Competencies for Librarians Serving Children in Public Libraries

Puppetry – More Than Just a Pretty Face

Over the course of the years and my travels, I’ve come across a range of ways to showcase the magic of stories. One of those ways is through the magic of puppetry.  

My childhood is filled with the memories of my darling red fox hand puppet—made from beautiful orange-red felted wool, with a white felted-wool fabric chest. Its wool-covered head was filled with paper mache (and probably mischievous ideas)! When I was a little older, I received a Kukla, Fran and Ollie cardboard toy theatre. There were many nights on the farm where my siblings and I flipped a coin to see who would “sneak” downstairs for a flashlight, and my older sister would put on a puppet show for us. Most of us have had fun with a creating a shadow puppet from our hand, a sock puppet, or some form of a ticklebug puppet.

A marionette hanging in the shadows among other puppetry items
Photo courtesy of guest blogger

In my travels, I explored some of the marionette shops in Prague, Czech Republic, a country known for their puppetry. In an antique store in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I found rather large marionettes eerily hanging from the store’s cavernous ceiling. I’ve seen Peter and the Wolf in Berlin, Germany, where the set design was built up from the stage floor, so puppeteers could move puppets around the stage without being seen. I loved the way this theater educated its audience. Before the performance, the staff came out and explained Peter and the Wolf. Then we watched the performance, and lastly, we re-enacted the story, with audience members playing all the roles!

Part of the magic of puppetry, of course, is lighting, and The Adventures of Prince Achmed is a wonderful example of the use of shadow puppetry and film. The intricate shapes make a striking contrast in this form of media. I never stop learning about the ways puppets and puppetry can be used, including using furry hand puppets as reading buddies in my library. There are many other types of puppetry, including object puppetry—using simple items to make puppets. In my case, I’ve discovered pool noodle puppetry! I can’t wait to see what I can do to create magic with pool noodles. Most importantly, I look forward to this new way to share another magical story with my patrons.

(Photo courtesy of guest blogger)

Our guest blogger today is Brenda Hahn. A Florida transplant, Ms. Hahn’s experiences include: U.S. public schools, public libraries and both U.S. and International IB schools. Brenda’s vivid imagination keeps her future-ready library full of fun and applicable 21st Century life-long learning skills. Follow Brenda on Twitter: @brendamhahn.

Please note that as a guest post, the views expressed here do not represent the official position of ALA or ALSC.

If you’d like to write a guest post for the ALSC Blog, please contact Mary Voors, ALSC Blog manager, at


This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: III. Programming Skills and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development.

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