Any day when the library is open and school is out of session is a day we know we’re going to have a library full of children. On Election Day, on Veteran’s Day, on the day after Christmas and today, the day after Thanksgiving, in addition to extra programming, our library usually shows at least one movie in our Community Room, which seats about 175 people, movie-theater style. Parents are happy to have somewhere free to take their children where they’ll be entertained for a few hours, and kids are happy because they’re out of school and watching a good movie. And it’s a good idea to whip up a display with books that match the theme or story of the movie while they’re watching it – those books always fly out of the building when the movie is over. Here are some of our go-to movies:
The remastered, English-dubbed Miyazaki films are a great way to entertain kids and introduce them to an extremely talented animator they might not know. Movies like The Secret World of Arrietty, which is based on Mary Norton’s The Borrowers (my review here) always go over well. Who doesn’t love a story about tiny people who live adorably in the walls of a great old house? My Neighbor Totoro is also an excellent choice for a children or family film day. The tale of two sisters who move in next door to a giant, strange, and friendly creature introduces kids to Japanese myths wrapped in a fun story. Any books you have of Japanese folklore or legends would go well with Totoro.
Kids loves animals, and any movie that stars a plucky, cute animal just trying to make it in the world and/or acting like man’s best friend is a surefire hit. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale, stars Richard Gere as the owner of an extremely devoted dog. It’s based on a book which circulated widely after we showed the movie. We were worried the movie was too sad for children, but everyone loves to cry over a dog movie, so the viewing was a success! Another animal movie we love (but is filled with PG violence) is A Far Off Place, the 1993 movie starring Reese Witherspoon. It takes place on an African wildlife preserve and then in the African desert, and it’s a showstopper, but better suited for older children and tweens.
And of course, anything Disney! You will always get a crowd when you’re showing a classic Disney movie. When they come out of the vault, we buy an extra copy to add to our viewing collection, and movies like Lady and the Tramp, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and the Aristocats have all been hits. Your folk and fairy tale books pair well with Disney movies.
This afternoon at 2 we’re showing Pixar’s latest, Brave, which I absolutely loved. What movies do you like to show at your library?