The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Hosts a Rare Opportunity to View the Illustrations of Charlotte’s Web

Some Book!  Some Art!:
Selected Drawings by Garth Williams
for Charlotte’s Web on View at the
Eric Carle Museum in Amherst

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to offer the rare opportunity for guests to see selections from the 20th-century classic, Charlotte’s Web, written by E.B. White and illustrated by Garth Williams. Some Book! Some Art!: Selected Drawings by Garth Williams for Charlotte’s Web, on exhibit from December 11, 2012 until April 22, 2013, will celebrate Williams’s 100th birthday and the 60th anniversary of the book.

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art hosts their newest exhibit, Some Book! Some Art! – a rare opportunity to view a selection of original illustrations by Garth Williams from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web!

While many of us picture the beloved classic tale’s characters the way they look in the 1973 animated film adaptation of the story (or, for the youngest amongst us, the way that they look in the live action version from 2006), the characters were originally given life in a series of illustrations created by Garth Williams before the book’s publishing in 1952.

The original copies of the illustrations were kept in a collection together until 2010, when they were put up for auction – dispersing the works amongst numerous private collections.  The Carle acquired one of the pieces, and has borrowed a selection of 19 other original illustrations, along with a collection of preliminary sketches, in order to piece together the exhibit.

Along with the illustrations are images from the animated and live action film versions of Charlotte’s Web, allowing families a chance to compare depictions of various characters between the multiple versions of the story.

The book, appropriate for most elementary students (though it fits a 4th grade reading level), can serve as a perfect family read-aloud.  Visiting the exhibit after reading Charlotte’s Web provides families with a chance to examine the function of illustrations, and can help students learn to look critically at the visuals provided within a story.  The show opens on Tuesday, December 11 and will be open through April 22, 2013.  For more information contact The Carle at 413-658-1100 or visit the museum’s website,  The museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA.

African-American Baseball Experience Exhibit at UMass

Pride and Passion:
The African-American Baseball Experience

W.E.B. Du Bois Library at
UMass Amherst through Dec 7, 2012

“Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience,” an exciting new traveling exhibition displayed on the Lower Level of W.E.B. Du Bois Library at UMass Amherst from October 12 to December 7, 2012, examines the challenges faced by African-American baseball players as they sought equal opportunities in their sport beginning in the post-Civil War era. — The traveling exhibition is composed of colorful freestanding panels featuring photographs of teams, players, original documents and artifacts in the collections of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and in other institutions and collections across the U.S.

When segregation was still a part of American life (and legal, too), African-American baseball players were shut out of American League baseball.  As a result, over 200 independent teams were formed, their rosters full of talented players.

Today, many of these players and their teams are remembered in the Baseball Hall of Fame’s traveling exhibit, “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience.”  Currently being shown at UMass Amherst’s Du Bois Library, the exhibit includes lots of information about the Negro League of Baseball.

Visitors will learn about everything from players’ nicknames to the role that the league played in the desegregation of the American League in 1947.  The exhibit is, of course, exciting for baseball enthusiasts, and it provides a unique and valuable learning opportunity for students, too.  A visit to the exhibit can teach students of all ages about the effects of racism and segregation in America, and fits well with studies of American history from the Civil War to the present. Students will learn about the cultural context in which the players lived, the blatant racism that they were forced to tolerate, and the gaping inequalities between black and white Americans that existed during segregation.

The exhibit is located in the library’s lower level, and is open through December 7th.  For more information, call 413-545-6888 or visit

The Library is sponsoring several free programs for the public in connection with the exhibition, including an opening reception on October 25 at 4pm:.

Thursday, Oct. 25, 4pm, Lower Level, Du Bois Library, UMass Amherst: “Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game,” a talk by Rob Ruck PhD, Senior Lecturer in the History Department at the University of Pittsburgh. The event is also an opening reception for the exhibit “Pride and Passion: The African-American Baseball Experience.”   Ruck is the author of Sandlot Seasons: Sport in Black Pittsburg;, The Tropic of Baseball: Baseball in the Dominican Republic; Rooney: A Sporting Life and the recently released Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game.  His documentary work includes Kings on the Hill: Baseball’s Forgotten Men, which won an Emmy for Cultural Programming, and The Republic of Baseball: Dominican Giants of the American Game.  He was on the committee that elected eighteen players from the Caribbean and the Negro Leagues to the Hall of Fame in 2006 and recently served as an advisor for Viva Beisbol, the permanent exhibit on Latinos at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

Thursday, Nov. 8, 4pm, Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Effa Manley, the First Woman Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame,” a talk by Doron Goldman.  A former lecturer in the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at UMass Amherst, Doron “Duke” Goldman is currently a baseball historian and presenter as well as an elder care researcher.  At UMass Amherst, Doron taught a course called “Baseball: Myths and Legends.”  A longtime member of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), his interests are the Negro Leagues and baseball’s integration, as well as baseball’s role in the ongoing struggle for social justice in America.

Thursday, Nov. 29, 4pm, Lower Level, Du Bois Library: “Red, Black, and Green: The Red Sox, Race and Pumpsie Green,” a talk by Rob Weir.  Weir has published four books on the American labor movement: The Changing Landscape of Labor (with Michael Jacobson-Hardy); Beyond Labor’s Veil: The Culture of the Knights of Labor; Knights Unhorsed: Internal Conflict in a Gilded Age Social Movement; and The Historical Encyclopedia of American Labor (with James Hanlan).  Weir is a lecturer of history at UMass Amherst and has taught at Bay Path College, Mount Holyoke College, Smith College, and Mount Ida College, and was a senior Fulbright scholar in New Zealand.

Science Quest at UMass for Teens

UMass’ Science Quest
Saturday, October 27th

Science Quest is an exciting opportunity for high school students to visit the UMass Amherst campus and engage in hands-on science activities, demonstrations, and guided lab tours. All presentations are organized by UMass faculty members and designed for high school-aged students. Science Quest is a one-day free event happening on Saturday, October 27th in Amherst.

Students learn about a wide variety of STEM topics in school – everything from the periodic table to the Pythagorean Theorem – but often aren’t shown the interesting, practical, and often surprising ways that STEM topics can be applied to real life!

High school aged youth are invited to UMass’ Science Quest, an annual free event that offers students the opportunity to learn firsthand about science research, the practical applications of science knowledge, and the creativity that STEM work sometimes allows!

At Science Quest, students can take a tour of the school’s physics lab, to see how nanoscales are made; learn about both the political and technological sides of biofuels, solar energy, and fuel cells; and see crazy (but science-based) demonstrations of peanut butter being turned into a powder, ice cream made using nitrogen, and more!  The event will also include a panel discussion with current UMass students pursuing degrees in a variety of STEM-related fields, as well as a Q+A with UMass faculty and staff on the university’s programs and studies of STEM in higher education in general.

Registration is required – students may attend as part of a school or homeschool group, or on their own.  Science Quest will take place on Saturday, October 27th from 9:30am-4:30pm at UMass’ Integrated Science Building (661 North Pleasant St.) in Amherst, MA, and includes free registration, parking and lunch. Limited travel funding and PDPs for teachers is also available. For more info visit

Elska Comes to Western MA! Win Tickets!

Win a package of tickets and museum passes for a family of four…

Elska Performs in Amherst
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Sunday, October 21st @ 1pm

Hilltown Families was delighted by Elska’s performance at Kindiefest in Brooklyn, NY this year. We’re excited to announce her debut performance in Western MA on Sunday, Oct 21st in Amherst! Elska’s live performance is both sophisticated and whimsical, a winning combination for families!  Deadline to enter to win a family package of tickets and museum passes is 10/17 by 11:59pm.

Called “the next big thing in toddler entertainment” by Red Tricycle New York, Elska brings her live show to a very special performance at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst on Sunday, October 21st at 1pm… and Hilltown Families has two family 4-pack of tickets and two family passes to the museum to giveaway!

Elska’s performance at the museum is part of her tour to support her critically-acclaimed new album Middle of Nowhere which has just received Parents’ Choice Foundation and NAPPA Awards! Details on how to enter to win are below.  Deadline to enter: 10/17 by 11:59pm (EST).


Who is Elska and why is she blowing the minds of concert-goers and promoters alike? Elska is the imaginary character performed by Brooklyn-based singer/actress Shelley Wollert. The character of Elska is a modern pioneer who discovers a newly formed volcanic island off the coast of Iceland where she lives a life of beauty and wonder amongst a cast of unusual friends, including a pensive Winter Bear, a very friendly Goobler, a mysterious Arctic Fox and a vast colony of Lost Socks.

In the live show, Elska has traveled from her amazing island all the way to the museum to tell her story. A blend of theatre, storytelling and musical performance, Elska whisks away children and families on a musical tour of her Arctic home and introduces them to the island’s wonderful inhabitants.

To create Elska and her fictional world, Wollert worked closely with New York City-based record producer Allen Farmelo (The Cinematic Orchestra, Mikael Jorgensson/Wilco). Combining the whimsy of Winnie the Pooh and the otherworldliness of Dr. Seuss, Farmelo and Wollert very intentionally set out to create a new classic in children’s music and entertainment. –


We’re giving away two packages (valued at $50 each) of tickets and museum passes! Your chance win a family 4-pack of tickets and family pass to the museum to see Elska at the Eric Carle Museum on Sunday, October 21st at 1pm in Amherst, MA is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY   below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, Oct. 17th, 2012 at 11:59pm (EST).

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission to the museum is $9/Adults, $6/Youth, $22.50/Family. Tickets to Elska are $7 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126. Find out more about the museum at

Women in Engineering Career Day at UMass

UMass Hosts Women in Engineering Career Day for Local High School Students
Monday, October 29th, 2012

Open to young women in grades 9-12, Women in Engineering Career Day will take place at  UMass Amherst on Monday, October 29th from 8:30am-1:30pm. Activities include: hands-on engineering and computing activities; demonstrations of state-of-the-art technology, information about career opportunities; lunch chats with college students, professors, and engineers; and optional tours of engineering and computer science labs.

Historically, the field of engineering has been male dominated.  Today, however, women are breaking into engineering, computing, and other science-related professions more and more.  To promote women’s pursuits of science, technology, and engineering, UMass’ Society of Women Engineers and Women in Engineering Program host Women in Engineering Career Day!

Open to young women in grades 9-12, the event will take place on Monday, October 29th from 8:30am-1:30pm.  Included in the event will be a keynote speaker (Valerie Gordeski, a systems engineer with Raytheon, a major defense contractor), tours of the school’s engineering and science labs, hands-on computing and engineering activities, technology demonstrations, information about career opportunities and college pursuits, and a chance to talk with female students and professors of engineering.

No matter their background knowledge, Women in Engineering Day offers students a unique opportunity to learn about possibilities for their futures in an empowering, all-women environment.  Older students interested in pursuing STEM subjects at a women’s college may find the event particularly useful – they will experience firsthand what it is like to work with an all-female group to solve hands-on computing problems and piece together systems using basic engineering skills.  Space is limited and registration is required ($) – non-homeschooled students should register through their school guidance counselor.  More information at Space fills up quickly!

Beyond Sustainability: UMass Leads the Way!

Growing a Model Sustainable Campus:
UMass Permaculture Documentary Series

UMass Permaculture Committee writes, “Together, we have the unique ability to create huge positive global transformation, and inspire more colleges and universities, towns and cities, and all communities to adopt permaculture and sustainable design principles into their Master Planning. A powerful video can sometimes be a catalyst for this kind of big change, and the goal of this entire project is to inspire direct action.”

With your help, several Western MA elementary schools could be the recipients of a UMass funded, designed and installed permaculture garden!

UMass Permaculture Committee writes, “Please help us to make this video (above) “go viral” and thus, furthering the UMass Amherst and global sustainability movement. Consider posting this video link on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and e-mailing it to family, friends and colleagues. – If we achieve 50,000 views by September 15, 2012, UMass Permaculture and sponsors will donate fruit and nut trees to 4 local schools, which is part of our vision to co-create more edible, ecological, and educational landscapes throughout the community!”

To see the UMass Permaculture Documentary Series in it’s entirety, follow these links.  Each video is approximately 5mins:

Dance Into Art at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst

Mead Art Museum at Amherst College Presents
Dance Into Art
Pioneer Valley Community Celebration!

On Saturday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will host a family-friendly event exploring the art of dance and costume in Amherst’s art collection. The fun-filled afternoon of activities for children and adults of all ages is free and open to the public.

Dance into art at the Mead Art Museum in Amherst!  The museum, which houses Amherst College’s art collection, is currently hosting a special exhibition featuring work from artists Robert Henri and Nick Cave, whose work explores the human form through examination of dance and movement as a form of cultural expression.

The museum will host a family-friendly event on April 21st, from 11am-3pm, where families can see music and dance demonstrations, tour the museum and learn about current exhibits, and take part in hands-on art activities.

Kids can make their own hand puppets and masks inspired by the works shown from Henri and Cave, and can use the performances taking place throughout the day as inspiration as well.

The event offers an opportunity for families to view great art, as well as a chance for kids to learn about ways of using sources of inspiration.  For more information, call the museum at 413-542-2000, or visit

Third Annual Sustainability Festival on the Common in Amherst

Amherst Sustainability Festival on the Town Common
Saturday, April 21st, 2012

The Raging Grannies performed at the 1st Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival in 2010, singing for peace and justice. This year at the 3rd Annual Festival, featured talent includes the Piti Theatre Company, Carrie Ferguson, Jay Mankita, Who’da Funk It and Iroko Nuevo.

Stephanie Ciccarello, Amherst Sustainability Festival Coordinator, writes:

The 3rd Annual Amherst Sustainability Festival is being held on Saturday, April 21st from 10am-4pm on the Amherst Town Common.  There’s something for everyone!  Learn how you can save money via energy efficiency in your home and/or business, learn about tree care, participate in an Eco-Hero scavenger hunt and see live entertainment, hula hoops, play games, face painting and more! Support local artisans, sustainable product and energy suppliers, as well as non-profit and other agencies, by shopping at over 100 vendor booths.

  • This year’s featured talent includes the Piti Theatre Company, Carrie Ferguson, Jay Mankita, Who’da Funk It and Iroko Nuevo.
  • See baby goats, demonstrations by Pure Flight Disc Golf and Ultimate, martial arts by Moving Zen Karate, hooping by Alottahoopla and electric vehicle displays by the Pioneer Valley Electric Automobile Association.
  • Booth demonstrations include Lou Leelyn of Lou’s Upcycles.
  • Arbor Day highlights feature bucket lift rides, tree identification activities and games led by Jim Terruso, Mt. Tom Park Ranger, free seedlings provided by WD Cowls Inc., Land Company and a display of the Amherst school’s 4th – 6th grade entrants and winners of the Arbor Day poster contest!
  • Bring your unwanted clean and dry clothing, bedding, linens, stained and worn out items to benefit the Amherst Survival Center and the Fisher Home Hospice Shop.
  • The Spring Street Farmer’s Market will kick off their 2012 season between the North and South Common.
  • The festival is sponsored by the Western Massachusetts Electric Company, the Berkshire Gas Energy Efficiency Program, the Town of Amherst, the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Hitchcock Center for the Environment.
  • For more information visit our website:

Cultural Studies: Christian Folk Art from India at UMass

Christian Folk Art from India
Dec. 12th-16th, 2011
Augusta Savage Gallery at UMass

An exhibit from the collection of local, 83 year-old independent scholar of South Asian Studies Georgana Falb Foster at the UMass Augusta Savage Gallery in Amherst, MA. This exhibit features paintings of Christian stories by artists who come from Hindu hereditary castes of story teller/painters (Chitrakars) in Bengal province. Show runs Dec. 12th-16th with an opening reception on Monday, Dec. 12th from 5-7pm

The Augusta Savage Gallery at the University of Massachusetts’ Fine Arts Center will be hosting a show of Christian Folk Art from India opening with a reception on Monday, December 12th from 5-7pm and running through December 16th.

Each piece in the collection is a painted cloth scroll depicting a Christian story or concept- the scrolls were used by Chitrakars, traveling painters/storytellers in the Bengal province of India, and the scrolls were used to help illustrate the stories that the Chitrakars shared with communities.

Also included in the show are works by Christian Indian artist Frank Wesley, as well as other Christian artworks and artifacts.

A visit to the gallery can help students become aware of how Christianity influences and differs within various cultures worldwide, and thinking about this specific art show is a great way to segue into a broader dialogue on religion and cultures.

TICKET GIVEAWAY: Cirque du Soleil’s Quidam at The Mullins Center

Cirque du Soleil presents Quidam
The Mullins Center in Amherst, MA
October 5-9th, 2011

Picture credit : Matt Beard; Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux. ©2011 Cirque du Soleil

Enter to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Quidam on opening night, Wednesday, October 5th at 7:30pm at the Mullins Center in Amherst, MA. Deadline to enter to win: 10/2/11 @ 7pm (EST)

Cirque du Soleil is coming to town with its newest arena show, Quidam, performing 7 shows at the Mullins Center at UMass in Amherst, MA, from October 5-9, 2011.

Hilltown Families is partnering with the Mullins Center and Cirque du Soleil to offer one lucky family a chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Quidam on opening night, Wednesday, October 5th at 7:30pm! Deadline to enter to win is 10/2/11 by 7pm (EST). Details on how to enter to win are below.


Young Zoé is bored; her parents, distant and apathetic, ignore her. Her life has lost all meaning. Seeking to fill the void of her existence, she slides into an imaginary world – the world of Quidam – where she meets characters who encourage her to free her soul.

Quidam: a nameless passer-by, a solitary figure lingering on a street corner, a person rushing past and swallowed by the crowd. It could be anyone, anybody. Someone coming or going at the heart of our anonymous society. A member of the crowd, one of the silent majority. The one who cries out, sings and dreams within us all. This is the “quidam” whom this show allows to speak. This is the place that beckons – a place for dreaming and genuine relations where all quidams, by proclaiming their individuality, can finally emerge from anonymity.

Quidam had its world premiere in Montreal, Canada under the Big Top in April 1996. Since that time, the production has toured on five continents and been experienced by millions of people. In December 2010, Quidam embarked on a new journey, performing the same captivating production, but now in arenas throughout North America. The international cast features 52 world-class acrobats, musicians, singers and characters.

Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 100 million spectators in nearly 300 cities on five continents. For more information about Cirque du Soleil, visit


Picture credit : Matt Beard; Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du SoleilYour chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Quidam on opening night, Wednesday, October 5th at 7:30pm at the Mullins Center in Amherst, MA is as easy as 1-2-3 (4, 5)!

To enter to win simply:

  1. CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  2. TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO SPEND AN AUTUMN DAY IN WESTERN MA WITH THE FAMILY below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  3. FULL NAME and where you
  4. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town to be eligible.
  5. ACCURATE EMAIL IN THE EMAIL FIELD BELOW (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below. Deadline is Sunday, 10/02/11 @ 7pm (EST).

For show and ticket information, please visit

Photo credit: ©2011 Cirque du Soleil, Matt Beard; Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux 

Giant Earth Day Ball Aims to Educate

Northampton Public Schools Join Together to Make a Giant Earth Day Ball!

Charlotte Causton on Northampton, MA writes:

"The ball will be available to schools and environmental groups wishing to display it as an educational tool in promoting respect for the environment and the reduction of waste," writes Charlotte Causton.

All Northampton Public Schools will work together in April to make the largest ball ever made entirely of single-use plastic shopping bags. The event will culminate on April 23rd at Northampton’s Earth Day celebration in Pulaski Park when the ball will be rolled down the streets of Northampton and into the park. In a tribute to the inspiring kids’ book, Theo and the Giant Plastic Ball, published by the United Nations Environmental Program, Green Action in Northampton Schools, GREEN Northampton and the Center for EcoTechnology are coordinating this project to raise awareness of the environmental impact of using plastic bags in stores and get Northampton to become a bring your own bag shopping district.


This project is an opportunity for Northampton schools to work together and make an impact on our local environment. All four elementary schools in the district, JFK Middle School, and the Environmental Club at Northampton High School have signed up for the program and teachers and students are busy collecting bags. Classrooms are collecting used plastic bags from their homes and family/friends’ homes that are being tied together to form a rope. The number of bags tied together by the class are being counted and recorded. Plastic bag ropes from the different classrooms will be joined together and a total count taken on 15 April, after which the ropes will be picked up by volunteers and taken to a central location. During spring break students and volunteers will assemble the ball ready for the Earth Day celebration on Saturday April 23rd. After the Earth Day celebration, the ball will be available to schools and environmental groups wishing to display it as an educational tool in promoting respect for the environment and the reduction of waste. Teachers are also using this project as an educational opportunity for hands-on math and science/energy conservation investigations.


WGBY, GREEN Northampton and the City of Northampton have teamed up as they did in April 2010 to hold an Earth Day Eco- Fair on April 23 in Pulaski Park in Northampton. The Giant Earth Day Ball will be the star among one of over 20 environmental and recycling based exhibits and activities for families and children available between 10a.m.-4:00pm. WGBY will hold an Earth Day film festival at the Academy of Music. WRSI  will once again provide a stage and live entertainment from 12:00-4:00pm in Pulaski park and in Amherst at the Amherst Sustainability Festival which will also be held on the town Common from 10-4:00. The Earth day Planning committee hopes that Fair goers will visit both venues and encourage visitors to take a bus or use the bike trail to the different events.

Photo credit: (ccl) mtsofan

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