Monday, February 7, 2011

Oh, The Places You'll Go

When we moved to Washington DC in 2004, one of the first things I did was find where our local library was.  It happened to be a short walk from our condo on Connecticut, and between unpacking and figuring out where to apply for a teaching job, I spent my time walking to the Tenleytown-Friendship Library, or Politics and Prose.

The first book I checked out from this library was Heartbeat by Sharon Creech.  I sat in the Starbucks across the street and wrote down notes as I read.  I wrote down quotes I liked as well as a few sketches for ideas of writing one of those "weblogs" I'd heard about at the Festival of Faith and Writing.

I wasn't able to visit the library for too much longer because it closed, but it re-opened this Saturday and it seemed important to take the H's to one of the first places I went to when we moved. 

Plus, Erica Perl was there.
Here she is reading from Ninety - Three in My Family.  She puts on a different hat for each story of hers that she reads (the most impressive is the hat from Chicken Butt).  We read this book a lot last year as Hadley loves to count and loves animals.  However, what I didn't know about this story is that it's best when it's sung. 
The story is hysterical by itself, but to hear it sung adds so much, and it was a reminder of the importance of reading stories in different voices, or singing, or even using puppets and props.  The children get into the story which is a benefit, but I think they understand the story more as well.

Hadley knew that we might hear the story Dotty, but here's her expression when I told her we might get to hear Chicken Butt:
I know I'm supposed to try and teach Hadley that the word "butt," or anything having to do with said word is not humorous.  But I come from a long line of butt joke loving folk, and it's simply against my nature.  To tell Hadley and Harper there is no humor in the word "butt" would be turning my back against my kinfolk.  So I took them to the lady who also seems to find humor in this word, as well as the fact that wearing a knitted chicken butt on her head is truly hysterical.

Jesse was taking pictures on Saturday, and didn't get a shot of the chicken butt hat, however, he did get this one:

Before we got to hear the read-alouds, we had a chance to explore the library a bit.  The girls loved the fun chairs and the tables to read books, do puzzles, and color.

Going to the Tenleytown Library was a special treat for all of us, but probably mostly for me.  I don't think I have many profound words to say about the importance of libraries except that when I'm in one, I'm happy.  It reminds me of being in Kindergarten again with all those possibilities.  Last week, after having a surprise root canal, the first thing I did after being dismissed from the dentist was go to the library.  It wasn't on my list of things to do, but walking through the aisles and breathing in the pages of books is a great anecdote to having the taste of novacaine in my mouth.  I checked out several "how to make your own jewelry" books. They've all since been returned, because, who am I kidding?  I'll end up in the ER if I try and make my own jewelry. 

Oh, but the possibilities in a library!

And to hear Erica Perl read from her stories, and share that with my girls is a big deal to me, too.  Hers was one of the first classes I took at The Writer's Center in Bethesda.  I was in my first trimester with Harper, and for awhile we were pretty sure I was miscarrying.  I was scared, and sick, and exhausted, but I wrote a little story about a girl who loved maps and I got to share it with the class.  That was scary and exhilirating, but having a chance to write and share, and talk about words took my mind off of being pregnant for awhile. C.S. Lewis wrote, "....and whenever you are fed up with life, start writing: ink is the great cure for all human ills, as I have found out long ago."  I am thankful that I had a chance to learn from a real author who creates characters like Dotty, and Bernice the Hippo, and a stockboy with the nickname "The Nail"

Plus, we've added to our growing list of butt jokes.


  1. Okay, this actually made me laugh out loud. Not only does my family think the word butt is funny, but given that I have two boys, farting is now the funniest thing in the world. And, when I try to calm them down, what prophecy does my hubby speak?? "The day when farts are no longer funny is a day that I'm ready for my grave." LOL!

  2. I have been following your blog for a couple of weeks, so I was thrilled - and surprised - to see this post! I'm the children's librarian at Tenleytown. I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit!

  3. Great story, Callie! I love libraries too - the smell, the quiet. And to imagine it's all FREE (until you have late dues which seem to be a common occurrence for me).