Our guide to cultural events in New York City for children and teenagers happening this weekend and in the week ahead.
BUG DAY at the New York Hall of Science (June 29, noon-4 p.m.). Yes, if you want a bug day, you can just step outside, but this Queens museum’s annual event promises to be much more fun. Children can observe many species, including Madagascar hissing cockroaches (intrepid souls can hold them) and leaf-cutter ants, as well as watch a bearded dragon get an insect feeding. Speaking of meals, at 3 p.m. Joseph Yoon, a chef from Brooklyn Bugs, will discuss these creatures as food, preparing dishes made from ingredients like mealworms and crickets. (If you would rather taste honey, Borough Bees will present a mobile hive.) The entomologist and artist Barrett Klein will show how to draw his subjects and lead insect role-playing sessions involving ecological scenarios. Little visitors can also investigate the kind of bug that makes you sick: They will portray infectious micro-organisms in a giant board version of the game in the museum’s digital comic book Transmissions: Gone Viral.
CIRCUS AFLOAT!: ‘TRAVELS WITH TRICKSTERS’ at the Waterfront Museum and Showboat Barge (June 30, 2 p.m.). Winner of a MacArthur fellowship, Bond Street Theater specializes in promoting peace and human rights around the world. It also, however, takes treasures back home: stories, skills, performance styles. They form the heart of this family show, the first in the Waterfront Museum’s Circus Afloat! series. Expect lots of audience participation as two of the Bond Street actors highlight the many trickster characters found in international folklore. Comprising Afro-Caribbean stilt dancing, European slapstick, Peking Opera acrobatics and more, the performance takes place on board a Brooklyn site that used to travel, too: the Lehigh Valley Railroad Barge No. 79, a converted 1914 vessel.
REVOLUTIONARY SUMMER at the New-York Historical Society (July 4, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; through Sept. 15). Rebellion often attracts the young, and now they can enjoy it in a way that even grown-ups will endorse: through this interactive celebration of the American Revolution. Starting appropriately on Independence Day and continuing every weekend through Sept. 15, the society will offer special exhibits, period re-enactments and children’s activities. The event’s centerpiece, in the courtyard from Thursday through July 7 and on other select dates, is a full-scale model of George Washington’s headquarters tent, on loan from the Museum of the American Revolution. Little visitors can explore it, discuss Washington’s strategy with costumed re-enactors and even meet the great man himself, portrayed by an actor. They can also encounter a great woman: At 12:30 p.m., Judith Kalaora will present “A Revolution of Her Own,” her show about Deborah Sampson, who disguised herself as a man to fight in the Continental Army. Other entertainment on Thursday will include a fife-and-drum corps, singalongs with the Hudson River Ramblers and readings of the Declaration of Independence by a performer playing John Adams. In the true spirit of liberty, all the day’s visitors under 18 will receive free admission.
SCHOMBURG CENTER LITERARY FESTIVAL: READING THE AFRICAN DIASPORA at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (June 29, 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m.). This free festival, the first of its kind for the Schomburg, will be a bit of a diaspora itself: It will occupy not only the center’s building, but also the block of West 135th Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. Although not created expressly for children, it will offer author appearances, workshops and activities for readers from preschool through high school. The outdoor programs, which will take place rain or shine, will include live musical storytelling, in which readings of children’s books will have sonic accompaniment; and a daylong Little Readers Zone, where participants can make bookmarks, write haiku and, at 4 p.m., learn how to draw comics from the author and artist Tim Fielder. The panel YA Is Lit will feature young-adult authors discussing their work, and the Brooklyn Slam Team will host a performance by teenage poets. (Writers ages 13 to 18 can sign up at the event.) The slam team will also lead a workshop indoors at the Schomburg, where a children’s book reading will be held as well. (The website has details on times and locations.)
[Read about the events that our other critics have chosen for the week ahead.]
STORIES AT THE STATUE OF HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN in Central Park (June 29, 11 a.m.; every Saturday through Sept. 28). Visit this park, and you will usually end up with a story, but that’s especially true on summer Saturdays, when, for 63 years, narrative performers have been presenting tales, rain or shine, at the foot of the Andersen statue. (Enter the park at Fifth Avenue and 72nd Street.) Presented by the Hans Christian Andersen Storytelling Center, this free seasonal series features works not only by the master for whom it is named, but by other writers as well. This Saturday Regina Ress will tell Andersen’s “The Wicked Prince,” about a royal who thinks he can conquer anyone until he pits himself against a formidable adversary: God. Jean Hale will follow with Jane Yolen’s “The Emperor and the Kite,” whose heroine, the ruler’s mostly ignored youngest child, uses the titular plaything to save her father’s life.
TRADITIONS FESTIVAL at King Manor Museum (June 28-30, noon-4 p.m.). This free annual celebration invites families to experience two kinds of imaginary journeys: through time and around the globe. The former home of the statesman and abolitionist Rufus King (1755-1827), this house museum will be filled with historically costumed educators demonstrating early American tasks like blacksmithing, broom making, carding, spinning, weaving and open-hearth cooking. The festival, which will offer music and food, will also feature international arts and crafts, including Filipino calligraphy, Mexican dressmaking and Korean cuisine. Children can meet artisans and even try some of the displayed skills.
‘WHISPER OF THE HEART’ at select movie theaters nationwide (July 1-2, 7 p.m.). Intriguing feline characters appear in several films from the acclaimed Japanese animators at Studio Ghibli, and this 1995 feature has two: a mysterious cat that lures the teenage heroine, Shizuku, to an antiques store, and the Baron, a cat figurine she finds there. Directed by Yoshifumi Kondo from a screenplay by the renowned Hayao Miyazaki, “Whisper of the Heart” focuses on Shizuku’s literary ambitions — she brings the Baron to life in a story — and her growing love for Seiji, a boy who aspires to be a violin maker. Presented by Fathom Events and the distributor Gkids as part of Studio Ghibli Fest 2019, the movie will screen in an English-dubbed version on Monday and in Japanese with English subtitles on Tuesday.
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