One of the perks of in the job description of most Children's Librarians is Summer Reading Programs. As professional librarians, who also are part educators, part entertainers and event coordinators, planning for the "big" summer programs begins well before summer. As a matter of fact, in January most of the programs have been scheduled or at the very least sketched out. If your library is using "One World, One Story" from Collaborative Summer Reading Program, (CSRP), there is so much to do in the way of stories, activities, craft that the list can go on forever. This is a unique opportunity to explore the world with young patrons without going to0 far from home. When starting to plan for Summer Reading programs, three sheets of paper are open in the calendar book to keep a list of books, films, and songs that would go well with the theme. Since Michigan is very dreary right now with snow, cold and ice, films seemed to be a nice place to start the ideas rolling for this summer.
The movies selected for this list are all family friendly. The stories are well told, range from really old black and white movies to animated hits from the 1990's. Why such old films? First, they are oldies but may have been forgotten goodies. Second, it's fun to watch a black and white movie with a child who has no concept of how movies began. It gives them an appreciation for how far technology has come in a short amount of time. Third it is the perfect opportunity to introduce children to timeless classics. Get the DVD ready, these films will help with forgetting that Jack Frost will be hanging around for a couple of months.
!. Thief of Bagdad with Douglas Fairbanks (1924) Yes, it's an oldie. Way before my time at least but Fairbanks does a remarkable job in bringing the Arabian tales to life. Older children may be more inclined to give this movie a try than younger children. Having said that, it may be a good time to bring grandparents into the viewing audience. They can share their memories of old movie theaters and film stars that were big in their day.
2. Heidi with Shirley Temple (1937) It seems that there was nothing that Shirley Temple could not do as a child star. From singing, to dancing to crying on cue. She could make everyone believe that happy endings happen all the time. Even in real life. Based on the book of the same title, this film blends together the story and the beautiful scenery of the Swiss Alps perfectly. It's a sweet film and a nice introduction to Shirley Temple films.
3. Saludos Amigos / Three Caballeros Walt Disney Video Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pedro the little plane travel to South America "Saludos Amigos" (1942) and "The Three Caballeros" (1945). The two movies are available on a single DVD. These films brings together live action, animation, and South American music with clever humor to tickle the funny bones. Not well known, but fun to watch all the same.
4. Around The world In Eighty Days with David Niven (1956) Based on the novel by Jules Verne, this movie takes viewers to exotic locals like Europe, Japan, India and the familiar places like the United States. The premise of this movie is that Phileas Fogg made a bet that he can circle the globe in eighty days. Remember this is in 1872 when technology was not what it is today. It was nearly impossible. Accompanied by his valet, Passepartout, and the wandering Princess Aouda, Fogg races to win the bet. Is he able to do it in 80 days? Only one way to find out!
5. Sound of Music with Julie Andrews (1965) The music in this film is timeless. The story is set during World War II in beautiful Austria, where the Von Trapp family welcome the young Maria into their hearts and home. No matter how old the movie is, it still gets audiences to sing along to "My Favorite Things" and "Do Re Mi".
6. An American Tale (1986) This animated film tells the story of Fivel, a Russian mouse who is separated from his family when they travel to America for a better life. Sound familiar? It should the film captures the fears and joys of coming to America in search of a better life. This film is not a Disney film and it may have inspired the creators of Pixar to believe that not all animation has come form Disney.
7 A Far Off Place with Reese Witherspoon (1993) Two teens face disaster and danger in the African Desert. In the process they learn about their capacity for survival and goodness. The film highlights the beautiful and exotic locales of Zimbabwe and Namibia. As a Disney film, it does have it's predictable moments but it is much to violent for younger audiences. View this film with children in sixth grade and up.
8. Mulan with Ming-Na Wen(1998) Based on a Chinese fable about a young girl disguising herself as a man to help her family and her country. Our heroine, Mulan decides to challenge society's expectations,and proves that women do not always have to be rescued by a man. There are times when men need to be rescued by women. Great film for girls in need of a confidence boost.
9. Madeline with Frances McDormand (1998) If you loved the books as a child you will love the movie! Madeline's school, which is also her home, is being sold! Madeline, in her witty, whimsical ways finds the solution to saving the school. The movie would not be complete without Parisian backdrops. Ah, makes one think of Springtime in Paris!
10. Ratatouille (2007) Pixar hits a home run in this animation which depicts the streets of Paris in extraordinary details, while introducing audiences to wonderfully memorable characters. The adorable French rodent, Remy has a passion for cooking and the belief in himself to follow his dreams. A feel good movie that would have made Julia Child proud.
Any one of these movies are sure to inspire Children Librarians to get started planning for One World, One Story. Remember, any library that choses to show a movie must obtain a Public Performance License. In my humble opinion, it's well worth the expense to show the films. it's movie night at my house tonight, think I'll grab The Sound of Music and sing along with Ms Andrews. That should chase away the winter chills.