Movie Ticket Giveaway: Ramona and Beezus

Ramona and Beezus at Greenfield Garden Cinemas
A Red Carpet Fundraiser
Greenfield, MA
Saturday, July 24th @ 6pm

Hilltown Families and the Community Coalition for Teens (CCT) have partnered up to offer one lucky family 4 tickets to see a special red carpet fundraising screening of the new movie Ramona and Beezus at Greenfield Garden Cinemas on Saturday, July 24th at 6pm. Through a generous donation from the movie’s director, 100% of ticket sales will go directly to the CCT. Deadline to enter to win is 07/22/10. Find out how to enter to win below.


The movie, a lovely G-rated film about growing up, based on the popular books by Beverly Cleary. Moviegoers are encouraged to dress for the red carpet or as their favorite character from the Ramona books. The evening will also feature a silent auction with signed books, movie posters, etc, and a special pre-screening video specific to Franklin County.

Ramona and Beezus is directed by Elizabeth Allen, the sister of CCT Co-Coordinator Kat Allen, and the niece of Montague Select Board member Pat Allen and retired Valley Medical Group’s Dr. Mark Allen.  Through a generous donation from the movie’s director, 100% of ticket sales will go directly to the Community Coalition for Teens (CCT).


The mission of the Community Coalition for Teens is to promote the health and well-being of teens in the Franklin County and North Quabbin region. CCT collaborates with school and community partners to:

  • establish and support effective youth development and health-promotion programs;
  • provide training and technical assistance with emphasis on evidence-based practices; and
  • involve and empower youth.

Find out more about the Community Coalition for Teens at


Your chance to win 4 tickets to see a special fundraising screening of the new movie Ramona and Beezus at Greenfield Garden Cinemas on Saturday, July 24th at 6pm, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. SHARE THE TITLE OF YOUR FAVORITE BEVERLY CLEARY BOOK BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 07/22/10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! It’s a great fundraising event. Tickets ($12 adult, $8 child/senior, $30 max per family) are available in advance by calling 774-3167 x 101, (978) 544-6912, or 774-1194 x 115, 116, 118 or by visiting the CCT office at 278 Main Street, Suite 411, in Greenfield, MA. If not sold out in advance, tickets will also be available at the door.  100% of ticket sales will go directly to the Community Coalition for Teens (CCT).

Food, Inc.: Special Benefit Screening in Amherst for CISA

Food, Inc.: Discover What “Big Agriculture” Doesn’t Want Farmers to Tell You

Tomorrow, Monday June 29, at 7:00pm at the Amherst Cinema there will be a special screening of Food, Inc. to benefit Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture (CISA), followed by a discussion panel.

In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults. Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield’s Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms’ Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how it’s produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. (Director Robert Kenner. 94 mins, Rated PG)

Opens June 26, 2009 at Amherst Cinema in Amherst, MA.  Showtimes: Friday 6/26 through Thursday 7/2 – 2:15pm, 4:15pm, 7:00pm, 9:15pm.  Plus Saturday 6/27 and Sunday 6/28 – 11:45am. NOTE: Monday 6/29 9:15pm show moves to 9:45pm. Baby-friendly Show Tuesday 6/30 2:15pm

REVIEW BY VARIETY: With a constituency limited to anyone who eats, “Food, Inc.” is a civilized horror movie for the socially conscious, the nutritionally curious and the hungry. Yes, it has a deceptively cheery palette, but helmer Robert Kenner’s doc — which does for the supermarket what “Jaws” did for the beach — marches straight into the dark side of cutthroat agri-business, corporatized meat and the greedy manipulation of both genetics and the law. Doc biz may be in the doldrums, but “Food, Inc.” is so aesthetically polished and politically urgent, theatrical play seems a no-brainer, though it won’t do much for popcorn sales.  Read the rest of this entry »

Suggested Events 06/27/09-07/03/09

Ashfield Lake House in Ashfield, Massachusetts

Parents' Night Out in the Hilltowns: Radio Free Earth will be performing at the Ashfield Lakehouse in Ashfield, MA on Saturday, June 27th at 8:30pm. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)


If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, location, age appropriateness and costs before attending


  • CONCERT SERIES IN FLORENCE: Every Thursday night is a free lawn concert at the Florence Civic Center in Florence, MA.
  • ROUNDTABLE IN CHESTERFIELD: Are you planning on growing old here in the hilltowns?  Do your kids grandparents live here in the hills.  Want to get involved with support the elder community in rural Western Mass?  Hilltown CDC and area COAs will be hosting a roundtable discussion on “Options for Elder Living” in the hilltowns at the Chesterfield Senior Center on Wednesday, July 1, 2009 at 2:00 PM to explore new elder living options.  Click here to read more about the roundtable and the Abbeyfield model that will be discussed.
  • HILLTOWN FOOD PANTRY: Distributions of free nutritious food to income qualified households every Wed at the Goshen Town Hall: Call 413-268-7578 or contact the Northampton Survival Center at 413-586-6564 or
  • HF LISTSERV MEMBER LAUREN ABEND WRITES: Hi all, Just wanted to let you know I will be selling organic, free range chickens at the Ashfield Farmers Market this Sat, and all following Sat.   I have a range of weights, as well as giblets for sale. I processed the first batch of birds on site yesterday using the mobile poultry unit owned by the small farms institute.
  • PESTICIDES ON YOUR FOOD: New web search tool shows what pesticides are on your food: The Pesticide Action Network has launched a new online searchable database designed to make the public problem of pesticide exposure visible and more understandable. Whether you want to find out what’s in your apple juice, milk, peanut butter, or bottled water, this innovative tool links pesticide food residue data with the toxicology for each chemical, making this information easily searchable for the first time.
  • CHOCOLATE & CHILD LABOR: Tell Hershey’s to Stop Abusive Child Labor in Cocoa Production: For years, the Organic Consumers Association has been taking action, along with the International Labor Rights Fund, to stop abusive child labor in the cocoa industry in West Africa. As a result of the constant pressure, major chocolate companies like M&M/Mars and Cadbury have recently agreed to stronger labor and environmental standards in the production of the cocoa they use. But one iconic US brand is lagging behind – and they need to hear from YOU! Ask Hershey’s to switch to Fair Trade & Organic certified cocoa and sugar — for all of their products. Click here to learn more and to take action.


    On Monday, June 29, at 7pm there is a special screening of Food, Inc. to benefit CISA at the Amherst Cinema. A thoughtful panel discussion featuring Pioneer Valley agriculture and food experts will follow this particular screening of the provocative film.

  • CAMPING:  Saturday is the Great American Backyard Campout. It’s a night to turn off the computer and the TV, and spend the night outside with family and friends. Put up a tent. Count the stars. And realize that sometimes by doing nothing at all, you’re doing more than you can imagine. Together. Get free camping tips, campfire songs, activities, recipes, and more at
  • FILM IN AMHERST: On Monday, June 29, at 7pm there is a special screening of Food, Inc. to benefit CISA at the Amherst Cinema. A thoughtful panel discussion featuring Pioneer Valley agriculture and food experts will follow this particular screening of the provocative film.
  • PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING: Public School Funding in MA: How Do We Compare Nationally?: Not well, according to a new report by Mass Budget—a non-partisan think tank that analyzes data on state spending. Check out their quick facts on the issue, which reports that Massachusetts cut more funding to education than any other state in the country from 2002-2004. The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MassBudget) provides independent research and analysis of state budget and tax policies that affect low- and moderate-income people in the state.
  • THE NIELDS WRITE: Look for us in Easthampton, MA at the library, in the morning, on July 1. We’ll be the ones not using our indoor voices and telling you to spend the summer reading. Also we’ll be singing:  7/1/09 Pepin Elementary School Easthampton, MA 10:30 am SUMMER Reading Kick Off Family Singalong – the website says 10:30pm, it is wrong, its really 10:30am :-)


Tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show on Saturdays from 9-10am on Valley Free Radio (VFR), 103.3FM (Northampton, MA), or listen via streaming audio at Every Saturday VFR offers four hours of commercial-free, quality family program from 6-10am, including Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child from 7am-9am. It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons!

Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Get Directions | Free Museum Passes | Farmer’s Market | Family Centers (Ages 0-4)|Facebook

Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday – 06/27

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HFVS Giveaway: Treasury of 25 Storybook Classic: Dinosaurs, Trucks, Monsters and more! (DVD Collection)

Treasury of 25 Storybook Classic:
Dinosaurs, Trucks, Monsters and more!

DVD 4-Disc Collection

Scholastic/Weston Woods debuts two new DVD collections in their Storybook Treasures series this month, aimed to appeal to both boys and girls:

  • Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics: Dinosaurs, Trucks, Monsters… and More!
  • Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics: Fairytales, Magic… and More!

Each collection includes 4-discs of carefully crafted productions that stay true to the original text and illustrations.

This series is an absolute favorite of my family and can be a wonderful way for kids to see their favorite award-winning storybooks come to life. Each story includes a read-along function which highlights words as they’re read, encouraging early readers to follow along and discover the fun of reading.


This week we are offering the Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics: Dinosaurs, Trucks, Monsters… and More! collection, featuring the following DVD’s:

  1. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight?… and more dinosaur tales
  2. I Stink!… and more stories on wheels
  3. Pete’s a Pizza… and more great stories about kids!
  4. The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Stories feature celebrity narration by Chevy Chase, Anthony Edwards, Michael McKean, and many more

Be sure to check back with us for more opportunities to win great family entertainment! Next week we will be offering the second collection in this series, Treasury of 25 Storybook Classics: Fairytales, Magic… and More! win great family entertainment!


Your chance to win this free DVD collection is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) PLEASE include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their name and town/state) and contact the winner via email, so be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is 06/03/09 @ 7pm (EST).

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood

Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood
New Documentary Film Premiering in Northampton (2009)

The consumer embryo begins to develop during the first year of existence.  Children begin their consumer journey in infancy.  And they certainly deserve consideration as consumers at that time.

– James U. McNeal | Pioneering Youth Marketer

This unsettling quote by a “Pioneering Youth Marketer” opens the critically-acclaimed new documentary film, Consuming Kids: The Commercialization of Childhood. Produced locally by the Northampton-based Media Education Foundation (MEF), Consuming Kids zeroes in on the increasingly brazen practices of the multibillion-dollar youth marketing industry in the wake of deregulation, exposing how marketers have used the latest advances in psychology, anthropology, and neuroscience to target American children and transform them into one of the most influential and profitable consumer demographics in the world.

I was glued to my seat as I watched a review copy of this film, feeling the heat of anger rising up into my cheeks as I learned how marketers are scheming to influence my kid (our kids) to consume their products… for life! My family doesn’t watch commercial television in our home, so it shocked me to see the different television ads aimed at marketing to children, trying to sell them everything from junk food to the family car. But as the film reveals, advertising to our kids isn’t found just on the TV, it’s also found on the school bus, the classroom, cell phones, the internet, movies, and even churches. It’s insidious!

Offering a time-line tracing the evolution and impact of this unprecedented phenomenon, Consuming Kids illustrates how the childhood of American kids has become commercialized and explores how the effect of hyperconsumerism impacts the actual lived experiences of our children.

I think the thing that upsets me the most is that it’s not just products that are being marketed to children, but values. And the primary value that’s being sold to kids over and over and over again is the value that things or stuff or brands will make us happy.

– Susan Linn | Director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood


Read the rest of this entry »

Plastic Bag Free Movement

Leni Fried of Cummington, MA writes:

The Bagshare Project is ramping up. I’ve been researching a movement called PBF. This stands for Plastic Bag Free. The first town to do this, at least in Europe, is the small town (1500 people) of Modbury in the UK. This is a seaside town and a woman there, Rebecca Hoskins, noticed all the plastic debris on her local beach and watched a sea turtle die that had a plastic bag in its mouth. This experience drove her to contact all the merchants in Modbury to come to a showing of a film called Message in the Waves. After viewing the film all the shopkeepers made a pledge to no longer use plastic bags.

This in turn spurred a movement around the world to create Plastic Bag Free towns! The web site is great to use. It is an extensive organizing tool to help achieve this goal. I will soon be meeting with the business association in Shelburne Falls, MA to discuss working towards the goal of making Shelburne Falls the first PBF town in Western Massachusetts.

Please take a minute to watch Message in the Waves. It is a very powerful experience. I have also purchased a longer film (44 minutes) called Battle of the Bags. We will be showing this at The Old Creamery in Cummington, MA on March 23rd at 7 p.m. If you would like to borrow it please let me know. I would like to arrange as many public showings as possible. This film is being used in Great Barrington, MA to try and get the merchants there to pass an ordinance against plastic bag use.

Sewing bags and starting Bagshares is an important step to educate the public. It works perfectly in conjunction with changing the larger infrastructure. If people are not offered a free non-biodegradable plastic bag, that would be a lot of pollution that will never make it to the ocean and inside the stomach of an animal.

Read the rest of this entry »

Green Reads & Media

Books, Movies & TV Shows with a Green Message

Common Sense Media has compiled a list of “green” books, movies and TV shows, just in time for Earth Day:

Best Green Reads

It’s Earth Day: Little Critter by Mercer Mayer

Little Critter inspires with his eco-enthusiasm.

on 3+
4 stars
The Apple Pie That Papa Baked by Lauren Thompson

Folksy artwork enlivens tasty web-of-life tale.

on 4+
5 stars
Our Earth by Anne Rockwell

Caves, volcanoes, and other Earth delights.

on 4+
4 stars
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Classic, sensitive parable about selflessness.

on 4+
4 stars
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Seuss fable has become an environmentalist classic.

on 4+
4 stars
Pale Male: Citizen Hawk of New York City by Janet Schulman

Red-tailed hawk story stirs urban enviro-conflict.

on 6+
4 stars
Why Are the Ice Caps Melting? The Dangers of Global Warming by Anne Rockwell

Dreary planet outlook challenges tweens to act.

on 9+
3 stars
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Plucky kids save endangered species from evil corp.

on 10+
3 stars
An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis in Global Warming by Al Gore

All evidence, no activism. Sure to depress kids.

pause 11+
3 stars

Read the rest of this entry »

Web Review: Earth Day Movies

What Would Jesus Buy?


There’s a new documentary film out that I’d like to catch, What Would Jesus Buy, produced by Morgan Spurlock (the same guy who produced Super Size Me). An interview with performance artist Bill Talen was recently aired on Valley Free Radio (home of the Hilltown Family Variety Show) that caught my attention. The film is a docu-“comedy” where Talen plays the role of Reverend Billy who has his very own church, The Church of Stop Shopping.

The film focuses on the issues of the commercialization of Christmas, materialism, the over-consumption in American culture, globalization, and the business practices of large corporations, as well as their economic and cultural effects on American society, as seen through the prism of activist/performance artist Bill Talen, who goes by the alias of “Reverend Billy,” and his troupe of activists, whose street theater performances take the form of a church choir called “The Church of Stop Shopping,” that sings anti-shopping and anti-corporate songs. The film follows Billy and his choir as they take a cross-country trip in the month prior to Christmas 2005, and spread their message against what they perceive as the evils of patronizing the retail outlets of several different large corporate chains. (Wikipedia)

Here’s the trailer for the film:


The theater closest to the Hilltowns & the Pioneer Valley playing this film is Real Art Ways in Hartford, CT, opening on December 7th, 2207. (BTW, what’s the update with Pleasant Street Theater in Northampton, MA?)


Is your family taking a different approach to the holidays? One that’s not full of commercialization and materialism? The Natural Resources Defense Council is inviting folks to post a home video of their ideas to their Use Your Brain: Do the Holidaze Different at

Other places to post your “Green Holiday Tips”

  • Eco-Friendly Family Bulletin Board on Hilltown Families
  • Sustainable Living Bulletin Board at the Old Creamery in Cummington, MA
  • Going Green for the Holidays Bulletin Board at the Forbes Library in Northampton, MA

Transformers Movie: PG-13 Movie Marketed to Preschoolers

Have Toy, See Movie? Not This One.

Your little kids want Transformers. How could they not? According to The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, no fewer than 129 different Transformers tie-in toys are being offered for kids under 13. They’re also being heavily promoted through ads that are rated as age-appropriate for kids as young as 2. Add to that the promotions with Burger King, Kraft, and others. So, if your kid has the toy, why not take him to the movie? Because the movie isn’t age-appropriate for a 5-year-old, that’s why. It’s rated PG-13 for violence, sexual humor, and language. And if you think that doesn’t matter, think again.

Read the rest of this entry »

Local Moviemaking Program for Girls

Moviemaking Program Can Raise a Girls’ Self-Esteem

New research by Mount Holyoke professors has found increased self-esteem in adolescent females who participated in improvisational moviemaking designed to build confidence and character in girls ages 11 to 14.

ACT NOW! Inc., an Amherst, Massachusetts-based nonprofit founded by Nancy Fletcher in 2000, holds two- and five-day workshops using the MOVIExperience format, in which players brainstorm an original story, create characters, improvise the scenes in sequence on camera, and screen a professional-looking 20- to 40-minute movie immediately after the last scene is shot.

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet the Robinsons Gets a Bad Review

Meet the Robinsons Gives Negative Adoption Messages
By Vicki Peterson, E.D.
of External Affairs
Wide Horizons For Children

We feel that it is important to warn you about a Disney movie called “Meet the Robinsons” that is now playing in many local cinemas. The advertising for this animated feature makes it sound like a great movie for any young child, but this is misleading. Fortunately, one of our adoptive parents alerted us about the negative adoption messages in the story and the very unhappy experience she had with both of her children who were greatly disturbed by the messages conveyed in this film. As a result, I went to see the film to decide if it warranted putting out an alert to our adoptive parent community. Indeed, I thought the concerns raised were completely justified.

Read the rest of this entry »

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