Thursday, 15 September 2016
Poetry Friday,sm

Our good friend Michelle Heidenrich Barnes is hosting Poetry Friday this week. You’ll find all of the links at her blog, Today’s Little Ditty.

We are having a big celebration at the Shovan house this weekend, Poetry Friday friends. After a year of planning, hard-work, painting, and poetry-writing, our Little Free Library is finally open for visitors!

I don’t know why dragons have proliferated in our front yard. We have a dragon whirligig. His name is Clyde and he’s riding a bicycle. We have a napping dragon. That’s Kip — he’s asleep in an orange hammock. And there’s a blue dragon on a flag who needs a name.

So it only made sense to go with a dragon theme for our Little Free Library. (If you’d like to learn more about Little Free Libraries, stop by the website. )

Our library dragon is named for a fire demon from the book Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones. Both the book and the Miyazaki movie are family favorites. Here’s the movie trailer, which makes me want to watch the movie right now. I love, love, love this film. So much so that my teen and I watched it in Japanese, just to see if the experience was different.

The library was a group project. Mr. S did all of the carpentry. The resident teen, Miss Jay, designed and painted the panels. And I wrote the poem and organized the books.

Poem? Of course! A library dragon must have a poem — and a cup of hot cocoa to enjoy with his books.

img_20160904_102033A Message from Calcifer
By Laura Shovan (with help from the dragon)

I am a library dragon.
Don’t be afraid of my looks.
My tail’s long and stunning,
My eyes green and cunning,
But I am a lover of books.

I am a library dragon.
My treasure, I’m happy to share.
My hoard has no gold,
But if you are bold,
You may borrow a book from my lair.


Our library will stock children’s and young adult books, picture books through YA. We have a lot of children and dog walkers in our neighborhood — Brampton Hills in Ellicott City, MD, so we’re hoping people will make use of it.

Calcifer’s Little Free Library has its own Facebook page. (Check it out or join here.) And we plan to add an Instagram account soon. If you live in Central Maryland, come see us this Sunday. We’re having a grand opening read-along and picnic from 11-1, right in the front yard.

Here is a gallery of library photos, so you can see the full design. One of the coolest features, which you can’t see here, is that the library is painted GOLD on the inside. Why? Because books are a treasure.

img_20160911_153347978_hdr img_20160911_153312344 img_20160911_143439290_hdr-1 img_20160904_102138

20 responses to “Introducing: Calcifer the Library Dragon”

  1. Ramona says:

    I absolutely love the Little Free Libraries and have several I visit on my walks. So fun that yours stays with the dragon theme, complete with a poem to entice readers.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Thanks, Ramona. Our is the first in our neighborhood, but I think the third in our zip code. There’s one in a nearby park stewarded by a group of girl scouts. I’ll have to stop by.

  2. Tabatha says:

    Wow, what a magnificent team-effort and labor of love! The poem is perfect, and I <3 that it is painted gold on the inside.

  3. Irene Latham says:

    Books ARE a treasure, and so are you and Calcifer! I love the dragon theme — might be my favorite LFL yet! Awesome. xo

  4. Joy Acey says:

    Please show us pictures of Clyde and Kip. I love your library and your poem. Thanks for the info and the poem as I’ve been thinking of setting up my own little free library but wasn’t sure what to do about all our rain.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Great suggestion! I will do that as soon as I set up our LFL Instagram page. Hmm — that would be a good question for the LFL stewards. I know you don’t have to use the kit. There are many libraries made out of unusual (waterproof?) materials.

  5. How cool!!! I hope Calcifer has many young visitors hungry for books. His poem (with your help) is most inviting! 🙂 So was the experience of watching Howl’s Moving Castle in Japanese different??? Wish I could be at your dragon-warming party.

  6. jama says:

    Hooray for Calcifer and his new library! This is just too cool. What beautiful work to put this all together. I hope you’ll keep us updated on how it goes. Meanwhile, have fun at the grand opening party on Sunday!

  7. I love your little free library! And Howl’s Moving Castle is both a favorite book and a favorite movie. They are quite different from each other, but both are divine. I love your decorations.

  8. Donna Smith says:

    I have a rowboat shaped Little Library ready to install when we get to Gull Haven, so I guess this spring will be its debut! Hmmm. Hadn’t thought of naming it, but since it is a Gull Haven house… Little Gull Hull Library? These libraries are wonderful additions to neighborhoods. It’s great that you have yours up and running with the dragons! Gold! What a great idea!

  9. jone says:

    I love this… the dragon poem is perfect. I would love to have a little free library in our condo complex.

  10. What a unique and wonderful little library! I love the way that each little free library is different, they add so much life and colour to a community.

  11. Sally Murphy says:

    Wow. I love LFLs and yours is extra special. Hope it gets lots of visitors.

  12. Diane Mayr says:

    I’ve been following your LFL unveiling through FB. My library is planning on erecting at least one, and perhaps more, LFLs around town. I informally surveyed public libraries in NH and found that there are a surprising number of LFLs springing up around the state. What can be better than sharing books?

  13. Oh, boy, Laura–I’m planning a road trip! Our first LFL was a mailbox that we decorated with paint pen, but when we got the wooden one, all we did (and it took months) was paint it blue and white. It needs a personality, like yours has!

    Planning a road trip to Ellicott City…

  14. As a reading specialist, I adore the idea of a neighborhood little library with a fantasy theme. Your poem to celebrate the opening is delightful. I am sure the little free library will be a neighborhood hit.

  15. Oh, what a neighborhood treasure chest this is, Laura! I wish I lived near Calcifer, he is so generous. =)

  16. Doraine says:

    This is so cool, Laura. I’d like to come visit your library dragon.

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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