Bellingham Library Kicks Off Summer Reading Program with "Bubblemania"!
Volunteer Brad Swain with Casey Carle, Bubbler Extraordinaire
story & photos by Steven Chisholm, Contributing WriterOn June 24, BHS’s auditorium was alive with the sound of uproarious laughter and cheers as Bellingham’s young readers attended the madcap comedy performance Bubblemania! With the support of the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library, the Massachusetts Library System, the Boston Bruins, and the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, children’s librarian Steven Fowler was able to recruit Casey Carle, bubble extraordinaire, for the night’s event.
With a perfect combination of slapstick comedy, wit, and awe-inspiring visual artistry, Carle was able to captivate the audience while simultaneously teaching them about the science of his craft. He molded bubbles into seemingly impossible shapes, created a decorative ensemble made completely of bubbles for one young girl, and was even successful in encasing a young man in a giant bubble.
Casey Carle has an extensive background in entertainment and bubble science. He graduated with a degree in theater, and he generally enjoys performing for children. “I really enjoyed the broad comedy and physical characterizations that came with doing children’s theater,” said Carle. He later went to clown college, where his slapstick background eventually earned him a role in the Ringling Bros. Show. It was during his time with the circus that Carle mastered his bubble-blowing craft. “The Ringling Bros. Circus has been around for 150 years, and I was told that nothing was new, so I said to myself, ‘there has to be something no one has done before,’ so I developed the first-ever giant bubble routine done in any circus--that I’m aware of,” said Carle. “I realized that I’d found something that I enjoyed doing. The bubbles were colorful and funny and had a lot of character, so I decided I’d do it on the side. It just took off as its own career when I left the circus.” In reference to Carle’s success, he further encouraged kids to “read some books, do some research, and try new things.”
Children’s librarian Steven Fowler originally witnessed Carle perform at Daisy Ingraham Elementary in Westbrook several years ago, which prompted him to reach out to him when he joined the Bellingham Public Library. This year marked Carle’s 4th performance for the town’s young readers. Fowler’s decision to host the age-appropriate performer proved successful in drawing children into a literary atmosphere.
Though the night was mostly reserved for Carle’s performance, the spirit of the event revolved around the library’s summer reading program. The Bellingham Public Library adopted the Collaborative Library Summer Program’s [CLSP’s] national theme, “Every Hero Has a Story.” The CLSP provided the library staff with t-shirts and artwork for the reading activities, and Friendly Neighborhood Comics owner Ernie Pelletier helped out with the event by setting up a booth with several free books and comic books for the children.
For the summer reading program, children are encouraged to come to the library to pick up an activity packet that includes several ways to win cool prizes, including lining up a bingo on a Superhero Bingo Card, completing an 8-hour reading log, or being a hero in the community by completing good deeds for some of Bellingham’s very own heroes. Moreover, Fowler encourages people to attend the library’s weekly event, Bellingham Heroes, where each presentation is made by a different hero of the community, whether it be a police officer, firefighter, or veterinarian.
Having several years of experience in his field, Steven Fowler explained his foolproof method to get children interested in reading. “When kids have an interest in a topic, books are an obvious and easy way for them to learn more about that topic,” said Fowler. “If you find a topic that they enjoy, find a book around the topic rather than a book around the reading level.”
Furthermore, Fowler encourages parents and guardians to read as well. “It’s really important for kids to see their parents reading. If parents want to raise a reader, then they should be readers themselves.” Fortunately, Fowler organized an event that created the perfect atmosphere for this type of family bonding.
For more information on Casey Carle, visit http://www.bubblemania.com/.