Ms. Flea-Collar by Angelo DeCesare

Flip's Fantastic Journal


PIP (Puppetry In Practice) is a nonprofit organization housed at Brooklyn College and affiliated with the School of Education. For over 20 years, PIP has helped to develop literacy and understanding between people of all cultures through puppetry, storytelling and book arts. In addition to New York City schools, its staff has worked in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Israel and Mexico.

PIP's founder, Dr. Tova Ackerman, has dedicated her life to bringing literacy to both children and adults. A brilliant educator, Dr. Ackerman has created numerous programs that provide school residencies, afterschool workshops, parent literacy programs, teacher training seminars and graduate courses.

When I began my association with PIP, it was Tova who suggested that I turn a not-yet-published book of mine, Flip's Fantastic Journal, into a school program. Tova recognized the potential in Flip and published the first version of FFJ in 1998. With the book as our starting point, Tova and I created a program that connected drawing and writing. The FFJ program was, as Tova predicted, an immediate success in schools throughout the Greater New York Area.

Since the FFJ program began, thousands of young students have written about Flip and drawn the wonderful characters. This success has led to the creation of six more Flip journals, each targeting a different area of the school curriculum. With every book, a new PIP/Flip program was initiated. These programs have proved especially popular and successful with ESL students and students with special needs.

Of course, Puppetry In Practice is known not only for bringing literacy to schools through its teaching artists, but also for its wonderful puppets. These puppets, created by PIP artists from around the world, can be seen at our Brooklyn College Puppet Center (2900 Bedford Avenue, Room 0712, James Hall, Brooklyn College, Brooklyn, NY 11210) and also at the PIP Museum (3131 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11229). I've been fortunate enough to have had several sets of Flip puppets created for my programs. Most of these have been made by my friend from China, Pip's master artist, Xun Ye.

Through the years, I've received countless letters from students, teachers, principals and parents testifying to the effectiveness of our Flip programs. However, the need to reach reluctant writers continues with each new wave of students that enters the school system. With this in mind, PIP continues to develop new and exciting programs (our latest is a Flip animation program). I'm proud of my association with PIP and the work that we've done. The greatest measure of our success has been the many schools that bring us back, time and again.

New York City schools interested in any of PIP's Flip programs and residencies should contact Dr. Tova Ackerman at Puppetry In Practice via or phone 917-620-2917 or visit PIP's website at