Archives for June 3, 2024

Summer Camp * An Adventurous Comedy About The Importance Of Having Strong Friendships And Taking Risks Together

Summer Camp tells the story of Nora (Keaton), Ginny (Bates), and Mary (Woodard), who have been best friends since being inseparable at summer camp. As the years have passed, they’ve seen each other less and less, so when the chance to reunite for a summer camp reunion arises, they all take it, some begrudgingly and others excitedly. Each of their lives might not be where they’d imagined, but one thing is for sure — Nora, Ginny, and Mary need each other, and summer camp reminds them why.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Tia O. comments, “Summer Camp is an adventurous film targeted at teens and adults. My favorite parts are the wardrobe, characters, and location – all of which make this super enjoyable. The film’s message is about the importance of having strong friendships and taking risks together.” See her full review below.

Summer Camp

By Tia Olatunji, KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Summer Camp is an adventurous film targeted at teens and adults. My favorite parts are the wardrobe, characters, and location – all of which make this super enjoyable.

Summer Camp is a comedic movie that follows a trio of best friends – Nora (Diane Keaton), Ginny (Kathy Bates) and Mary (Alfre Woodard) who met years ago while attending a summer camp together in their youth. Over the years, they’ve drifted apart due to lifestyle changes. So when the opportunity for a summer camp reunion arises, they all decide to go and relive the fond moments they used to share. Though a few bumps in their camp stay emerge, Nora, Ginny, and Mary all remember the importance of having strong friendships.

The wardrobe styling in this film is stellar. Costume designer, Maria Lorenzana, designed all of the characters’ outfits so that they were not only tailored to each person but also represented specific characteristics of their personalities. For example, Nora’s studious and reserved side is showcased by her wearing corporate colors, business suits, collared shirts and turtlenecks.  Ginny’s spunky and creative side is enhanced by her wearing vibrant colors, playful patterns, and big accessories. Mary’s quiet and soft side is represented by her wearing simple outfits, solid color tops and soft fabrics.

I adore all of the characters in this film; however my personal favorite is Nora. I relate to her because she’s very cautious before taking risks; she’s the logical thinker in the group, and she has a passion for science. Diane Keaton plays this role so well and I love her performance throughout the film. Lastly this movie was primarily filmed at Camp Pinnacle located in North Carolina and the location is gorgeous. The sky-high shots of the vast mountains and rolling hills captured by cinematographer Karsten Gopinath are truly breathtaking.

This film’s message is about the importance of having strong friendships and taking risks together. Be aware that the film does contain some cursing, inappropriate jokes, sexual themes, and some minor gore.

I give Summer Camp 3 out of 5 stars and recommend it to ages 12 to 18, plus adults. Look out for Summer Camp which releases in theaters May 31, 2024.

Books of the Week of June 3rd

 PASTA PASTA LOTSA PASTA by Aimee Lucido (on-sale: 7/2)

This is one to look for in July!

A family dinner gets out of hand as guest after guest arrives with a different pasta request in this rambunctious rhyming picture book. How much pasta is too much pasta?

Ring-a-ding, the doorbell rings, and oh! What did my Nonna bring?

Nonna Ana from Catania only likes to eat lasagna. But Nonno Titi from Tahiti only eats his spaghettini! Zio Tony wants ravioli, Zia Trini wants rotini, the cugini want tortellini… Family dinners can be tricky when the guests are oh-so-picky! As the kitchen gets more and more chaotic, can family pasta night go off without a hitch?
Author Bio
Aimee Lucido is the author of several books for kids, including Emmy in the Key of Code, Recipe for Disaster, and Pasta Pasta Lotsa Pasta. She got her MFA in writing for children and young adults at Hamline University and lives with her family in Berkeley, California, where she likes to do trivia, run, and write crossword puzzles.

Mavisu Demiragis an artist living in Izmir, Turkey. She graduated from Dokuz Eylul University with a degree in fashion design, but later turned her sights to her true passion: illustration. She is the illustrator of picture books including Pasta Pasta Lotsa Pasta by Aimee Lucido and many books published in Turkey and internationally.
award-winning playwright and breakbeat poet Idris Goodwin’s debut picture book

YOUR HOUSE IS NOT JUST A HOUSE by Idris Goodwin and illustrated by Lorraine Nam, is a must-read! This bouncy read-aloud, complete with vibrant paper-cut artwork from Lorraine Nam, is the antidote to the squirmy summer feeling that can come all too soon: boredom. What is there to do when you’re stuck at home on a rainy day in your ordinary house with no friends to play with? Turns out, a lot! When “imagination is your mission,” paper towel rolls can be microphones, your closet is a teleportation chamber, and living room furniture transforms into a warthog-resistant fort. And your parents? They’re not just your parents…it’s up to kiddos to find out what else they are, and the answer may come as a pleasant surprise.

fun read for the little older kids!

From actor, author, and comedian Ben Miller comes an illustrated middle grade fantasy adventure following a brother and sister who stumble into a magical new world—perfect for fans of Half Upon a Time and Land of Stories!

Lana loves stories, especially the ones she and her brother, Harrison, share in their make-believe games. But when Harrison decides he’s too grown-up to play with Lana anymore, she’s too lonely to find the wonder in storytelling…until something magical happens.

Lana discovers a portal to a fairy tale world hidden in the strange new supermarket in town! But these aren’t the happy-ever-after fairy tales that Lana knows—they are darker and more dangerous, and the characters need Lana’s help to defeat an evil witch. But she can’t do it alone.

Can she convince Harrison to believe in stories again and journey to the world with her before it’s too late?

Author Bio
Ben Miller is the bestselling author of magical stories for the whole family: The Night I Met Father Christmas, The Boy Who Made the World Disappear, The Day I Fell into a FairytaleHow I Became a Dog Called Midnight, Diary of a Christmas Elf, and The Night We Got Stuck in a Story. He is an actor, director, and comedian best known for The Armstrong & Miller Show, the Johnny English and Paddington films, BBC’s Death in Paradise, and recent Netflix smash Bridgerton.

Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini is an illustrator whose work has appeared in galleries worldwide. She studied fine arts in Milan before moving to London to study photography. Daniela’s contemporary take on classic style allows her to take on some very challenging picture books; The Seeing Stick by Jane Yolen and Animals Marco Polo Saw by Sandra Markle attracted much industry acclaim.

Twins coping with moving to a new city get swept back in time by a magical book in this first book in the Legendarios chapter book series that’s Magic Tree House meets Heroes in Training!

Nine-year-old twins, Emma and Martín, couldn’t be more different in their personalities, interests, and even their looks. But one thing they absolutely agree on is that moving from Cuernavaca, Mexico, to Illinois is a terrible idea. Unfortunately, they’re not given a choice when their dad lands his dream job as a middle school principal in Chicago. To help the twins stay connected to their Mexican heritage, their abuela gifts them a book of Mexican legends. The book turns out to be more than a going away present…it’s a magical item that transports them directly into the legends!

In the first legend, Emma and Martín encounter Tlaloc, the god of rain. Tlaloc is angry because his lightning bolt has been stolen, and his rage is manifesting as a torrential downpour over the ancient city of Texcoco. The rain won’t stop until the lightning bolt has been returned, so Emma and Martín set out to recover it.Will they find Tlaloc’s bolt in time to help the people of Texcoco save their home? Or will the wrath of the rain god mark the end of this legendary city?

Author Bio
Karla Arenas Valenti grew up in Mexico, a land of great myths and many legends. From a very young age, she loved to lose herself in stories (and, in fact, she considers herself the very first Legendario). As a grown-up, she still loves losing herself in stories and especially loves creating adventures for readers to do the same. In addition to chapter books, Karla is the author of many picture books and middle grade novels. She currently lives in the Chicagoland area with her husband, three kids, two cats, and hundreds of books. 

Vanessa Morales 
is a Mexican illustrator, kid lit artist, and concept artist with a deep love for portraying nature, fantasy, and daily life with a touch of magic. She has been working in different fields of illustration for almost ten years.

Self Disclosure: I received the above books to feature in the books of the week. Images and info were also received.

Join us for an unforgettable celebration of youth empowerment and community unity at the Boyle Heights Youth Festival [For Youth, By Youth]

This event represents collaboration and community spirit, supported by esteemed organizations such as Alma Family Youth Services, Boyle Heights Arts Conservatory, Casa 0101, and Healing Urban Barrios.

Additional support is provided by Boyle Heights Technology Youth Center, Homeboy Industries, KQBH 101.5, Latino Equality Alliance, Pod Pals, and Soledad Enrichment Action, all contributing to the festival’s vibrancy and reach.

Sponsors: Converse, Councilman Kevin de León, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, and SK8-BRD-BUS have generously sponsored this event, ensuring its success and impact.

The Boyle Heights Youth Festival returns with a free in-person event. It was established to address the rising violence impacting local families and youth during summer breaks. Over time, it has evolved into a source of positivity and creativity for the community.

Led by individuals aged 13-24, this festival is a testament to the power of young voices. Weekly meetings since February have led to the formation of entertainment, logistics, marketing, and volunteer committees, shaping every aspect of the festival.

Esteemed celebrity special guests Xolo Maridueña (Blue Beetle, Cobra Kai) and Xochitl Gómez (Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Dancing with the Stars) will honor each youth contributor on stage.

Performances by local artists Adriana Padilla, Death To Maria, Ballet Folklorico Ramona Convent, Shaiel Arroyo, Amber Keys Band, Lauren Keys, Erika Stormm, Salsa Dance Team, Maximo Chavez, Isabella Alvarez Hosted by Sergio, Genji, & PodPals.

Saturday June 8, 2024

3:00 pm – 7:00 pm

2130 E. 1st. Street (Breed & St. Louis) / Recommended Public Transit: Soto Metro Station.

June 8 World Oceans Day Santa Monica Beach Cleanup

Photo Credit: LA Waterkeeper

After a rainy winter, there’s a lot of cleanup to be done along our coastline! Join us for our World Oceans Day Beach Cleanup and take a vital step towards preserving marine life and safeguarding the beauty of our coastal ecosystems. Your help is crucial in making our coastal habitats a healthier and more beautiful place for all to enjoy. Let’s work together to make a positive impact on World Oceans Day! Special thank you item for all registered participants thanks to our friends at California Fish Grill! This event is sponsored by Mara Beauty.

June 8th, 9a-11a

Contact Kelly Shannon McNeill at

World Oceans Day Beach Cleanup with LA Waterkeeper

Saturday June 8th, 9a-11a Free beach cleanup event

Santa Monica Beach, Tower 20, 2030 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Event link:

RSVP required. 

Learn more about Los Angeles Waterkeeper:

For more information about this event, contact Kelly Shannon McNeill at