Monthly Archives: October 2011

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Teen Librarian Monthly October 2011

You can download the October edition of TLM here: tlm october 2011

Remember Remember the Fifth of November…

After the celebration of All Hallows comes the remembrance of a freedom fighter cut down by a brutal and repressive regime or was it a crazy man with gunpowder trying to destroy the symbols or righteous government?

Whatever it was it will live on in fond memory or infamy…

Burning freedom fighters traitors in effigy and fireworks – what is there not to love about Guy Fawkes Night? The less said about rampant antiCatholicism the better eh what?

The Fifth of November is the perfect time to run a book discussion about Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta, the film was not bad it is just the book is far superior – feel free to disagree that is what book discussions are about.

In the current climate of fear created by the closing and threatened closing of libraries this is the perfect time to introduce a new generation of protesters to their civic duties and rights of protest

If you wanted you could even have an activity – cut out and create your own Guy Fawkes mask: downloadable guy fawkes mask. You can also pick them up for £6 at Forbidden Planet where your average Anonymous protester shops.

Halloweek: Halloween Cosplay

For the manga and anime fans that use the library (and particularly if you have an established manga group) run a Halloween cosplay.

There are a number of gothicy, scary manga series including Rozen Maiden, Rosario Vampire, Hellsing, Reiko the Zombie Shop, Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service, Cat-Eyed Boy, Hell Girl, Zombie Loan.

You can also encourage your manga fans to dress up as Sadako Yamamura the ghostly girl from The Ring movie. “within seven days of watching a normal videotape, you receive a phone call, saying you will die in a horrible and painful way” you could play pass the parcel with the “prize” being a video tape cassette.

Encourage the artistic members of the group to design and create their own manga horror characters. Almost anything that you can do during a standard manga meeting can be adapted for a Halloween special…

Halloweek: BOO!k Discussion

If your space and budget is limited you can fall back on a BOO!k discussion. You can put a Halloween theme on the proceedings by putting whatever snacks you provide for the group into trick or treat bags. You can also put a personalised joke into each of the bags, there are many websites that specialise in Halloween humour.
As a related-craft activity you could show off some Halloween origami skills.

Halloweek: All Hallow's Read

All Hallow’s Read is a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simply that in the week of Hallowe’en, or on the night itself, you give someone a scary book.

Rather than read about it you can watch Mr Gaiman explain it below

This one can be done on a day or over the week, produce horror reading lists, see if you can get signed copies of scary books to give away as prizes – this is easier than you may think with the number of authors on twitter. It may be easier to stick signed book-plates into books as they are easier to post. Ask publishers if they can donate a copy or two or buy them and get them signed.

Anyway All Hallow’s Read is an idea that was dreamt up by Neil Gaiman, his written material can be used for a Hallowe’en event all on its own. Sandman (create your own Merv Pumpkinhead), Neverwhere, American Gods, The Graveyard Book – there is so much creepy goodness is his back list you can go wild.

Halloweek: Día de los Muertos Tuesday 1st & Wednesday 2nd November

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National Holiday. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in connection with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honouring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favourite foods and beverages of the departed and visiting graves with these as gifts.

You can run calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls) design competitions. You can follow the example of Jonathan Koshi and update the idea to pop culture items: & or print out a skull picture and have the young people create their own designs.

To keep the theme spooky you can also read Mexican Folktales to them while they work.

Halloweek: Monday 31st October Hallowe'en

Monday is Halloween so if you run a Teen Group or Chatterbooks group on this day it may be possible to run a pumpkin carving workshop or even a spooky story event – maybe combine the two. Think about running a creative writing event – spooky stories created by the group, or each attendee can suggest the scariest story they know and argue about which one is the scariest.

As I have suggested in previous years making a librarian mask is as simple as taking a photo of your face and printing it out on a sheets of cardboard for the attendees to cut out and wear. The October 2009 edition of Teen Librarian Monthly has a step by step process on how you can make the mask.

The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn

I am a massive Tintin fan, that will come as no surprise to anyone that knows me – and possibly no surprise to anyone else either what with it being a comic book… sorry graphic album.

I was fortunate enough to win tickets to the pre-premiere screening of The Secret of the Unicorn and was completely blown away. I went in to the cinema with a few reservations having seen some stills from the film and was not totally convinced that 3D motion-capture CGI animation was a good idea.

I was wrong, so wrong the film is a joyous adaptation of The Secret of the Unicorn with extra bits from The Crab With The Golden Claws (to introduce Captain Haddock) and extra characters from some of the other books in the series but the Tintin purist in me did not care. The adaptation was made with love, care and attention to detail. It works as an all-ages family-film and there are enough small pieces scattered like Easter eggs throughout the film to delight the obsessive fans such as myself.

I was discussing the film with a friend just after watching and we agreed that there is a wide gulf between the original books and the film but both can be enjoyed on their own merits.

Tintin gets a lot of criticism these days about being racially insensitive (Tintin in the Congo), not having any strong female characters an anything else that people see that may cause offence in the pages of the books. Some of the contentious issues as well as the fantastic illustrations and cracking adventure stories are what makes it so good to talk about in a group, especially with young people.

Amongst the many topics that can be discussed in reading groups are:

  • racial stereotypes most notably in Tintin in the Congo, the early editions of Tintin in America and The Shooting Star;
  • alcoholism – most of the stories that feature Captain Haddock and occasionally Snowy;
  • space exploration Destination Moon & Explorers on the Moon;
  • history – The Blue Lotus covred the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and the subsequent resignation from the League of Nations;
  • politics – Tintin in the Land of the Soviets, Tintin and the Picaros;
  • the slave trade The Red Sea Sharks;
  • drug smuggling – Cigars of the Pharaoh & The Crab with the Golden Claws.
  • The ligne claire style pioneered by Herge may also appeal to readers that enjoy reading comics but are unable to adapt their art styles to manga-like illustration.