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Polar Bear Play's Summer Tour Aims to Teach Kids About Climate Change

By Mary Johnson | May 31, 2012 12:48pm
"If You Really Love Polar Bears," a play meant to teach kids about climate change and animal habitats, will tour 22 New York Public Library branches in Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island this summer.
"If You Really Love Polar Bears," a play meant to teach kids about climate change and animal habitats, will tour 22 New York Public Library branches in Manhattan, The Bronx and Staten Island this summer.
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Making Books Sing

NEW YORK — A children’s theater company in Turtle Bay will tour the city this summer with a production that blends cute and cuddly polar bears with the more serious subject of climate change.

Making Books Sing, which uses theater to promote children’s literacy and social development, will present “If You Really Love Polar Bears” at 22 New York Public Library branches in The Bronx, Manhattan and Staten Island.

The musical follows Patchy, a little boy who loves polar bears, as he learns what he can do to help save the earth and what climate change could mean for animal habitats.

“Kids can sometimes feel like [climate change is] such a bigger topic than they are," said Brooke Boertzel, director of education at Making Books Sing and the show's co-author.  “We try to take an empowering slant that there actually is a lot kids can do to contribute and to be environmentally conscious.”

The show aims to highlight the various small ways children can change their habits and conserve energy. It has been performed at the Bronx Zoo and at several schools throughout the five boroughs, and Boertzel said the response so far has been overwhelmingly positive.

In one instance, she received an email from the father of a 6-year-old girl who came home from the show and gave her neighbors a talking to after seeing all the lights in their apartment switched on.

“She started yelling out, 'You’re hurting the polar bears! You need to turn off all your lights!” Boertzel recalled with a laugh. “There is a link there that it is connecting.”

The production, which was commissioned by the Bronx Zoo, is free and lasts about 30 minutes. Because of the subject matter, the show is best suited for children in second grade through fifth grade, Boertzel said. But with the blend of puppetry, original music and physical comedy, children as young as 3 will enjoy the show.

A full schedule of the performances throughout the summer is listed below:

MANHATTAN performances

June 14; 3:00 p.m., Children's Center at 42 Street - 42nd Street, Bryant Park

June 14; 3:30 p.m., Bloomingdale Branch - 150 West 100th St. (between Amsterdam & Columbus avenues)

July 17; 11 a.m., New Amsterdam - 9 Murray St. (between Broadway & Church Street)

July 18; 4 p.m., Roosevelt Island - 524 Main St.

July 23; 4 p.m., Webster - 1465 York Ave. (near East 78th Street)

Aug. 3; 2:30 p.m., St. Agnes - 444 Amsterdam Ave. (near West 81st Street)

Aug. 7; 3 p.m., Kips Bay - 446 Third Ave. (at East 31st Street)

Aug. 14; 3:30 p.m., Battery Park City - 175 North End Ave. (at Murray Street)

Aug. 15; 2 p.m., Columbus- 742 10th Ave. (between West 50th & West 51st streets)

THE BRONX performances

June 28; 3:30 p.m., Clason Point - 1215 Morrison Avenue (near Westchester Ave.)

July 9; 2 p.m., Van Nest - 2147 Barnes Avenue (near Pelham Parkway South)

July 11; 3:30 p.m, Morris Park - 985 Morris Park Avenue (between Radcliff and Colden Aves.)

July 16; 4 p.m., High Bridge - 78 West 168th Street (at Woodycrest Ave.)

July 25; 3 p.m., Woodstock - 761 East 160th Street (west of Prospect Ave.)

July 26; 3 p.m., Tremont - 1866 Washington Avenue (at E. 176th St.)

Aug. 23; 4:00 pm, Bronx Library Center - 310 East Kingsbridge Road (at Briggs Avenue)

STATEN ISLAND Performances

June 7; 2:30 p.m., Great Kills Branch - 56 Giffords Lane (at Margaret Street)

July 10; 2 p.m., Port Richmond - 75 Bennett St. (at Heberton Avenue)

July 12; 3 p.m., Richmond Town Branch - 200 Clarke Ave. (at Amber Street)

Aug. 2; 3 p.m., Tottenville - 7430 Amboy Road

Aug. 8; 2:30 p.m., Dongan Hills - 1617 Richmond Road (between Seaview & Liberty avenues)

Aug. 9; 2 p.m., New Dorp - 309 New Dorp Lane