Robert Horton, and I taught a mask-making workshop. Everyone
plunged in to the project with
that is, except for one little boy, who hung back uncertainly. I was
surrounded with clamoring kids, but before I could free myself, Robert
had gently drawn the little boy over to the table and the two of them
began working together.
we all lined up and took a picture of our astounding
masks . Afterwards I saw the shy boy sitting on a library couch
with another little boy, their black and blonde heads together, discussing
their masks. Then they made the rounds of the library, proudly showing
off their creations.
days later, one of the librarians sent me this email:
The mask making
workshop at the Rainier Beach library was a great success. All of
the attendees seemed to enjoy the workshop, but, for me, the workshop
seemed particulary powerful for one five year old.
For weeks I had
been trying to connect with this five year old who was a regular at
my library. He usually just sat in the library while his older siblings
used the computers. He was not interested in books and was alternately
withdrawn and disruptive. I tried to offer him books on several occasions,
but he wouldn't even meet my eye much less talk with me about books.
On the Saturday
of the mask-making workshop the five year old was, as usual, sitting
bored in the library, but when I told him about the workshop he agreed
to attend. To make a long story short, it was the first time I saw
him engaged and happy in the library. After the workshop he came to
the reference desk to show me his mask, and told me he was a dragon.
When I asked if he would be interested in books on dragons he said
"sure" and followed me to the shelf.
Again, for the first
time in my experience he was looking at a book in the library. And
he was no longer afraid to approach the reference desk or talk to
librarians. The library is no longer just a place for his older siblings;
the library is now his place