How’s this for a family summer project?: ARDITH BLUMENTHAL of New York, and her grandchildren, GORDON and MARI GRANDBOUCHE of New Jersey, inspired by the sea lions they saw in Astoria, spent the summer of 2012 writing, illustrating and publishing a book, “SAMMY THE SEA LION and His Signature Sound.”

This summer, they came back for another visit. “The children had a wonderful time in Astoria,” Ardith reported. “We went to see the sea lions almost immediately. They were excited, but we were not able to get as close to the sea lions as on the previous visit.”

While they were here, Mari and Gordon also presented a copy of their book to Mayor WILLIS VAN DUSEN. “The children enjoyed their visit to City Hall immensely,” Ardith told the Ear, “and Mari told about it in her first sharing on the first day of first grade.”

“The mayor was so generous and kind to the children,” she said, “and they will never, ever forget him. He gave them sweatshirts, which they absolutely love, and took so much time with them. You can tell he knows children very well.” Pictured, from left, Mari, the mayor and Gordon.

“The weather was perfect the entire time, and they can’t wait to return,” Ardith added. “The mayor asked them to be his guests at a City Council meeting on their next visit, so that’s an incentive!”

— Elleda Wilson

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