Simon Brooks leads a storytelling presentation

Even though school’s still in session, CLiF’s summer programming is already well underway! In May, CLiF presenter Simon Brooks kicked off the first event of the summer season, hosting a storytelling session and book giveaway at the New Hampshire Division for Children, Youth and Families’ Foster Care Block Party. (Click here to see a video from the event.)

Though the NH DCYF is a longtime CLiF partner, this year’s event felt especially festive, as it marked the first time the celebration was held in person since 2019, due to the pandemic. In sharing his experiences from the event, here’s what Simon had to say: 

“It’s been a while since I have been to the foster and adoptive families event held at Spaulding Academy. Since COVID, really. There was a party-like atmosphere there, filled with bouncy castles, grilled food, someone dressed up as a moose, basketball, an antique car for the grown-ups, and books, of course!

The afternoon was filled with sunshine, food smells and many fun distractions, but a sizable group of people gathered to hear my storytelling presentation for CLiF. They stayed and listened, jumping at the appropriate moments, widening their eyes at others, with plenty of laughter filling the air. 

Once the stories were over, each young person there stepped up to the four large tables exploding with the colors of hundreds of brand new books. Children eagerly picked over them choosing two of their favorites, and talking about the books with their friends. 

Some put the books into bags and went off to do other things at the event, whilst some found a quieter spot to read their books, and others were read to by their foster parents and care providers. I stayed for a while and got a small group of tweens to settle in for a long story, a deep folk tale from Norway. They, too, seemed to enjoy themselves and found books appropriate to read. 

Even though I do this work all year round, there’s always something special, something magical about watching kids pick out books that don’t need to be returned, books that they can write their name in, and, sometimes, begin a collection for the first time for their own library.”

This summer, the many professional authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers who present on CLiF’s behalf  will travel to every corner of Vermont and New Hampshire to share stories and books with young readers and writers. For a schedule of our events, please click here

Special thanks to Simon for sharing his reflections with us. Summer 2023 is shaping up to be CLiF’s best yet!

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