The Memorial Library got involved in this summer’s legendary adventure, the Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge–Mythical Maze, held in conjunction with local libraries around the country. For the past three weeks we regaled the tales of some extraordinary Americans and their folkloric myths and legends, meeting some truly wonderful characters and creatures along the way.
In our first event, ‘Catching Dreams with Pocahontas’, we told the story of the Powhatan Princess, Pocahontas. Like many Americans to this day, Pocahontas came to live in England and more specifically, in Heacham in Norfolk. After telling visitors about her story, we invited them to make DreamCatchers. Some Native American tribes believe that a DreamCatcher can change a person’s dreams. It is said that only good dreams are allowed to filter through the webs of the dreamcatcher as bad dreams get trapped in the net. Good dreams are then able to pass through and slide down the feathers to the sleeper. We learned more about DreamCatchers from Becky Ray McCain’s picture book, Grandmother’s Dream Catcher, a story of a Chippewa Grandmother who teaches her granddaughter how to make DreamCatchers in an attempt to cure her granddaughter of her bad dreams.
We were all about dragons and legends from China in our second event, ‘Dragons, Fortunes and Chinese Legends’ where we heard stories from Grace Lin’s chapter book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. Grace Lin is an American author who gathers her inspiration from the Chinese legends and folklore she heard as a child. The book is about a young girl named Minli, who lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents in the valley of Fruitless Mountain. In the evenings her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon who has the ability to change people’s fortune. In an attempt to change her family’s fortune Minli goes in search of the Old Man of the Moon where she meets an unlikely companion, Dragon, who came to life from a painting drawn from a special inkstone. In the true spirit of the story, young readers were invited to paint their own dragons in hopes that it too might come to life. If you’re interested in more Grace Lin stories check out her picture book, The Red Thread, available for reservation from the Norfolk County Library.
In our third and final event, participants were invited to hear the Legend of Sleepy Hollow. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” is a short story by American author Washington Irving. It takes place in the countryside in a place called Tarrytown, New York during the 1700s. In Tarrytown there is a small secluded valley called Sleepy Hollow. The valley of Sleepy Hollow is known for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere and many of the local residents of Tarrytown often tell ghost stories about Sleepy Hollow, the most famous one of course is the story of the Headless Horseman, said to be the ghost of a soldier who lost his head during battle and who rides to the scene of battle every night to find his head. After the story, the young readers were invited to create their very own legend in a writing exercise that emphasised the importance of character development, setting, problem and story resolution. Readers were able to organise their creative thoughts by designing a story flipbook which captured their own spooky tales. During our story share we heard some original stories and some adaptations of local legends, including one about the Black Dog of Bungay.
We’d like to thank all of the participants who came along to our events. Thanks for being great listeners, for producing some stunning art work and for sharing some wonderfully fanciful stories. A big thanks to all library staff and volunteers who helped with the event and to all the families and friends who also got involved. These events would not be possible without your interest and commitment. Please know that any and all books that were on display during these events at the Memorial Library are now available for issue and can be found and reserved using the catalog here. For the books specifically used by the events, click on the hyperlinks to reserve your copy or stop by the Memorial Library today!
For more information about the Summer Reading Challenge and events at your local libraries please see this website.http://summerreadingchallenge.org.uk