Saturday October 15
Happy Birthday, Charlotte’s Web!
2:00 – 3:00 PM, Tūranga, opens a new window
Guest post from Dr Fiona R. Cross - Doctor Spider
I never used to think there could be anything magical about spiders. As a child, all they did was fill my heart with debilitating fear, and then later on, as I grew older and less fearful, I just thought they were boring.
I assumed spiders only hung out in their webs all day, which didn’t seem very exciting. But something very beautiful happened when I started to open my mind and my heart to these little creatures. I began to see tiny worlds that I used to simply walk past, and I began to understand how diverse and amazing spiders really are. I saw opportunities for discovery and adventure, and soon realised that I had to know more about them (www.doctorspider.net). A wonderful thing about spiders is that there is always something new to learn. There are now over 50,000 spider species documented around the world, and this list is ever growing. Christchurch City Libraries has many good books about spiders that are worth checking out, including these ones and books especially for children.
Another good place to start is by thinking and learning about the spiders we relate to the most. Would you like to know which spider you are? Of course you would! We have created a quiz for you – a unique opportunity for you to find out more about the spiders we share our world with. It’s even a chance to learn about superpowers that some spiders have. Some spiders have the best eyesight of any animals their size, some spiders can change their colour, and some spiders can even walk on water.
I actually wrote this quiz during lockdown last year, when I was needing a fun distraction. Like many other things, the spider events we’d planned at the library last year were put on hold while we had to navigate our lives through the COVID quagmire. However, I very quickly realised that, for our events at least, the delay would create something even more magical.
It was only in December 2019 when I read E. B. White’s classic book Charlotte’s Web, for the first time. Admittedly, I hadn’t read it as a child since I had no interest in spiders. Then, as an adult, I assumed it was just a fanciful spider tale that might be of some interest to me one day, but I hadn’t anticipated an extremely well thought out and well researched story about spiders, as well as about true friendship. It touched my heart and, as I began reading more about E. B. White and his amazing life, I realised that October 15th 2022 marked exactly 70 years since Charlotte’s Web was first published. And what better place to celebrate this anniversary than at Tūranga – our incredible treasure trove of learning and discovery! We’re planning a spider party on Saturday 15 October 2pm to 3pm where there will be special spider-themed games and cake, and everyone is invited.
The spider party will conclude a tour we’ve planned around 11 Christchurch City Libraries during the October school holidays (from 3–13 October 2022), called Charlotte’s Web and the Magic of Spiders. Our aim is to spread positive messages about spiders as widely across Christchurch as possible, and we have planned a number of spider-themed activities and stories. In addition, I will share a short talk about my work with spiders, which has taken me to Kenya and beyond.
Besides celebrating the 70th anniversary of Charlotte’s Web, our events fall during Arachtober, the month of the year when arachnologists around the world celebrate their favourite eight-legged friends. This tradition started back in 2007 when a few people began sharing their spider photos on Flickr, but then rapidly expanded across the world and across numerous social media platforms. It’s a wonderful opportunity to share the joy that spiders have brought to our lives, and to also help share the magic of spiders to as many people as possible.
Dr Fiona R. Cross - Doctor Spider
The Magic of Spiders Competition
- Two copies of Simon Pollard’s Why is that spider dancing? (courtesy of Te Papa Press);
- One illustrated copy of Charlotte’s Web (courtesy of Telling Tales);
- One copy of Spiders Worldwide Webs (courtesy of Dr Spider).
Terms and Conditions:
- Competition closes Sunday 23 October.
- Winners will be announced on the Christchurch City Libraries Facebook page, and website as well as Dr Spider’s social media.
- Prize allocation is at the discretion of the Christchurch City Council and Doctor Spider (Dr Fiona Cross)
- All decisions are final and no correspondence will be entered into.
- Entries must have all correct contact details completed on the entry form.
- Prizes are one of two copies of Why is that spider dancing?, one copy of Charlotte’s Web and one copy of Spiders Worldwide Webs.
- There will be two prizes awarded to the 0–7 age group and two prizes awarded to the 8–12 age group.