christmas books aloud to their own children, they’ll be instantly transported back to the wonderment of their childhoods. So, here’s my Christmas wish to you: may you fill your attic with Christmas books that you can enjoy as a family for many Decembers to come!

Favorite Christmas Books Mentioned Above (with recommended ages):

Christmastime, by Alison Jay (Ages 2-7)

51HWBT2WY1L._SL500_AA300_The Sweet Smell of Christmas, by Patricia Scarry (Ages 1-6)

Santa Claus, The World’s Number One Toy Expert, by Marla Frazee (Ages 4-8)

Merry Christmas, Curious George, by H.A. Rey (Ages 2-5)

Fletcher and the Snowflake Christmas, by Julia Rawlinson (Ages 3-6)

Shall I Knit You a Hat? by Kate Klise (Ages 3-7)

My Penguin Osbert, by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel (Ages 4-8)

The Nutcracker, by Alison Jay (Ages 4-8)

51auIUNSWXL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_The Jolly Christmas Postman, by Allan Ahlberg (Ages 4-8)

The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrations by Douglas Gorsline (Ages 2-7)

The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrations by Will Moses (Ages 3-7)

The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore, illustrations by Gyo Fujikawa (Ages 2-5)

The Christmas Magic, by Lauren Thompson (Ages 4-8)

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg (Ages 7-12)

Sep 13, 2012

This coming weekend on Sept. 15th is a very special festival!

The 3rd Annual Alexandria Story Festival will be held from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm at T.C. Williams High School

 Check the schedule of author presentations to make sure you catch your favorites

In addition to author presentations there will be a puppet show at 12:35 and lots of fun prizes!

New this year is an Author Scavenger Hunt! Go to each location and discover which author they have and write it on your scavenger hunt sheet. Each place you visit will give you a small memento. Visit all 12 locations and you’ll have 12 mementos! Visit this link to download the scavenger hunt.

Stay up to date with all the fun on their Facebook page as well!