This post was written by Monica Valentine, a program specialist in the Library’s Informal Learning Office. Research assistance was provided by teen summer interns
This fall, the authors of two beloved Kid Lit series—Goosebumps and Magic Tree House—are celebrating thirty years of their popular series at the Library. We invite you to join us on Saturday, October 22 at 2:00 p.m. either online or in-person, as part of Halloween Family Day featuring Goosebumps author R.L. Stine and Magic Tree House author Mary Pope Osborne. In addition to a fun performance that will be simulcast on the Library’s Youtube page, Library staff will lead crafts and activities beginning at 10 a.m. Tickets are free but required. If you’re attending, check out the spooky collections and background information below. These resources can help your family prepare for this exciting event.
R.L. Stine and Mary Pope Osborne were both writing for older children when they were approached by their respective publishers about starting a series for the 7-12 age group. Each of them had reservations, as this wasn’t their usual target audience. Thirty years later, Goosebumps and Magic Tree House books have been translated into more than thirty languages. Stine has published more than two hundred books under the Goosebumps umbrella. Mary Pope Osborne isn’t far behind. There are over one hundred Magic Tree House titles in print. Their popularity also spawned a non-fiction supplemental series, Magic Tree House Fact Tracker, written by Osborne’s husband Will Osborne and her sister Natalie Pope Boyce.
Over the course of their careers, Osborne and Stine have both become literacy advocates. Osborne donated more than one million of her books to underserved schools. Both authors have participated in programs for educators and the public—including the National Book Festival in 2012!
- Stine writes a ghost story with help from the audience at 4:00
- Stine reads from a Goosebumps classic “The Haunted Mask” at 16:41
- Stine discusses his writing process, the relationship between humor and horror, and answer a young reader who asks “do your own books scare you sometimes?” around 31:22
- Osborne discusses how she landed on a tree house and books as the magical elements for her series at 3:42
- Osborne describes how an earthquake in China and a wildlife reserve inspired her writing at 31:22
- Osborne discusses time travel, as well as the relationship between Jack and Annie at 30:35
You can also get in the mood for the event by checking out Library of Congress collections related to the books. The Library’s collection features tree houses from California, to West Virginia, and Java, Indonesia. Share with your children to use as inspiration if they want to create drawings, crafts, or even build their own tree houses in anticipation of the event.
The Library also features historical items connected to the discoveries Jack and Annie make throughout the series. As you read the books with your children, you can:
- Watch a short video of 1906 San Francisco as featured in #24, Earthquake in the Early Morning,
- Read newspapers sharing the real-life shipwreck behind #17, Tonight on the Titanic
- Explore resources from “The Jackie Robinson Story”, a film inspired by the same event as #29, A Big Day for Baseball
This summer, our team’s teen intern Ava Luo explored the Library’s online collections. She found the following images related to the horror genre (caregivers, we suggest you preview these images on your own first!) Which Goosebumps titles do these bring to mind? These can spark a discussion about their favorite books in the series.
- A poster of a stage adaptation of one of the most infamous monster stories
- A classic novel about a well-known vampire
- An advertisement for a spooky mystery
- A drawing of a witchy encounter
We’re looking forward to seeing you in person or on the live stream with Mary Pope Osborne and R.L. Stine! Please feel free to share any other more of your favorite Library collections related to these beloved books, or memories of these authors at Library events.