Summer in the City: Picnic de Palabras Brooklyn 

By: Emily Pellerin

Working up to June’s edition of Picnic de Palabras, we were anticipating grueling heat, and were unsure of how that would affect our audience at the park. Luckily, the day was absolutely beautiful, the park was crowded, and the shade was ample.

This was the first time in the Brooklyn Picnic’s short history that there were more volunteers than there were readers, making for a funny demography on the picnic blankets. That didn’t deter the kiddos from coming around — as usual, there were cousins in pairs, some solo readers, parents and little ones, and whole families who joined us to read. There was even an avid reader who brought his furry friend to the picnic blankets: Pancho, the (reading) rabbit!


One newly observed relationship to the program was that some shyer children were hesitant to come over and read with/to us, but asked to carry books with them to read in their own spaces. Like a mini library in the park, a few kiddos would bring books back to their own blankets, read them, and return to choose another once they were done.


This month, we incorporated books for children whose stories were entwined with writers of classic literature: Zora Neale Hurston-curated short stories, a Virginia Woolf parody, an MLK speech transcribed for kids; we also included books in Cantonese, along with those in Spanish and English, as we’ve noticed the breadth of bilingualism in the park is expanded beyond just Spanish- and English-speakers. The culturally rich neighborhood of Bushwick again proved itself a wonderful host for our Picnic de Palabras.


This month we were lucky that Yaco of Picnic de Palabras Bogotá was visiting! Upcoming in August, Picnic de Palabras Brooklyn will host Mary Murphy Wong, a longtime New York resident and storyteller.


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