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At the library, we love connecting readers with great stories, but we want to do more than bring books to you. We want to bring books to life. Harris County Public Library presents weekly storytimes, monthly book clubs, and other book related programs that bring stories off of the page, giving us the opportunity to interact with them. And now, virtual programs with take-home kits allow participants to get in on all of the fun, while staying safe.

This year, La Porte Branch Library is celebrating the spring season with a fun program that brings the magic of Jack and the Beanstalk right into your home, through a fun new Facebook video and a take-home kit that gives you the opportunity to try out growing your own magic jellybeans. So, how exactly did we bring this larger than life story into the real world? We started by setting the scene, and building our own beanstalk, complete with clouds and a giant.

Clouds were easy to create, by hot-gluing fluffy Poly-fil to small cardboard boxes, that were then hung from the ceiling, using clear filament that created the illusion of floating. Cotton would have worked just as well, but as you can see, we had plenty of this stuffing on hand. We tried out many different types of leaves, using our Silhouette machine to cut out leaf shapes, and then folding and creasing them by hand to make them look more realistic. We even added in plastic leaves from old artificial plants. We made the giant's head by first drawing it on poster board and then adding 3-D elements, including construction paper and brightly colored yarn, that helped to bring his face to life.

Building the Beanstalk

The realistic boot was built from cardboard boxes and tubes, which were wrapped in masking tape, covered with homemade paper clay, and then painted to look like a real boot. Once it was hung from the ceiling, you could see that the giant was getting ready to climb down to earth. The beanstalk itself was the biggest prop to make. We scrunched the green paper together to give it more texture, and then twisted it and wrapped in around the column, securing it with hot glue, and adding in the leaves and twisted brown paper vines to give it even more dimension.

Building the Beanstalk

Thinking of trying this at home? Don't get discouraged if everything doesn't come together the first time. Many of our decorations were redesigned throughout the process, including the beanstalk which began as a column wrapped in plain green paper, which we then used as a foundation for what became an epic indoor beanstalk, ready for an epic tale. Watch the full story play out, in Jack and the Magic Jellybeans.

If you 're looking for more amazing ways to connect with stories, make sure to check out our events calendar. You can filter the calendar to show only adult literacy or early literacy programs, as well as programs presented by your local branch. Our online book clubs feature lively discussions and our virtual storytimes are available on Facebook, 24/7. We hope to see you at our next virtual program! 

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