Wolf suits and mischief-making
Ask children's librarians to name their most requested picture books and you are bound to hear the 1964 Caldecott Medal Winner Where the Wild Things Are rattled off again and again. Maurice Sendak's classic story is about a sassy boy named Max who is sent to his room without supper and imagines setting sail to an island of monsters he is able to tame. But being king of wild beasts is a lonely job, so Max returns to the comforts of his room and a hot meal. Sendak's stories, though loved by children, are dark tales influenced by his Jewish heritage and childhood pain of losing relatives in the Holocaust. His books are connected through an underlying theme of overcoming adversity to return to the safety of family. The Alper JCC (11155 SW 112 Ave.) is hosting the traveling exhibit "Where the Wild Things Are: Maurice Sendak In His Own Words and Pictures" through April 17. The interactive exhibit includes a giant bowl of chicken soup and themed play areas for the children, while adults will enjoy the rare manuscripts, original illustrations, and recorded interviews. Today's opening-day event from noon to 5:00 is free. Call 305-271-9000, ext. 268 or visit www.alperjcc.org. -- Lyssa Oberkreser
Celebrate Jewish Heritage
Thanks to the swift pen of Jeb Bush, January has been designated Florida Jewish History Month. To celebrate this second annual event, the Jewish Museum of Florida (301 Washington Ave., Miami Beach) kicks off a month of activities with today's opening ceremonies. Broward County pioneers will share their stories of Jewish life in South Florida starting at 10:30 a.m. Admission is free. Call 305-672-5044. -- Lyssa Oberkreser
Tropical outdoor amusement
Some tropical fruits are tasty. Others double as beauty products. Staff at the Fruit and Spice Park (24801 SW 187th Ave., Homestead) often pop open a pod from the lipstick plant to brighten cheeks and lips and you can do the same at the 28th Annual Redland Natural Art Festival. The event includes artists and vendors selling jackfruit, guava, and other exotic trees. Or you can sit for a spell and watch puppet shows and live music. Keep an eye out for performers camouflaged as rocks and greenery. The festival is from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. today and Sunday. Admission is five dollars and free for kids under twelve. Call 305-247-5727 or visit www.fruitandspicepark.com. -- Patti Roth
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Not just another love story
It's been 25 years since Barbara Taylor Bradford published her first book, A Woman of Substance, introducing her irrepressible heroine Emma Harte. To date, the British-born writer has published in 40 different languages and enjoyed sales figures in excess of 75 million. Thanks to her film producer husband Bob, to whom she has dedicated every book she's written, ten of her twenty novels have been turned into television miniseries, featuring actors such as Sir Anthony Hopkins, Deborah Kerr, and Liam Neeson. Her latest tome, Unexpected Blessings, explores the lives of Emma Harte's grandchildren, who also turn out to be women of substance. Bradford gives her readers more of what she does best -- strong, savvy female protagonists who relentlessly pursue great destinies, characters much like the author herself. Meet this publishing dynamo tonight at 8:00 at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables. Call 305-442-4408 or visit www.booksandbooks.com. -- Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik