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Star Wars Day at library teaches more than the force

By MICHELLE JALBERTMay 8, 2019

BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — The force was with Bristol Public Library Saturday as children, their parents and librarians celebrated Star Wars Day.

Children’s librarian Christina Carpino coordinated the activities for the day. Dressed in a Princess Leia Rebel shirt, Carpino directed the kids to move an R2D2 droid through an obstacle course.

“I’m just a big Star Wars fan so I like any excuse to celebrate,” Carpino said. “It’s always a good excuse to get kids into science and reading.”

Carpino explained that part of the focus of the day was to teach children about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Manufacturing (STEM). She added that there are also many great Star Wars books that kids can read.

“It teaches the kids about STEM, electricity,” said Lam Nguyen. “It gives them a head start in the field of STEM.”

His 7-year-old daughter, Helen, said she didn’t like Star Wars but liked to learn about science. Her favorite thing to learn about is electricity.

Star Wars Day was helped by a STEM grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and the Association of Library Services to Children, Carpino said. With the grant, the library was able to purchase the remote controlled droid.

Carpino said the focus on STEM is important.

“I’ve been trying to incorporate the trades into it,” Carpino said.

Whether it was carpentry or electricity, the kids experimented with it all. Some built space ships and droids out of blocks, others made projects with wires, while some Star Wars fans made a light-up lightsaber.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for children to learn different things,” said Susanne Festa, who was making the lightsabers with her two kids, Luca, 3, and Kayleb, 6. Festa added that she liked how the activities were hands-on. “The kids really enjoy coming.”

“The kids love the ability to be creative,” said Jay Schneider, who went to Star Wars Day with his son, Brody. Schneider said his son likes robots and Star Wars.

“He can do stuff with wires here instead of ripping stuff apart at home,” Schneider said.

There were fans of the dark side and the light side at the Star Wars event.

Aliana Chase, 8, came dressed as a stormtrooper. When she was asked who her favorite character was, Aliana replied simply, “all the dark side.”

Aiden Kearney, 7, wore a Darth Vader costume. When asked who his favorite character was, Aiden replied without hesitation, “I like Darth Vader.”

“So far it’s good. It’s cute,” said his mother, Jessica Kearney.

Ivery Johnson, who attended the event with his two children, Blake, 7, and Bailey, 2, said their favorite character is Luke Skywalker.

“It’s been pretty cool to be part of the STEM project,” said Johnson, who made binoculars with his kids.

“It’s an action movie but it’s in space and has cool ships,” said Blake.

The Manross Library also celebrated Star Wars Day. The library had crafts, trivia and a display of all things Star Wars for kids to enjoy.

Online: https://bit.ly/2ViOplc

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Information from: The Bristol Press, http://www.bristolpress.com

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