Tag Archives: Seattle Public Library

Capa de Cuentos

According to the library’s online description, “Los Nietos presents a bilingual series of short Latin American stories, along with live music, ancient history, shadow puppets and traditional costumes. For ages 3-adult.” That brief description does not do justice to the animated songs, tales, poignancy, and audience participation that took place in the meeting room of the High Point Branch of the Seattle Public Library today.

Starring FamilyWorks’ very own Mayra Castanos, cast as a child who is sad because she misses her deceased grandfather, and is looking for his soul, a cast of three acted, danced, sang, and fielded questions and interruptions from the most demanding of audiences: children. A small row of seats lined the back of the room, and the rest of the space was filled with carpet squares for little ones of all ages. As Mayra worked her way through tales with morals like our hearts can see things that our eyes cannot, she was greeted by two wizards and three people wearing capes, each of whom had a story to tell. Layers upon layers of stories included marionettes (the horse was a crowd favorite), shadow puppets (including a multicolored, jointed lizard), and music. There were songs, there was dance, and there were questions asked. The children excitedly help Mayra find each of the people wearing capes, informed her that they spoke English, and told stories of their own great-grandparents.

Unlike so many children’s plays, even those of us who were there to support friends rather than bring our own small children learned from the play. Immersed in a society in which talk of death and dying are almost taboo, we were reminded of the importance of remembering the dead while celebrating life, of remembering that we know the sun is there even on days when we can’t see it, and of keeping the memories of those we love alive. While the children mostly wanted to share their own experiences during the question and answer session following the play, more than a few adults had questions about Day of the Dead, about altars, and about remembrance.

Admittedly, this particular show occurred on one of the hottest days of Seattle’s latest heat waves, in the overly-air-conditioned Seattle Public Library, but even if it’s a gorgeous and not oppressively-warm day, this play is a great way to spend an hour of your afternoon, and to provoke thought and discussion about death, dying, and life. There are plenty more dates at various branches of the library in which to see Capa de Cuentos. Congratulations to Mayra and Los Nietos for bringing such an important topic to life, and for inspiring the children, who all rushed to help move a table on the set and find boxes for the altar!

We highly recommend checking out the Seattle Public Library and its Summer Reading Program (for both kids and adults). For all the photos and even a VIDEO from the event, please check out our Facebook Page!

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Filed under FamilyWorks Staff & Volunteers, FamilyWorks' Community, Parenting, Parents of School-Aged Children (5-12), Parents of Young Children (Ages 0-5), Single Parent

PCC Packing Party

Just before 7 this evening, the library was closed, the building was closed, and only a single door directly to the food bank in the back of the building was open. But six volunteers recruited by PCC found us. There were some regulars who’d been packing every other month for longer than the two staff members, and there were a couple newbies, and even a ten-year-old who was there “to help feed people.” FamilyWorks food bank employee Jesse, known affectionately to some of us as Bubbles after he helped clean up a rather large spill of bubble soap, had already set up a line of metal carts, each with a large plastic bin, a pile of clean plastic bags, twist ties, and food labels. Richard, a long-time veteran who used to pack food in Fremont in the 1980s and has been a regular at FamilyWorks for close to a decade, began moving food from 25-pound bags on a pallet to our bins. And we began packing. One food label in the bag first, two to three scoops of black beans, then a twist tie and into the crate goes a bag. We also discussed everything from the labor movement in San Diego to recently-read library books to P-Patches to community playgrounds. We were a diverse bunch, all there for a couple hours with a common purpose, and it was inspiring to see how much we all accomplished. RIchard shared with me that we were a lean bunch of volunteers; frequently we actually have more than a dozen. On those nights, Richard and another volunteer will continuously fill bins and move the food, while others pack, and others stuff labels. Tonight, we all pitched in and did a little bit of everything. Over and over and over – until we had packed over 1100 pounds of black beans, blueberries and cream granola, brown rice, rolled oats, and cous cous! All in all, it totaled 32 crates worth of staples for our families. By 9:15 PM, the food bank was empty of all but Jesse closing up, and no one would have known just how much scooping had been occurring a few minutes before.

Thank you to the dedicated volunteers who came out even in the busy summer months, and thank you to PCC for donating all that food! For photos of the event, please check our Facebook page (our Flickr account reached its maximum with the parade photos on the weekend). PCC Packing Parties are open to volunteers and occur at 7pm the 3rd Wednesday of every other month.

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Filed under Advocacy, FamilyWorks News, FamilyWorks' Community, Food Bank, Hunger & Food Security, Parenting, Parents of School-Aged Children (5-12), Parents of Young Children (Ages 0-5), Poverty, Teen and Young Parents