Throughout November, your Library is holding a reading challenge inspired by the Japanese animator, filmmaker, and renowned storyteller Hayao Miyazaki. Our Miyazaki Month Reading Challenge is for all ages and runs from Wednesday, Nov. 1 – Sunday, Dec. 3.
After registering for Miyazaki Month in Beanstack, you’ll find our recommendation lists with books and graphic novels adapted to or from Miyazaki’s films. We’ve also included titles that share a similar animation style and feel.
Miyazaki’s all hand-drawn work has pushed animation boundaries for over five decades. His animation company, Studio Ghibli, has created classic films like My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, and the Academy Award-winning Spirited Away. Studio Ghibli’s newest movie, The Boy and The Heron, is set to be released in the U.S. on December 8.
Studio Ghibli films have received wide acclaim for many reasons. Miyazaki and his team are deeply committed to creating hand-drawn worlds of intricate detail and breath-taking landscapes, notably without using CGI animation. The characters and storylines are deep and thought-provoking, not cartoony or cliché. Miyazaki’s films explore the full gamut of human experience, from the humorous and hopeful to the dark and tragic.
Young Adult Librarian Kip Polmanteer says, “Studio Ghibli films are always authentic, moving, stunningly-animated creations that have wide appeal across age ranges and around the world. We thought this would be a great time to celebrate Miyazaki’s work because his newest and potentially final animated film is set to be released in December.”
Kip explains that the Library is offering a Miyazaki-inspired reading challenge because of the rising cultural interest, especially among kids and teens, in graphic novels and manga.
“Participants can read whatever they want as part of the challenge,” she says. “But we hope people of all ages feel inspired to explore new books, graphic novels, and even films, and experience the culture surrounding Miyazaki and his works. We’ve shared some reading recommendations in Beanstack for those who are new to the graphic novel genre. And we have most of Studio Ghibli’s films at the Library, if you are inspired to watch.”
Miyazaki Month Events
Along with the reading challenge, we’re holding several events centered around Studio Ghibli’s 2004 classic film, Howl’s Moving Castle. The film is an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones’s 1986 fantasy novel of the same name. Kip says that both the book and movie versions of Howl’s Moving Castle appeal to all ages, and offer a fantastic family-friendly story.
“While there are certainly differences between the novel and the film,” she explains, “both are exciting, heartfelt, and have moments that will have you crying or cackling with your family.”
We’re holding a family book discussion about Howl’s Moving Castle on Monday, Nov. 27 at 6 p.m. in the Library’s Jones Meeting Center. Registration is required here. Free copies of the book are available to the first 10 families who register for the book discussion. Call (423) 434-4458 for more details.
We’re also offering a free screening of Miyazaki’s film adaptation on Saturday, Dec. 2 at 2 p.m. in the Jones Meeting Center. Registration is not required, but space is limited and priority will be given to people who participated in the book discussion. Call (423) 434-4349 for more information.
Additionally, teens ages 12-18 can join a Kozy Kodama-themed Dungeons & Dragons one-shot adventure on Sunday, Nov. 26 at 2 p.m. in the Jones Meeting Center. Registration is required here. No previous D&D experience is needed, and character sheets and supplies will be provided.