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Children’s Reading Alliance begins new literature series for families


Las Cruces playwright, actor and theatre teacher Monika Mojica will present “There’s A Nightmare in My Closet,” by Mercer Mayer, at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 19, via Zoom.

The production is the first installment of a 10-part series, “Talking Stories/Cuentos que hablan,” produced by Las Cruces’ Children’s Reading Alliance (CRA) in conjunction with the New Mexico Council for the Humanities (NMCH) and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The program is free and open to the public. Subject matter is appropriate for families.

Register at https://cutt.ly/skep9er.

Local actors, writers and professors have come together to create literature-rich experiences for families for the Talking Stories/Cuentos que hablan series, CRA said in a news release.

“Each month, a different local performing artist presents a dramatic reading of a classic children’s story and then guides group discussion to explore themes beneath the entertainment,” Measure said. “After the storytelling, the audience is invited to participate in discussion with open-ended questions that encourage critical thinking.”

Self-reliance and facing our fears are the themes for discussion after the performance of “There’s a Nightmare in my Closet,” Mojica said. “I still have my copy from when I was six. That’s how powerful its message is for me.”

Books in the Talking Stories/Cuentos que hablan series present carefully selected themes to address ethical decision-making, interpersonal dynamics and fairness, as well as character traits like empathy, truth, resilience, accepting personal responsibility, overcoming obstacles and celebrating our diverse heritage, Measure said. “Each book has been chosen for its literary excellence and provocative illustrations,” she said.

“We are pleased to announce that books will be available to participating families thanks to a grant from NMCH,” said CRA Director Jennifer Alvarado.

“Children’s literature, especially picture books, make complex issues accessible to audiences of all ages, cultures and levels of education,” CRA Artist Director Rorie Measure said. “Carefully guided shared inquiry strengthens comprehension and decision-making skills and provides experience discussing hot-button topics with empathy and civility.”

Contact Alvarado at jalvarado@cra.org or 575-644-4645.

Visit www.childrensreadingalliance.org.