Second Time: New Kids and “Repeat Customers” in New York City

We received the last news from our last new born Picnic de Palabras in New York. In this city, bilingual and multicultural meetings have taken place in a public park, where kids cannot believe yet this is happening. On top of that, Picnic comes again once per month. From: Emily Pellerin

Picnic de Palabras: Sunday August 23rd, 2015

The second Picnic de Palabras at Maria Hernandez Park in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood was as much of a success as the first. We got set up, laying down our “picnic” mats and books, and, unlike last month, no one approached us at first.

With a new suite of volunteers on board (Nicky and Diego came to read alongside Cole and me), we took to approaching the families stationed around the park near us. Parents seemed more than eager to send their kids to read with us, and very interested in the fact that we were going to be a monthly outpost.

One of the most encouraging things about this month was that there were children who remembered us from last. If we are receiving “repeat customers” after just a month, imagine how flourishing the project can be after a season’s worth of Picnic!

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Last time, we noted that kids (especially boys) gravitated toward books based off of movies or televisions shows, ones with illustrations of superheroes or other characters that they recognized. With that in mind, I brought a heavy selection of those “movies to books” easy-readers, of course in addition to books by some of our favorite children’s books authors (Patricia Polacco, Tommy dePaola, H.A. Rey, etcetera). Though these books again received a ton of attention, this was a lesson learn on our part, for they were poorly written and did not necessarily offer robust lessons or even inspiring illustrations.

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Once again, the kids who came by to read were majority, if not exclusively, Hispanic, and came with their cousins and siblings beside them. The family-oriented character of this park reaffirms us each Picnic that it’s a great one to return to. Also again, kids were enthused enough about the books that they wanted to take them home!

It was a sweet and eager crowd, ebbing and flowing participants throughout the couple hours, which we this time left armed with flyers to remind them of the next date we’d be reading. We’ll be looking out for our “repeat customers” just as we hope they’ll be looking out for us!

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