Sometimes Challenger K8 library media specialist Debbye Warrell likes to bring books to life and she dresses herself and her library for the parts.
Cindi Sierak, mother of fifth-grader Scott Sierak, has spent a lot of time recently perched on a ladder changing Warrell's wall into this year's theme: "Imagination, where do we go from here?" She painted an entire corner into the setting for Avatar. She painted another into a Star Wars scene. Rapunzel's castle is next.
At the far side of the media center, Warrell has a little wooden house with a door and windows, trimmed in white. This will be home to the three little pigs. Warrell has her pig costume. She has collected 40 blankets for when she presents The Princess and the Pea. She intends to be blue when she covers Avatar.
Warrell has been spinning her stories around a theme for years now. For the first two that she did this, the theme was Pirates of the Caribbean. "I was Mrs. Jack Sparrow," she said.
During the past two years, the media center looked like it had readers from infinity and beyond. Hanging from the ceiling were spacecraft models of all kinds. Some remain in the Star Wars area.
Warrell will begin the year with fairy tales acting out Goldilocks, Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs. "I get to play all the characters," she said. "I just change the headdresses. My favorite part is when I get to be the wolf." In her opinion the wolf was framed. She will give the pigs' and the wolf's points of view.
"I don't read the story to the kids, I act it out," Warrell said.
Legends she will discuss will include Wild Bill Hickok and Paul Bunyan. "We talk about how these stories came about."
Later in the year, after the holidays, she said, "We're going into the Star Wars theme. I get to dress like a storm trooper," she said.
"Avatar will be coming along right about Earth Week," she said. The people of Avatar, she explained, thought the Earth and everything are intertwined and she wants to use the movie to emphasize care of the Earth. "And I will be Neytiri."
"I believe the library is the heart of the school," she said. "Sometimes to get kids interested in books, we have to bring the books to life."
Warrell wants the children to appreciate the book in a world of technology. "I want to teach these kids that reading, technology and the library are all tied together."