Unplug and reconnect: Children’s Book Week at Village Books

Milo Chervenock-Johnson shows off his new Pom-Pom Pet, Pinky, at a Village Books event for Children’s Book Week. // Photo by Mysti Willmon

By Mysti Willmon

“His name is Pinky the Pig,” first-grader Milo Chervenock-Johnson said about his Pom-Pom Pet. “He likes recess.”

Milo had crafted his pompom pet at the Village Books After School Pom-Pom Pets mini-workshop. The store put on events all last week to celebrate Children’s Book Week.

Milo added wings to Pinky and suddenly, he didn’t just like recess. Pinky now liked to hop over fences too and when Milo made him dance, he fluttered up off the ground.

Milo, along with his father Justin Chervenock-Johnson, said this was their first time attending one of the workshops. They learned about it from a poster Milo spotted at Happy Valley Elementary School.

The workshop was only one of many kids events put on by Village Books this past week. The store combined their series of book week events with National Screen-Free Week. The store hosted three different story time sessions for some screen-free fun. They also hosted two author events featuring Toni Yuly, author of “Thank You, Bees” and Nina Laden, author of “Yellow Kayak.”

Of the many events that week, Milo and his father chose the pompom pets event, where kids learned how to make frogs, cats, wolves and many other creatures out of yarn.

Participant Ella Smith made a wolf. She said his name was Messy and that he liked to chase evil hamburgers. Ella’s mom Julie also got in on the fun and made a Pom-Pom Pet of her own.

However, the screen-free activity did have a few hiccups. Some pompom pets didn’t come out quite right.

“It looks like a pile of fur,” Ella said as her pet fell apart.

Claire McElroy, Village Books event coordinator, laughed as she handed Ella yarn to start another animal.

“It could be the furball that one of these cats coughed up,” she said.

According to McElroy, Village Books has been participating in Children’s Book Week for as long as she can remember.

“[Children’s Book Week] officially started 99 years ago,” McElroy said. “The whole goal has always just been to get books in kids’ hands and to get them reading and help them foster a really early love and appreciation of books.”

McElroy said this year the bookstore also added a scavenger hunt to their week-long event.

“The kids who participate in it and complete it are entered to win a grand prize, which is a Village Books T-shirt,” McElroy said.

This year Village Books is also one of the featured event locations on the Children’s Book Week website event map, McElroy said.

“We are pretty old-school here and love the idea of actually placing a book in kids’ hands. So some of our activities are geared toward that idea of ‘screen-free,’” McElroy said. “We are just trying to show kids that they can get as much joy and pleasure out of reading a book and imagining.”

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