TPiB: Wonder Woman Amazon Training Academy for Free Comic Book Day, a guest post by Liz Gotauco
This past weekend, Wonder Woman broke box office records – yay! Today we are excited to share a great Wonder Woman themed program from YA librarian Liz Gotauco.
As a comics reader and ardent Wonder Woman fan, I’ve enjoyed hosting Free Comic Book Day events at libraries for the past five years. But despite my devotion to the fandom, I hadn’t yet actually done a program focused on my favorite superhero. With the first Wonder Woman movie coming out this summer, I knew I had to plan something special to honor Diana. While I am the Teen Services Coordinator at my library, I wanted to host an activity that would work for a wider age range. It fit in well with Free Comic Book Day as both Wonder Woman and DC Superhero Girls had titles available to give away. So the Amazon Training Academy was born.
The Amazon Training Academy worked similarly to many themed programs you’ve probably done before, with patrons taking on challenges inspired by Wonder Woman and her stories. Wonder Woman has a 75+ year history so there was a lot to choose from – maybe too much! So I focused on her most iconic characteristics.
Her strength and agility: In a million-dollar world, the Amazon Training Academy would have been like the set of that ‘90s TV Show American Gladiator, but for me I just picked one of those activities – Gladiator Jousting. If you have a bit of money lying around, you can rent an inflatable jousting unit, with pedestals that competitors stand on and soft jousting sticks to push opponents and a bouncy-house floor. I didn’t have said pile of money, but Google led me to a version a camp had done with gymnast mats and pool noodles. Our middle school leant us the mats and I created large jousting sticks with the pool noodles and duct tape. Shoving your friend with a pool noodle turned out to be a universal amusement. Parents and friends spotted each other and once in a while I had to step in to make sure pairs were evenly matched. But it turned out to be our most popular activity in the Training Academy.
Bullet-proof bracelets: Another activity that we all know goes over well is target practice, whether you’re Katniss shooting an arrow or aiming for a zombie’s head with a Nerf Blaster. Wonder Woman provides a unique spin on this activity with her bullet-proof bracelets. So I borrowed some safety goggles from our maintenance staff, purchased a Nerf blaster with darts, and assembled some goofy oversized silver cuffs out of toilet paper rolls and more duct tape. Pairs stood across the room from each other (to counter-act how fast those darts fly) and the person in cuffs and goggles tried deflecting darts with their wrists.
Lasso of Truth: For this I created a simple ring toss with gold rope hoops and Wonder Woman colored poles. This activity scaled the youngest but could be adapted for older ages. If I did a program like this again, I would love to have a local talent come in to teach rope-throwing, but that seemed like it could be its own program and would take more time and space than the passive activities I was looking to run. But what fun that would be!
Wonder Woman Trivia: Lastly, patrons could test their own truth-seeking skills with a simple True/False trivia board, sharing some of the interesting history behind Wonder Woman and her creators. My assistant created a colorful presentation board with lift-the-flap questions and answers, and it made for good pastime while patrons waited for the jousting to open up or stood in line for their free comic books.
Other ideas I had that didn’t make the cut but might work at your library: a twist on “Two Truths and a Lie” for the Lasso/Truth-telling element, an obstacle course with a Greek theme, creating Diana’s accessories at a make-and-take station, bringing in a local fencing instructor (since the movie has popularized the image of her with a sword and shield), teamwork challenges in the spirit of Amazon kinship, or a screening of the Lynda Carter TV show if you’ve got the right license. Hopefully the new movie will only increase the popularity of Diana and other woman superheroes, so give the Amazon Training Academy a whirl for your next comic book event!
Meet Our Guest Blogger
Liz Gotauco is the Teen Services Coordinator at the Cumberland Public Library in Cumberland, RI. She has worked in children and teen library services for almost ten years. Prior to that, she worked with youth in theatre education with the Rhode Island Youth Theatre. When she’s not at the library, Liz can be found singing with her cover band Overdue!, sewing a new cosplay, baking, or scouting out fashion exhibits at a local museum. You can find her at Goodreads and on Litsy and Twitter @lizgotauco.
About Karen Jensen, MLS
Karen Jensen has been a Teen Services Librarian for almost 30 years. She created TLT in 2011 and is the co-editor of The Whole Library Handbook: Teen Services with Heather Booth (ALA Editions, 2014).
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