Kids’ Almanac (Oct. 31-Nov. 7)

National Novel-Writing Month Write-In at Tivoli Library

November is here, which means campaign signs, the end of Daylight Savings, pictures of pilgrims and NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel-Writing Month.

The challenge of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000-word novel from scratch during the entire month of November: “Our experiences since 1999 show that 50,000 is a difficult but doable goal, even for people with full-time jobs and children. The length makes it a short novel.”

Why do it? Here’s what the organizers say: “The glow from making big, messy art, and watching others make big, messy art, lasts for a long, long time. The act of sustained creation does bizarre, wonderful things to you. It changes the way you read – and changes, a little bit, your sense of self. We like that.”


NaNoWriMo is open to anyone in the world ages 13 and up. For aspiring authors age 17 and under, NaNoWriMo offers its Young Writers’ Program, where participants designate their own word-count goals, and the supports are designed for that age level. “In 2012, over 300,000 adults participated through our main site, and 80,000 young writers participated through the YWP.” NaNoWriMo also has an Educator category, for those whose students are participating in NaNoWriMo.

The Tivoli Library invites writers to come to its NaNoWriMo Write-In on Saturday, November 9 at 2 p.m.: “We are proud to support our local NaNoWriMo authors this November by providing a writing space where we can come together in a nurturing, positive environment and work on our writing. Whether this is your first attempt at fiction or you already have a few stories under your belt, join us for these special after-hours ‘write-ins.’ If possible, bring your laptop, typewriter or pen and paper. Limited public computers will be available, as well as coffee and snacks. This program is free and open to the public.”

The Tivoli Library is located at 86 Broadway in Tivoli. For more information, call the library at (845) 757-3771 or visit To learn more about the November writing challenge, visit


New online exam for admission to Bard

For high school students and homeschoolers applying to Bard College, you may be interested in Bard’s new online essay exam: Grades of B+ or higher will be offered admission. The college explains: “The [21] questions are divided into three categories: Arts and Humanities; Social Sciences, History and Philosophy; and Science and Mathematics. Applicants will be required to complete one question in each category, plus an additional question in any one category for a total of four, most to be answered with 2,500-word essays. Links to relevant source material will be included, but applicants are encouraged to research broadly in answering each of the questions. All test-takers must submit their essays by uploading them to Bard’s secure website by January 1, after which the essays will be graded by members of the faculty. Those receiving a grade of B+ or higher will receive an offer of admission by the end of January.”

Mary Backlund, director of Admission, explains: “We believe that by adding this new method, we’ll be giving ambitious applicants an option that’s engaging, interesting and even exciting…. It offers them a sense of what college work is really like.” Bard College president Leon Botstein says, “In the end, this is actually very old-fashioned. We are using modern technology to extend the sophisticated standards for colleges and universities, before the mid-20th-century tyranny of standardized testing took hold.”

Bard College is located in Annandale-on-Hudson. For more information about the Bard Entrance Examination, call (845) 758-7472, e-mail or visit


Poughkeepsie’s Big Read spotlights Cynthia Ozick’s The Shawl

Last week, I mentioned One Book/One New Paltz and related youth activities for this year’s featured book by Toni Morrison, Home. This week, I want to make sure that you know about the Big Read in Dutchess County: another community read that explores the themes raised in the book The Shawl by Cynthia Ozick. There are a number of activities that would be of interest to children and teens, including learning about code-breaking during World War II; talks by former prisoners during the Holocaust; movies; a knitting gathering for ages 7 and up to make prayer shawls; and more.

On Sunday, November 3 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., Vassar College associate professor of English Dr. Peter Antelyes presents “From Maus to X-men: The Holocaust in Comics,” in which he “examines the treatment of the Holocaust in graphic novels.” This event takes place at Our Lady of Lourdes High School, located at 131 Boardman Road in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 485-3445 or visit For more events and to learn more about this communitywide book connection, visit


Dohnut comes to New Paltz’s Water Street Market

Other than the amazing apple cider donuts that delight my senses every fall, I thought that these sweet round confections were limited to the realm of Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme, or Timmy’s when I’m closer to the northern and western edges of the state. Then, at some point, my friends started posting cool flavored donut pictures on Facebook, and I got a little jealous.

I thought that I had to live in New York City to get a wider variety of choices, but then Dohnut happened, and it’s right in New Paltz! It’s still under the radar, since the Kosiner brothers (you know them from their great hotdog stand) just opened for business last week; so get in on this early, before everyone else catches on. In addition to having wacky, delicious flavors like root beer, coconut ginger and maple bacon, they carry a gluten-free donut! I really enjoyed my gluten-free vanilla donut, and my kids thought that the flavors listed above were awesome. Go check them out!

I couldn’t wait to tell you about them! I’ll write more when they set up an official Grand Opening. In the meantime, Dohnut is located in the Water Street Market at 10 Main Street, Suite 106 in New Paltz, and online at And tell Jed and Brock hello for me.

Erica Chase-Salerno wishes her mother-in-law Olga a very happy birthday! Erica munches on donuts in New Paltz with her husband Mike and their two children: the inspirations behind She can be reached at