Thousands of boys from Sudan immigrated to the United States during the 1990s — including the “Arizona Lost Boys of Sudan” — who are among the many children orphaned in one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.
Sudan might feel a world away, but who can’t imagine what it might be like to be orphaned? And who doesn’t wish there was some way they could help.
This is where the cows come in. They’re ceramic handmade cows crafted by orphaned children, and they’ll be on sale during “The AZ Lost Boys of Sudan 6th Annual Birthday Party” at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe.
Birth dates are rarely recorded in Sudan, so aid workers have given many orphans a Jan 1 birthday — which Changing Hands recognizes with an event featuring birthday treats and a cow sale to benefit the AZ Lost Boys and Girls scholarship fund.
If you want more info on the scholarship fund, just visit the AZ Lost Boys Center online at www.azlostboyscenter.org. Of course, they pretty much had me at “ceramic cows.”
Changing Hands Bookstore has all sorts of interesting fare this month — including a Jan 12 panel with psychologists and educators sharing “strategies on how teachers, students and parents can cope with bullying.”
Sesame Street puppeteer Noel MacNeal hits Changing Hands Jan 14, and the “Yallapalooza” — “a literary extravaganza for tween and teen readers featuring more than a dozen ‘YA’ authors — takes place Jan 29.
You can bring little ones clad in pajamas to the Jan 13 “Pajama Storytime for Preschoolers” with children’s specialist Ramie Manch, or awaken your own writing muse with one of Changing Hands’ many writing workshops and poetry roundtables.
Another “Local First Arizona” bookstore — which has stores in Mesa, Phoenix and Tucson — has diverse offerings for literature-lovers of all ages. This Sat, Jan 8, folks can head to Bookmans in Phoenix to learn the art of paper folding from the Arizona Origami Society.
Other Bookman happenings this weekend include an author signing of a new book about the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (Tucson), a “Silly Bandz” trading event (at the Glendale Glitters & Glow Block Party) and an anime club get together (Phoenix).
Later this month, you can enjoy several “Music Hour with Nature!” events, a Harry Potter club gathering, and a performance as part of the “Ear Candy Charity & Chicks with Picks Live Music Series!” (Store locations vary.)
Be sure and check with your local independent booksellers as well — many of whom provide an environment rich for conversation and community building. Your local bookstore is a great place to find fellow readers, writers and thinkers — and to help your children cultivate these skills in a day and age too full of distractions.
Note: Click here to learn more about Local First Arizona and its members (which include Raising Arizona Kids magazine).
Coming up: The fine art of tolerance, The art of “Sacred Places,” Art adventures: Glendale, Shrek: I’m a Believer