We try to get our kids to read, but it's an uphill climb in the 21st century: The older they get, the more tuned in they are to sense-teasing technological amusements -- Game Boys and Xboxes, non-stop television and computer games -- and the less inclined they are to wade through a sea of plain, old-fashioned type. But there's still hope for books. You just have to know where to steer the kids, says local mystery author Christine Goff, a member of the Rocky Mountain chapter of Mystery Writers of America. "Mystery is one of the best places to encourage reluctant readers, because it's exciting reading," Goff says. And that's why MWA chapters across the nation host annual Kids Love a Mystery events this time of the year. The gatherings feature kid-oriented readings by MWA members, as well as activities that provide a kick-start into reading and just might catch on with kids bored by the classics. Not that the genre doesn't include a few classics of its own: Works by the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle remain popular with the younger set.
Denver's MWA chapter has high hopes for its own version, a first in the area, which it will host in tandem with local Halloween festivities today at 2 p.m. at the Tattered Cover Book Store, 2955 East First Avenue. And though most of the authors appearing write for adults, this time, Goff notes, there will be at least two local authors who cater to the younger set: Barbara Steiner and Julie Anne Peters. "The bookstore events I usually do are too often just to promote myself," Goff says. "But this is just to promote great mystery writers for kids." -- Susan Froyd
Cookie Cobalt gives young actors an outlet
The Walden Family Playhouse, led by child-creativity advocate Douglas Love, has already made a name for itself locally, having launched its second full season of top-notch children's theater with a fine stage production of Louis Sachar's Holes. Now Walden has another ace to pull out of its deck: The Adventures of Cookie Cobalt, the product of its inaugural Walden Family Playhouse Workshop drama program for kids, will show off the talents of more than fifty young first-session participants when the Love-penned play is staged for the public tonight at 7 p.m. The engaging story, about a girl who falls into the world of paintings and finds herself palling around at a circus with Marc Chagall, was originally produced at the legendary Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. Walden spokeswoman Christine Broda-Bahm calls it a great advertisement for the successful program, designed to be a "holistic theater experience." (Registration, she adds, is now open for the next session, which begins in mid-January.)
Admission to Cookie is $4 to $6 at the door; Walden is at 14500 West Colfax Avenue, at Colorado Mills in Lakewood. Call 303-590-1475 or go to www.waldenfamilyplayhouse. -- Susan Froyd