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White Oak library comes alive at nighttime

Children, parents enjoy evening of ‘Bedtime Stories’

Anja Huetteman, Kaylee Roedther, Jocelyn Overa and Sophie Menenga take time to smile for the camera during their craft project at Family Reading Night on Thursday, Nov 14.
Anja Huetteman, Kaylee Roedther, Jocelyn Overa and Sophie Menenga take time to smile for the camera during their craft project at Family Reading Night on Thursday, Nov 14.

The White Oak Elementary School library looked enchanted from the outside while the inside felt cozy and intimate.

District 54 Librarian Marnie Garcia hosted Bedtime Stories, the annual Family Reading Night event on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2012.   

Students from District 54 were invited to spend the evening in the library with their parents and siblings celebrating time spent reading together. Everyone was encouraged to wear their PJs to the event.

The enchanted night started as participants walked into the library. Each child who entered the doors received a unique number printed on a golden star, which they were to keep with them throughout the evening. Once the star was in hand, participants were off to find just the right seat to listen to Garcia read two picture books to the crowd.

Once the crowd of parents and children had settled into every available nook of the library, Garcia introduced herself. Of course, the children who attend White Oak Elementary school felt like the already knew Mrs. Garcia. Well … they were WRONG! 

Garcia told the crowd of her younger days, spent in the library at the school where her mother worked.  The librarian at this school took the time to get to know the young Mrs. Garcia, learning her favorite genre of books, her favorite author and even her favorite characters. This particular librarian, whose name was not mentioned, helped to instill the passion Garcia has for books and reading. 

After the heartfelt introduction, the reading began. A silence fell over the enchanted library as the words from “PSSSSSST!  It’s Me … the Bogeyman,” by Barbara Park filled the air. While the title of this book may turn some off, the “Bogeyman” in this book happens to be quite hysterical and truly harmless. 

Children and parents alike were mesmerized as the words of this book rolled off Garcia’s tongue. 

While watching the crowd enjoy the first book, and then the second, Jimmy Zangwow’s “Out-Of-This-World Moon-Pie Adventure,” by Toni DiTerlizzi,  Garcia was hard at work, effortlessly generating a love for picture books in both the young and the old.

Moon Pies … who does not love moon pies?  Jimmy Zangwow LOVES Moon Pies. That is a fact, but he has been forbid by his mother to eat his favorite snack before dinner.  How far will Jimmy go to get his favorite snack without his mother’s help?  The 200 or so guests at Family Reading Night know, but if you were not there, you will have to check this book out to get the answer.

At the conclusion of the first two books, it was craft time. Once all of the guests were busy working on their craft project, numbers could be heard being announced over the loud speaker. The numbers being called were those from the golden stars that were handed out upon entry to the library. Once a person’s number was called, they were to make their way up to one of the smiling volunteers at the front counter. The front counter was filled with books, all kinds of books, picture, chapter, comic, oodles and oodles of books. Each child felt the magic of winning as their unique number was called and they received a free book.

As crafting finished up, and all of the door prizes were handed out, there was one last story to be told. The final bedtime story of the night was titled, “Sweet Dream Pie,” by Audrey Wood. This story is about a pie so sweet and delicious that it is sure to provide one with sweet dreams. 

As quickly as this magical event started, the conclusion was drawing near. Parents packed up their children and headed toward the door.

The time was a bit after 8 p.m., and bedtimes were looming for many of the guests. 

Bedtime stories had been told, but now it was time for a bedtime snack. Moon Pies were handed out to each and every one of the guests at Family Reading Night. 

Garcia was ecstatic at how this enchanted evening turned out.

“This night truly was magical. It was amazing to see the library come alive,”   I feel like things are coming full circle for me.

“I was fortunate to have a librarian look after me and nurture my love for reading, and now I am the one who has the privilege to instill the love of reading into young children as I get to know them.

“I work in a facility that gives me the creative freedom to be a non-traditional librarian and just be me.”

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