Arlene Alda Reads at Hunter College
Arlene Alda signing copy of her book
“Jackson, tell Mrs. Alda you have “Iris Has a Virus” at home and it is your favorite book!” said a doting mother in the audience to her adorable 4-year old. But Jackson just smiled mischievously and pressed his lips together.
Arlene Alda, Hunter Class of 1954 (Music Major, Phi Beta Kappa, Cum Laude) had just finished reading “Iris Has a Virus” as well as “Did You Say Pears?” and “Hurry Granny Annie,” three of her delightful, clever, wonderful books for kids (and their parents and grandparents) to an enthralled audience of fellow Hunter alums and their children, who had gathered to hear her in a sun-filled corner of the new Leon and Toby Cooperman (Class of ’64) Library, as part of Homecoming 2014.
An award-winning photographer, Alda has written over 15 children’s books, plus several for adults. Before her marriage to actor Alan Alda and becoming a mother (they are the parents of three daughters and eight grandchildren) she was a successful professional musician, playing clarinet for several orchestras including the Houston Symphony Orchestra under conductor Leopold Stokowski.
Many of her books are illustrated with her photographs, among them “Did You Say Pears?” which humorously pictures homophones (pear, pair; sun, son) and homonyms (horns, horns; pitcher, pitcher). “Here a Face, There a Face” finds faces in the most unlikely places (a faucet, a house, an old tree) and turns them into lively characters. Her latest book “Hello, Good-bye” wittily illustrates opposites.
She signed this book for Diane Caron (Class of ’54) after her reading and told us how she photographed the eye-catching cover:
“My husband and I were in France. I wanted a cover to mean ‘hello and good-bye’ and he was a willing victim. There were these bushes….‘Why don’t you go through the bushes?’ I asked. He did that and fell down. He must have done this for me many times to get him in the right place at the right time.”
I purchased “Did You Say Pears,” “Here a Face, There a Face,” and “Hello, Good-bye” and brought them on a visit to my daughter and grandkids in Canada. eleven-year-old Julianna, a book lover, read them in a flash. “Did you like them?” I asked her. Without hesitation she exclaimed, “They were cool!”
Just like their author!#