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 dismembered, buried 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)