Chelsea Library were delighted to welcome Wafa Tarnowska to the newly refurbished children’s library on Saturday 29 June.
Wafa was entranced by both the library and the welcome she received. She was here to read from her new translation of some of the stories from The Arabian Nights. The children themselves sat entranced as Wafa took them on a magic carpet ride to the Orient.
After a short introduction as to the origins of the stories, how they were collected from many countries, the life or death reason for their telling and of the first european translation into french three hundred years ago.Were there really one thousand and one tales?
Wafa, with much expression, began – our journey focused on the strong women characters which her own grandmother in the Lebanon had told her about.
We took off with ‘The Diamond Anklet’, which had echoes of the western fable ‘Cinderella’, the children were attentive with the promise of a follow-up quiz offering a large edition of her book as a prize for the winner.
The magic of eastern promise thrilled our listeners. A skilled story-teller she weaved in history and the traditional into the magic. She explained to the children Arabic words such as jjinn which is here translated as genie, at the same time keeping pace with the tale.
The children, and grown ups, wanted more, and Wafa weaved straight into the follow-up tale , which gives an unexpected twist to the traditional western fairy tale. The quiz worked well and Wafa was able to go amongst the children and explain and help them with the questions.
A winner was declared but everyone left feeling they had won a moment away from London – a trip through the window and into a land a thousand and one nights away.
Welcome to our June blog post from our three libraries in the North.
Notting Hill Gate Library
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The Notting Hill Gate Library Reading Group met to discuss The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. As usual the discussion was lively and vibrant with opinions bouncing across the table.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a monologue by Changez, a young Pakistani boy telling his life story to an American stranger in a café in Lahore. Changez used to live in America and is reporting why he has come to live back in Pakistan, in doing so he highlights the post 9/11 tensions. Changez went to America as a student to study at Princeton University, he lands a job with a prestigious consultancy firm and falls in love with an American girl, everything changes for Changez after 9/11 when his dream becomes a nightmare.
The group had different opinions about what the book was actually about. Some said it was about a man finding his identity, some said it was about the after effects of 9/11 and some said it was about a man going against America, but what we all agreed was, it was powerfully written and Changez’s story was deeply touching. We covered a range of discussions from religion, terrorism, capitalism, identity crises, the American dream and culture.
The story is full of intrigue, suspense and tension and it’s where we are left to fill in the blanks and the ambiguous ending that made it an exceptional book to discuss.
Lucky for the Notting Hill Gate Reading Group, the Reluctant Fundamentalist was then released in cinemas on 10th May, so of course we had to go and see it! We enjoyed the movie as much as we enjoyed the book and thought it was a great idea to have a comparative discussion. We were of course annoyed about some of the cuts from the book but we thought it still kept the essence of the story and it did justice for the book. We are very enthusiastic about linking future films with books.
Fancy a mystery?
To celebrate Crime Writers Month, we have decide to make things a little more exciting at Notting Hill Gate, choose a mysterious book from our display if you dare…
National Crime Writing Month is an initiative of the Crime Writers’ Association. Formerly known as Crime Writing Week, it was launched in 2010 with 50 events up and down the UK. In 2012, due to the popularity of the event, it was increased to a month. It gives readers the opportunity to explore the latest and best crime writing, as well as to discover (or rediscover) many classic writers. At Notting Hill Gate we have a vast collection of books by the authors of the Crime Writing Panel and by other authors associated with Crime Writing Week.
Senior Customer Services Assistant, Notting Hill Gate Library
North Kensington Library
Sunshine in the Children’s Library
Don’t you think the sun is bright?
I wonder where it goes at night?
Does it sleep or does it hide?
Or is the moon its other side?
Does it hide behind the hills?
Late at night as outside chills?
Do you think it needs to rest?
From all that warming it does best?
On a gloomy and rainy Thursday afternoon we brought some sunshine to North Kensington Children’s Library by reading a poem about the sun, written by Gareth Lancaster and making the sun for our half term story and craft session. Children enjoyed tracing their palms on coloured paper, cutting traced fingers and sticking them on the back of paper plates. That is how we created the sun and now our display in children’s library looks bright and sunny.
Senior Customer Services Assistant, North Kensington Library
National Bookstart Week
We are looking forward to celebrating National Bookstart Week here at Kensal Library and will be having a special baby rhyme time on Friday 28 June at 10.30 to 11.00 am with stories, songs and a craft tying in with Bookstart’s theme of fairytales.
There’s more information about National Bookstart Week on the Bookstart website.
Crime at Kensal
We currently have a crime fiction display at Kensal Library to promote National Crime Writing Month. We have included staff recommendations and the display has proved to be quite popular.