Edgar Allan Poe for children

Zack squeezes the Tell-Tale Heart during our Poe-themed obstacle course.

Zack squeezes the Tell-Tale Heart during our Poe-themed obstacle course.

As we may have mentioned once or twice already, Mentor Library has dedicated the month of July to Edgar Allan Poe. All month, we’ve been hosting Know Poe events: citywide book clubs, free film festivals, scary video contests; and we still have more to come.

However, admittedly, a lot of our Know Poe programs have been for adults and teens. After all, with all the people getting dismemberedburied or burnt alive, it’s difficult to design appropriate Poe programming for children.

But Mentor Public Library is for the whole family, so we took it upon ourselves to create programs that would introduce children to Poe without traumatizing them.

Peyton and her mom, Theresa, sort out some Poe codes during our cryptography program at Headlands.

Peyton and her mom, Theresa, sort out some Poe codes during our cryptography program at Headlands.

For example, we held a program for kids about Poe’s love of cryptography last Saturday at our Headlands Branch.

Cryptography, in case you haven’t heard of it, is secret writing. Or, rather, it’s using codes and rubrics to hide secrets in plain sight. Poe was fascinated by cryptography and hid all sorts of secret messages in his prose and poetry. For example, he hid the name of his friend Sarah Anna Lewis in his poem “An Enigma.”

On Saturday, the kids used one of Poe’s own rubrics to crack codes and learn secret messages.

Erin came dressed in costume for our life-sized, Poe-inspired game of Clue.

Erin came dressed in costume for our life-sized, Poe-inspired game of Clue.

Then this week, we had a special life-sized version of Clue in which we transformed the Garfield Room into an enormous game board. Then we substituted Colonel Mustard and company with characters, places and demises from Poe stories.

Some people even showed up in costume.

Elizabeth hides in the House of Usher.

Elizabeth hides in the House of Usher.

Just yesterday, we unveiled a special obstacle course where all 10 obstacles come from Poe stories. Kids had to dodge The Pendulum, escape The House of Usher, break The Gold-Bug’s code and even make their own mask for a masquerade.

For more photos from the obstacle course, check out Mentor Library’s Facebook page.

And we’re not done yet.

On July 22, kids can use their sleuthing skills to solve a mystery at our Mentor-on-the-Lake Branch. After all, Poe did invent the detective genre, as well as horror.

(By the way, I know it’s not for children but we’re hosting a special horror writing workshop for teens on on Saturday at our Main Branch. It’s a fun opportunity for young writers to hone their crafts.)

You can sign up for any and all of these Know Poe events on Mentor Public Library’s website.

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