Jun 9, 2014

Superstitions and Paranormal Science

This Friday falls on the 13th of the month, commonly believed to be an unlucky day. The assumption that this day is full of evil is steeped in history and myth, dating back to Biblical times. You can read more about the lore surrounding this day on National Geographic's site. The phobia of Friday the 13th is called friggatriskaidekaphobia after the Norse goddess, Frigga, whom Friday is named after, and triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number thirteen. 

The Chicago Tribune listed 13 superstitions for Halloween, but many of them are feared all year long. Live Science uncovered the history of 13 common superstitions and shared them in 2012. You can read the article here. Time Magazine shared a brief history of Friday the 13th, and one of my favorite fun facts: In 1939 citizens of a small town in Indiana attached bells to all the resident black cats so they wouldn't cross paths with them. This seemed to be a successful way to avoid these felines, so they continued this precaution for the next three years. Many people have tried to debunk the myths surrounding Friday the 13th, and one group was formed to do just this. tells us about the popular group the Thirteen Club, which was formed in the 1880's and ran through the 1940's. This group of New Yorkers would meet on the 13th and eat in groups of 13, on a table covered with spilled salt, naturally. 

As an elementary school student, some of my favorite non-fiction sections to explore were the 000s and 100s, home to such wondrous topics as UFOs, ghosts, aliens and witches. To celebrate the week of Friday the 13th, we want to share some books that we think are out of this world.

Alien Alert by Elizabeth Jaffe.  Phonics Comics, 2005.
Beginning readers can join in the graphic novel craze and enjoy three short stories all about aliens. The first story follows an alien band, the Crater Heads, as they explore the world around them to find new sounds to inspire their songs. From staplers to toilets, they try to find the right beat to get the crowd to tap their toes. The bright illustrations and silly plots are sure to entice readers to continue the stories.

Bigfoot and Adaptation (Part of the  Monster Science series) by Terry Collins. Graphic Library, 2011.
This non-fiction series, Monster Science, is represented in graphic novel format and aims to explain scientific principles with fun characters and easy to understand writing. Adaptation is explained using Bigfoot as a model to show how species can change over time. Check out the whole series! 

Witches by Roald Dahl. Puffin, Reprint Edition 2007.
After James's parents pass away, he goes to live with his Norwegian grandmother. She tells James stories about scary witches who like to cast spells to get rid of children. James believes his grandmother is just telling stories, until he comes face to face with a real witch!

Aliens Don't Wear Braces by Debbie Dadey. Scholastic Books, 1993.
After the art teacher disappears amid strange, bright lights, the surprising (and very pale) replacement teacher arrives. The longer she stays, the more objects around Bailey City start mysteriously losing their colors. Even more mysterious, the new art teacher seems to be getting brighter! Can the Bailey School Kids save the city?

Monster's Monster by Patrick McDonnell. Little, Brown, 2012.
Three little monsters, Grouch, Grump, and Gloom 'n Doom, think they are the worst monsters around and they're very proud of it! To put their bickering to a rest, they work together to create an even bigger and badder monster! But their monster isn't so bad after all.


Aliens on Vacation (Book one of the Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast series) by Clete Barrett Smith.  Disney-Hyperion, 2012.
David reluctantly leaves Florida for the summer to stay with his crazy grandma in Washington state. He isn't excited about hanging out in the "Middle of Nowhere", but his attitude changes once he realizes his grandma's Intergalactic Bed and Breakfast is more than it seems.  

Witches: The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer. National Geographic Children's Books, 2011. 
This award-winning work of non-fiction chronicles the events leading up to the Salem witch trials. Two young girls in Salem Village begin twisting and choking, and when a cure can't be found they are pronounced bewitched. 

Don't forget that this is the first official week of our 2014 summer reading program, "Fizz! Boom! Read!". If you or your little one love paranormal topics and science fiction, join us for a special science fiction themed storytime this Friday the 13th! We will share stories of Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and other spooky, fun creatures! All ages are welcome and you will get to leave with a cool craft. Tweens can get together for our Fear Factor event to play gross games and minute to win it challenges. Do you have any Friday the 13th traditions or superstitions?