By Jason Ginter
Oct. 5, 2016
The sound of Roald Dahl’s ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ echoed quietly in the Confederation Centre’s public library on Sept. 13.
Readers of various ages sat at computers and desks around the table, oblivious to the story being told in a far corner.
A crowd of children and a few parents were the only audience for the reading of Dahl’s book.
The children were gathered there to celebrate what would have been Dahl’s 100th birthday.
The Charlottetown Children’s Library held a Roald Dahl day to commemorate the author. It began with a reading of a favoured children’s book, Enormous Crocodile, followed by a crafts session inspired by several books.
Joseph Jabbour, 8, attended the event. He was quite interested in the story, responding to the mostly rhetorical questions the librarian asked, while other children remained silent.
His confidence may be because he had attended other library events in the past.
“I come here a lot,” he said.
Dahl may be one of Jabbour’s preferred authors, but is not the favourite. When asked what his favourite book was, Jabbour responded instantly, “Anything by Robert Munsch.”
Though he came for the Dahl reading this week, Jabbour said he prefers “the toy aisle” of the library.
Perhaps due to this, Jabbour particularly enjoyed the crafts section of the event. He made a paper fox, naming it “Zombie, because it’s dead.”
Jabbour’s mother, Lezlee, stayed for the duration of the event.
It’s important for children to start reading early on, she said.
“It’s essential for everything,” she said.
“For example, to advance to the next level in videogames, he needs to read,” she said, relating reading to a topic Joseph might prefer.
Lezlee reads often to Joseph, just as her mother did for her as a child. She takes him to library events often because he enjoys reading more with others.
“It gets his interest peaked, reading in a group.”
Lezlee doesn’t read much except when reading to Joseph.
Jennifer Howard, a member of the library staff, hosts many of the library events for children.
She herself wanted to be a Roald Dahl character when she was younger.
“I always wanted to be Matilda, but without the horrible parents.”
The events are a good way to encourage reading at a young age, she says.
“It sets them up for school, and encourage a lifelong love of reading.”
Even after school starts, the library has a place for children, Howard said.
“We reach out to schools and parents.”
Dahl was a famous author, poet, screenwriter, and less commonly known, a pilot. He is best remembered for his book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Dahl died Nov. 23, 1990, at 74.
The library hosts other events, such as Dot Day, earlier in the year, as well as various poetry events. Dot Day is an international day to celebrate creativity from all ages. It comes from the book The Dot, by Peter Reynolds, in which a teacher encourages a student to have faith in her abilities, all beginning with a dot.
The events at the library are geared towards all ages, with several minor events each week.