You may remove your gloves… that is as far as I got! @bailee.the.librarian this is for you. (I tried) LibrarianTikTok. #Roalddahl
(By Miss Sherry)
I love Roald Dahl’s The Witches. When I was a child, my mother did not allow us to read books about witches. We were not allowed to read books with witches in them at all. My mother even forbid, what is now one of my favorite books: The Lion,The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. Witches were not allowed in our home. (Enter my Grandfather and a trip to the Library.)
I was at my Grandparents for the Summer and my Grandpa took us to get some books. Just up the road from Shavers Grocery Store was a Library, The McCall Public Library. When you entered Shavers you went down this ramp and it led you to the Bakery and you had free cookies right there on the counter. Beware though my grandpa told us, the woman behind the counter was a witch. (Insert Grandpa’s fake evil cackle.) After a trip to the grocery store we journeyed to the Library. There it was The Witches. Quentin Blake’s artwork was mesmerizing for me. My grandfather let me check out, The Witches.
“In fairy-tales, witches always wear silly black hats and black cloaks, and they ride on broomsticks. But this is not a fairy-tale. This is about REAL WITCHES. The most important thing you should know about REAL WITCHES is this. Listen very carefully. Never forget what is coming next.” ― Roald Dahl, The Witches
― And so it began… My imagination developed and I fell in love with reading. I went on to read so many other books by Roald Dahl. I loved Danny The Champion Of The World, Charlie and The Chocolate Factory and so many others. My summer was full of reading and me begging to go to the Library.
I did meet the Baker as an adult. I took a summer job as a donut gal in the mornings, one summer in college. One day, I told my favorite baker the story. How about 10 years earlier we had come in to Shavers and my grandpa told me she was a witch. She laughed and said, “He wasn’t wrong. ” As she gave me a little wink and walked away, I recalled thinking all day “is she really a witch?” Still to this day, I wonder.
My mom, Grandma Library, still does not like witches. She also still does not like books with witches, but she also loves the joys of reading and realizes the importance of letting us choose what we read. If you want to foster a love of reading in your child, one of the worst things you can do is steer them away from what they want to read and toward things they aren’t interested in. If you do that, says Justin Azevedo, youth materials selector at the Sacramento Public Library and co-chair of the American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, “they grow up thinking they don’t like to read.” Grandma Library also loves the poetic joy, and wild imagination of Roald Dahl. She doesn’t like witches, but one of her favorite’s now is also The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. We encourage you as parents to read a long with your children. Find the joy together.
Encourage your student to read. Find books that inspire them. It may be a wildly imaginative book like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory or a tale that feels like reality, like The Witches. It may also be simply a book that has spectacular art on the cover like that of Quentin Blake for The Witches. Whatever, the reason for your student choosing to read, encourage it. They may learn from Roald Dahl’s books about his own life like Going Solo.
We spent the day (Monday October 17th) talking about stereotypes. The students stereotyped what witches looked like before reading the book and attributes they now may stereotype to witches. We stereotyped what bullies looked like and then talked about bullies and how they sometimes look different than we think they are going to look. We also wrote recipes. “Stereotypical” recipes for potions. Frog’s hair and worm warts, etc… Then we talked about what real-life potions may look like. Milkshake making then occurred and there may or may not have been magic. Miss Sherry was highly disappointed when the potion did not turn them in to little mice. It was also announced that Miss Sherry in fact is not a real witch.
We started reading The Witches The second week of October and will end this Wednesday with a Witch Party. Which Witch will you be on Wednesday? One wearing a pointed hat, one with a broom, or perhaps one that looks very normal. Which Witch will you be?