the dinnersteins of park slope

Simone Dinnerstein is a local mom, but she is also a world class classical pianist, the guiding force behind "Neighborhood Classics" coming to a local school near you, and the daughter of two amazing parents. She has just released a new album, "Bach, A Strange Beauty" which I find is a welcome alternative to the Jingle Bell Rock that has invaded my house.

The "Neighborhood Classics" concerts "help build relationships at the local level between neighborhoods and musicians. These one-hour, family friendly performances are hosted by Simone and feature musicians she has admired and collaborated with during her career. The concerts are open to the public and raise funds to benefit the schools' students. Musicians performing donate their performances to the program and the  concerts are organized and administered by PTA volunteers and faculty members."

Simone is currently working with PS 321 in Brooklyn and PS 142 in lower Manhattan, but if you are a school that would like to find out how to participate you should contact her at

Simone's talented parents are Renee Dinnerstein, a gifted educator who is currently blogging on the importance of inquiry and play within the classroom. She is hoping to open a dialog among parents and teachers in her blog "Investigating Choice Time". If you check out the album, you will also see the work of her father, Simon Dinnerstein, the wonderful painter. His painting "The Fulbright Triptych" is represented in Simone's CD and in a new book, called "The Suspension of Time" which is coming out in April.

Why live in Brooklyn? The people make the place.

Author/Illustrator talks to schools

I just heard Melanie Hope Greenberg speak to several elementary classes this morning at the Central Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. She is the author/illustrator of many picture books including "Down in the Subway" and her current "Mermaids on Parade". She was adorable and so interesting and the room of 60 or so kids just ate it up. She describes her process in a very engaging way. She walked us through the illustration process from her plans through preliminary sketches to the finished work. She described the editing process and how it is helpful and hard sometimes. She showed us pictures and told us stories about her inspiration and gave personal details that she weaves into her work, which made us feel like real insiders. The kids were jumping out of their seats to ask questions and she spoke to them with an ease that let me know that she was with her people. Today she was speaking in conjunction with the show of her work in the youth wing of the Central Library (free to the public through June 13)
She is always available to speak to local elementaries. All you PTA's should call her to set up a program for your librarian!
Also a little shout out for the libraries. If you have a little to spare they are in dire need. You can contribute to your own local branch too. No amout too small.
They are also planning a special start to summer reading festival on June 4. Come sign up for your summer reading goodies and have fun in the plaza. That is a school holiday so come and enjoy the library! More information on that shortly.

13 is the new 18

My friend, Beth Harpaz has just written a great new book called, "13 is the new 18, and other things my children taught me while I was having a nervous breakdown being their mother".
She is doing a reading at Barnes and Noble in Park Slope on Feb. 5 at 7:30. It is sure to be very funny, judging from her youtube videos.

Parents and kids at my house gathered around the computer laughing at how funny (and true) her commentary was. It did bring up an issue for us. I friended my kids when they got their Facebook pages. We are not unhappy with the things that we occasionally see, but the unintended complication comes from their looking at OUR pages. Our friends' status shows up on our kids' homepages. Beth, the fact that you are addicted to cheese is the funniest thing that my kids extended network has heard in a long time. Apparently, it is SO "park slope mom" - I am addicted to cheese as well. The fact that Beth - someone we know - could youtube a song about her teen's behavior sent a chill around the neighborhood. Don't push your mom too far or she could go public. Good job Beth!