November 26, 2018
A few weeks ago, my friend Kara, shared a Blue Star Families event with me and made sure I did not miss out. She experienced a Blue Star Books event at another installation and told me how amazing this event is for military families. Blue Star Families partners with Disney for their Blue Star Books events. This past weekend, they were in the Nation’s Capital at Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall (JBM-HH). This is the third year this event has come to JBM-HH and I am so happy our family did not miss out on this great event.
Sunday was an extra special day for Disney as it was Mickey Mouse’s 90th Birthday! Blue Star Families made sure to celebrate with traditional birthday celebrations of singing “Happy Birthday” to Mickey and cupcakes with sprinkles! (Thank you, Dog Tag Bakery, a local bakery that offers a fellowship program of education and small business to veterans and military families!) Mickey made an appearance for the birthday celebrations and made sure that everyone got a chance to meet him personally and take pictures.
The big difference between Mickey’s birthday party and a traditional birthday party is that the guests are the ones receiving all the gifts. The gift of BOOKS… and lots of books! Since 2009, Blue Star Books has given away hundreds of thousands of books to children at Blue Star Families events. Along with books, each child was given their own Mickey plush, a t-shirt, and a bag to haul all these goodies. There were also craft areas set up where children made birthday cards for Mickey and magical swords.
An event like this takes a lot of work behind the scenes. That effort did not go unnoticed. This event ran very smoothly, and it was obvious Blue Star Families had their guests in focus the entire time: the children. It was fun watching all the children sit closely and listen to the new story from Disney, Elliot Gets Lost. Parents were able to sit behind the children as they were in the front with great view of the story.
During storytime is also when we first got to meet Mickey Mouse and sing to him. After storytime, we enjoyed choosing what activity to do next. My boys chose cupcakes first—because, priorities of a two-year-old and we love cupcakes! We also love Disney and Mickey Mouse, but our children were very nervous to be close to him, so we watched from afar. Each family had the opportunity for pictures with Mickey… how awesome is that?
In the room with the books, the line moved very quickly and was very organized as the children were able to pick out five books each. There were books for all ages as well. Each book featured Disney characters. And there were plenty of books —no chance of any of the titles running out. After collecting the books, my four-year-old could not wait to read them!
We love books and storytime in our home, so this event was so much fun for our family. Even in the car ride home, my boys were excited to read each book. Before bed that night, we read Elliot Gets Lost again. That was also a gift for the family in addition to the books the children picked out. It was such a joy hearing the fun my boys had as they retold the story of Elliot and what they did that day to their friends at school the next day. Thank you, Blue Star Families and Disney, for programs like Blue Star Books and always taking care of military families. We are so happy Blue Star Books added these great books to our library of books at home—what an incredible way for families to encourage a love for reading at any age!
By Heidi Starr, Blue Star Families Member