Tag Archives: books

Let us set you up on a Blind Date – With a Book!

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It’s back! Time for Grey Havens Group Inc’s signature fundraiser – Blind Date with a Book. Last November, you gobbled up lots of good books for Grey Havens, but we’ve still got plenty more, and we love to share the joys of reading. Won’t you join us?

On Saturday, February 11th from 11 am – 4pm, come to Lucky’s Market in Longmont and choose a book (or two or three) to take home with you. Books are sorted by genre then wrapped in a Lucky’s bag to disguise their titles. In exchange for a donation in any amount, you can take home a reading surprise, just in time for Valentines Day!

All donations will be used to promote literacy, imagination, community and inclusion by supporting The Grey Havens Group, Inc. We hope you know by now that our nonprofit values creative and critical thinking and teaches philosophical inquiry. Grey Havens YA is our young adult chapter, but we also serve younger children, adults, and older adults all along the front range and beyond.

Right now, we are working on implementing our Philosophy in Public Spaces Initiative, increasing our young adult and kids programming, recruiting volunteers, and planning exciting new events for the community. We are also developing a podcast in order to share the benefits of Geek Philosophy with the world! This Saturday, you could help us to achieve these goals and enjoy a fabulous literary date in the process. We hope to see you there. Thank you for your support!

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May the Force be with you,
Kelly Cowling, Executive Director
Robyn Bosica, Deputy Director
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See you at Panera! P.S. You’re awesome.

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A couple of posts ago, we talked about Bags for Change, a fundraising program at Lucky’s Market Longmont from April through June. We are dedicating the funds raised through this program to help out Grey Havens YA because Lucky’s has asked us to designate a specific Grey Havens Group, Inc project. In our post, we explained why books are so important to us and how having a consistent book fund would really help us out and benefit our members for the rest of their lives.

However, I want you to know that when you support Grey Havens YA through Bags for Change, monthly donations, or our April 25th Panera Fundraiser (keep reading for more info), you are doing so much more than just buying books for us. Books are necessary and important, and they are also quantifiable and tangible. It’s easy for us to talk about them because we can tell you exactly how much money buys exactly how many books that go to exactly how many eager young adults. What is harder to explain is how your support has allowed us literally to keep existing, which benefits not only our core members but the whole community at large.

For the past two years, we have run this organization successfully on borrowed time, in borrowed space, using borrowed equipment. We have no paid staff, no space to call our own, and two seriously aging laptops. And yet — and yet, your support has helped us to finally become an incorporated 501(c)3 NonProfit Organization. Together with The Grey Havens Group, Inc, we have provided quality programming and enriching discussion for children, teens, adults, and older adults all along the Front Range. We really mean it when we say we value literacy, imagination, community, and inclusion. We cannot thank you enough for your support in all of this!

On April 25th, Panera in Longmont is offering a super easy way for you to continue to help us. Simply stop by on Monday between 4:00pm and 8:00pm and present this flyer in print when ordering for dine-in, carry-out, or buying a gift card and 15% of your purchase will benefit The Grey Havens Group, Inc. If you have trouble printing the flyer, please contact us or look for us at Panera and we will be able to give you one. You can also join our Facebook Event Announcement to let us know you’re coming. We can’t wait to see you there for a night of yummy food and inspirational fellowship. As they say in the Grey Havens adult Tolkien branch, a star shines on the hour of our meeting.

Grey Havens Fundriser Flyer

Send us an owl: Why do you choose to support The Grey Havens Group, Inc and it’s young adult and family branch, Grey Havens YA?
P.S. What are you going to order at Panera???

What A Nerd Looks Like: Embracing Enthusiasm, Embracing the Other

wp-1454298478123.jpgDid you know that Grey Havens YA has been around for two years and nearly four months now? It has been an incredible journey so far, and we are so proud of our members and our growing community.

Many adults have come up to us over these two years and told us how much they wish they had a group like this when they were younger. They understand how uniquely valuable a haven for literature, imagination, community and inclusion can be for young teens and old teens alike. They get it because they’ve seen it in action, so now I want to take a moment to try to describe it to you.

Grey Havens YA isn’t just a book club. It is more than just fun events and fandom programming. As you’ll see in our upcoming Geek Philosophy series, Grey Havens YA is about teaching young minds to imagine greatly, live enthusiastically, and engage thoughtfully with the world around them.

As we’ve been reading The Martian Chronicles over the past two months, we have discovered something about our group of geeks and nerds: while the humans in the Martian stories fear that great, insurmountable Other, we are drawn to it.  We want to know who the Martians were, how they lived, what they would have to say to us about our own lives… As nerds and geeks who explore the world and its stories with great enthusiasm, we are drawn to the Other points of view. We want to know more about how Kylo Ren thinks; we are heartbroken over the pains Draco Malfoy has been through; we are fascinated by the friendship between the Doctor and the Master; we crave knowledge of how “the other side” thinks and feels and lives.

At our recent Multi-Generational Philosophy Discussion in which we partnered with the Longmont Senior Center to discuss Geek Philosophy with both senior adults and our YA members, one of the senior adults said something very profound to our members. We were talking about the horrors of racism, and a YA member observed that her generation may not be as inclined to prejudice as those in the past. The senior adult replied, “You said that your generation is not as racially charged. I believe that, for you [Grey Havens YA members], because you are not afraid to be enthusiastic. When you embrace being a nerd, you are not afraid to be enthusiastic, and to live.” He mentioned the notion that “Joe Cool” can be cool all his life and then realize he never actually lived, but when you embrace who you are and embrace being a nerd, you stop being so worried about looking cool and you start really living.

wp-1454299663565.jpgTo the founders of Grey Havens YA, these two concepts are intrinsically related. We are drawn to other sides, to the viewpoints of those who are different from us, because we are enthusiastic about knowledge and about life itself. In one of our favorite quotes, John Green said, “Nerds like us are allowed to be unironically enthusiastic about stuff… Nerds are allowed to love stuff, like jump-up-and-down-in-the-chair-can’t-control-yourself love it. … When people call people nerds, mostly what they’re saying is ‘you like stuff.’ Which is just not a good insult at all. Like, ‘you are too enthusiastic about the miracle of human consciousness.'”

That is why we do what we do here at Grey Havens YA. We want to encourage young adults to be unashamed by their enthusiasm for the miracle of human consciousness. True, some of our members aren’t as enthusiastic all the time. Some of them struggle with depression and very real issues in their lives, but they still show up every week and they share in the enthusiasm of others. They show up every week and they discuss philosophy, darkness and light, science and art with the rest of us. They show up every week and feel safe to be themselves. It is quite a miracle itself to behold.

Grey Havens YA means so much to our members, and it means so much to us. We are so proud of these last two years, and we look forward to many more. We especially love adding to our community and watching our new members fit right in as if they’ve been with us all along. Grey Havens YA is full of  that special kind of magic. Will you help us spread it?

A star shines on the hour of our meeting,
Robyn and Kelly

Photos by Steve Eggleston

Discussing the Third and Fourth Planets

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What is normal? This is a question the members of Grey Havens YA have been exploring as we dip our toes into the strange Martian canals of Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles. In the first few stories, we see a Martian perspective of Earth:

“The third planet is incapable of supporting life. …  Our scientists have said there’s far too much oxygen in the atmosphere.”

“Blue eyes! Gods! … What’ll you dream next? I suppose he had black hair?”

In our introductory discussion, we introduced the postmodern and poststructuralist concept of signs and simulacra and Jean Baudrillard’s notion that “The sign is arbitrary.” It was wonderful to watch our young members slowly grasp hold of a philosophy that most students don’t learn about until their university years. Signs and symbols… what is normal? What does normal even mean? What do our words signify and why? Is it all arbitrary?

To the martians, brown skin and gold eyes are normal. Blue eyes — preposterous! Oxygen isn’t what you need to support life, it’s carbon-dioxide that you need.

To one of our members, having asthma was always the norm. Using an inhaler since she was a very small child, the idea of breathing freely made no sense to her mind. To another, lack of depth perception was her only way to see the world until new glasses drastically improved her vision. We spoke of color-blindness and the new Encrhoma lenses…

What is normal? The Martians certainly don’t seem normal to us. Bradbury goes to great lengths to show us just how different their life is: bubbling hot lava tables to cook your dinner, beds of mist, scarves in bottles, houses made of pillars of rain, flame birds to carry your canopy… And yet, and yet, something about those Martians seems hauntingly familiar. A husband and a wife, a troubled marriage, jealousy, murder– Is the fourth planet so very different from the third?

Today, we dive in deeper– we’ll read about the second and third expeditions. We’ll see how the Martians react to the Earth Men. Perhaps we’ll talk about war, or sanity, or xenophobia, or pride… Perhaps we’ll simply marvel at the beauty of the prose or shudder at the horror of the story. Perhaps that red Martian landscape will show us just a little bit more about ourselves, and we’ll come back here to tell the tale. Will you follow along?

 

Send us an owl: What has been your experience reading The Martian Chronicles?

Buy a Great Series, Support Grey Havens YA!

You can probably tell that here at Grey Havens YA, we love books, and that makes it pretty exciting when the authors of those books love us back! This holiday season, the brilliant Colorado author Stant Litore is offering readers a chance to buy some great books and support Grey Havens YA all in one transaction. Keep reading to find out how!

fb_img_1448597602611.jpgStant has been a constant supporter of the Grey Havens Group, and we consider him a member even though he doesn’t live in the area. He is a part of our community, and we are honored to know him. Some of you may remember that he was one of our guest authors at the Grey Havens Real Myth and Mithril Symposium last April. It was there that he really started to connect with and experience the magic that is Grey Havens YA. In a follow-up post about the event, he writes: “Talking with these teens who are fully embracing, unashamed, their love of the imagination — all I can say is that I would have given a great deal to be part of such a group when I was a teen.”

Stant is the author of many daring works, but it’s his first series that’ll hook you and reel you in as a fangirl for life: The Zombie Bible. These five* books re-imagine Biblical stories and ancient legends as if they were set in the larger context of humanity’s constant struggle against hunger…. and the hungry dead.

We don’t think we need to say any more than that, because we know you’re intrigued already — but we will! Reading Stant’s series will not only enrich your imagination and engage your philosophical thinking, but when you purchase the Silver Edition Digital Box Set before the end of December, 50% of the royalties will be donated to Grey Havens YA.  All for only $5.99, 60% off the individual price! What a great deal!

Read more from Stant’s post on his website:

GHYA is a shoestring-budget operation, and I want to help by giving them 50% of my royalties for The Zombie Bible: Silver Edition Digital Box Set to GHYA through December 31, 2015. Please help me by sharing the word and, of course, by buying the books! If I can get GHYA just $250, that supplies their book budget for the spring. If I can get them $500-$1000, they’ll be able to increase their membership, or perhaps get equipment to replace the truly archaic and at-the-brink-of-breaking computers and projectors they currently work with.

zombiebibleStant is an incredible human being, and we’re so glad to be able to offer you such a fun and easy way to support us this season. Who knew you could do your Black Friday / Small Business Saturday / Cyber Monday shopping AND support Grey Havens YA at the same time?! Thanks, Stant! Click here to see the other ways you can support us.

*The Silver Edition Digital Box Set includes The Zombie Bible Volumes 1-5. Volume 6 will be released in 2016 — so go ahead and get caught up now! 😉

Send us an owl: Which is your favorite Stant Litore book?

High-Five a Librarian!

Today is High-Five a Librarian Day. Where would Grey Havens YA be without libraries and librarians? Where would the world be without libraries and librarians? For our partners at Carbon Valley Regional Library, Lafayette Public Library, Longmont Public Library, all the librarians in the Saint Vrain Valley School District and all the hard-working librarians everywhere, this is our version of the high-five. It is even better than a traditional high-five; it’s a sci-five! Live long and prosper.

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In December, Grey Havens YA begins reading The Martian Chronicles by the great Ray Bradbury. Here is what Bradbury had to say about how very much we need libraries. This quote was included in a beautiful post by Grey Havens YA director, Robyn Bosica, on banned and challenged books. Read the whole post here.

“Let’s imagine there’s an earthquake tomorrow in the average university town. If only two buildings remained intact at the end of the earthquake, what would they have to be in order to rebuild everything that had been lost? Number one would be the medical building, because you need that to help people survive, to heal injuries and sickness. The other building would be the library. All the other buildings are contained in that one. People could go into the library and get all the books they needed in literature or social economics or politics or engineering and take the books out on the lawn and sit down and read. Reading is at the center of our lives. The library is our brain. Without the library, you have no civilization.”

Send us on owl: What is the best thing a librarian has ever done for you? After you answer that question, head on over to the library and give the hardworking librarians and staff a high-five. They deserve it! 

The Right to Free Imagination

Círdan’s Note: Grey Havens YA just finished discussing our fourth book, Epic by Conor Kostick. Robyn, our co-director, also recently finished an old book she acquired at Readcon: Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. She wanted to share these thoughts with you.

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Here at Grey Havens YA, we place tremendous value on the imagination. We often say, “Nothing was ever made by human hands or realized in the intellect that was not first conceived of in the imagination,” and you can read more about that on our about page.

Dr. Azar Nafisi writes of the importance of imagination and literature in her memoir:
“I have this recurring fantasy that one more article has been added to the Bill of Rights: the right to free access to imagination. I have come to believe that genuine democracy cannot exist without the freedom to imagine and the right to use imaginative works without any restrictions. To have a whole life, one must have the possibility of publicly shaping and expressing private worlds, dreams, thoughts and desires, of constantly having access to a dialogue between the public and private worlds. How else do we know that we existed, felt, desired, hated, feared?

“We speak of facts, yet facts exist only partially to us if they are not repeated and re-created through emotions, thoughts and feelings. To me it seemed as if we had not really existed, or only have existed, because we could not imaginatively realize ourselves and communicate to the world, because we had used works of imagination to serve as handmaidens to some political ploy.”

This passage made me think both of the world in Epic and the world of Grey Haven YA. The characters of Epic play a game, a game that is not played or explored for pleasure, but rather studied and completed for the sake of government. The game is the government, it’s how those in power control the people. At the end of the novel, we glimpse a possibility for a new way of government, and we talked about this in depth at our last meeting.

We talked about how the powerful in Epic seek to control the universities, and Kelly and I mentioned the idea that if you control the universities, you control the knowledge, the culture of the people. Nafisi faced this in real life in Tehran where she tried to teach literature for its own sake and not the government’s.

Even when learning about literature in the United States, one still has to fight for the beauty of it over the end result of a test score. A few of our members have told us that they don’t mind if we read books in the group that they’ve already studied in school because at Grey Havens YA, “We get to talk about the book a lot more and go deeper than we ever did in class.” It is a joy to see our YA members express their love for stories and to get to see them embrace imagination.

I don’t at all mean to downplay the horrors of the real government that Nafisi and her students faced in Tehran. What I mean to say is that I am so grateful for the insights in her book, and I am grateful that a group like Grey Havens YA exists where imagination can be encouraged and nurtured.

Our culture right now is obsessed with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, and our young adults are caught in the tension between wanting to create but also wanting to code. Many of them want to be both artists and scientists. Isn’t it true that there could be no STEM without first imagination? And to nurture the imagination, one must first nurture the value of story. I’m so honored that we get to do that here in Grey Havens YA.

As Albert Einstein said: “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

If you live in the Boulder County area and would like the chance to nurture your own imagination a little more while also helping out Grey Havens YA, stop by Lucky’s Market in Longmont on Saturday, November 21st from 11am-4pm to Gobble Up a Good Book. You can donate any amount and take home a mysterious wrapped book. We hope to see you there!

Send us an owl: What are you thoughts on the value of imagination? 

Notes from an Extremely Geeky Week: Geek Fair and READCON 2015!

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Who shot first?

At the end of every Grey Havens YA meeting, we share what we call Fandom Moments, telling each other of the geeky and nerdy things that happened to us during the week. Over time, we have come to realize that our lives are replete with Fandom Moments but some weeks are even geekier than others. There is, for example, the time we went to Denver Comic Con and the time we spent a week LARPing Harry Potter for young witches and wizards beginning their magical educations. The week of Sunday, September 20 through Saturday, September 26 is right up there with the geekiest of our geeky weeks. What a time we had!

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It all started with Geek Fair, part of the Longmont Museum’s Cultural Resources Fair. Geeky artists and organizations came together from all over the Front Range to help us honor our community’s teachers with a show of geeky solidarity!

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The programming began with a panel of Geeky Educators, featuring two teachers, the leader of the Longmont Public Library’s Animé Club and a parent-child psychologist. They shared how fandom culture enriches their lives and work, helping them to relate to and inspire youth and their families. One educator spoke of the desire to dispel the stigma around intelligence and curiosity. Another told us that she tries every day to remind her students of the Doctor’s words, “In 900 years of time and space, I have never met anyone who wasn’t important.” It is pretty clear why we ❤ ❤ geeky teachers. The conversation continues in our Geeky Teachers group on Facebook!

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The panel was moderated by Grey Havens YA members who talked about what their geeky teachers mean to them. 

After the inspiring panel, we danced!! We also sang fandom-themed songs, had a captions contest and answered some challenging fandom trivia questions. This was our first time presenting the full Fandoms Unite program for an all-ages crowd. We didn’t want it to end. It simply does not get any better than seeing members of the Society for Creative Anachronism dancing like Baby Groot in full medieval garb!

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While all this was happening, guests browsed tables hosted by local cultural organizations. The geeks were well-represented, including the Cerar Clan of the Mandalorian Mercs, The Barony of Caer Galen, the organizers of Myths and Legends Con as well as geeky artists, podcasters and entrepreneurs.

cerar clan  mini painters


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    beyond the trope geek fair

By the end of the day, we had bonded in that way that geeks so easily bond, through shared enthusiasm and a love of the imagination. We rounded out the day with a kind of geek summit meeting, bringing together representatives from our guest organizations to share their geeky dreams. That conversation continues in our new Geeky Leaders of Colorado group on Facebook. Until we meet again, geeks of the Front Range, stay shiny and may the Force be with you!

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What do you want to do tonight? The same thing we do every night–try to take over the world (or just make it a little geekier)!

The Longmont Museum is a perfect partner for Grey Havens YA. The building is beautiful, flooded with light with plenty of space to play, including the highly interactive Robots Rising exhibition that continues through January. They are a local haven for imagination and creativity so, when it comes to geeks, of course they just get us!

You would think that Geek Fair would be enough geekiness for one week but it didn’t stop there! Just six days later Grey Havens YA was at READCON 2015 at the Carbon Valley Regional Library in Firestone. You can imagine our relief when we we were assured that all the libraries in the High Plains District are Vashta Nerada free!

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We stayed out of the shadows, just in case. 

We were proud to be part of the official READCON 2015 launch by helping to host the pre-READCON breakfast at The Brew at Dejalu Books. It’s such a great place for coffee, crepes, and books! Our members came in cosplay to greet guests, talk about books and draw free pictures for anyone who wanted a little fandom inspiration to take home. The walls were decorated with the works of Grey Havens YA artists and the atmosphere was thick with our particular brand of enthusiasm.

wpid-photogrid_1443715337566.jpg        reacon breakfast cosplay   readcon breakfast
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A few butterbeers and a hearty Second Breakfast gave us the fuel we needed for more fun!

After breakfast, we headed over to the library. We were greeted, not only by library staff, but by a familiar blue box. We knew we were in the right place!

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Arriving at READCON 2015 in style. Allons-y!

Our members served as official judges of the genre book display competition and designed their own libraries using Minecraft. There were things to do and see all over the library, even outside, but, if you were looking for Grey Havens YA’s directors, chances are you would find them inside the incredibly clever “What Would the Doctor Read?” interactive display.

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So much to do and see at READCON!

                 readcon sign                                                       k-9 readcon                                                        readcon cosplay

What WOULD the Doctor read? He would ask Grey Havens YA for book recommendations!

Just being at READCON was a joy for us but we were also thrilled to present a panel about our favorite books. Grey Havens YA members talked with insight and humor about all of their most beloved young adult fiction. The audience was very engaged and, after the panel, they could check out the books for themselves from the beautiful Grey Havens YA book display!

reacon displayreadcon audienceWe had a great audience!

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We tried to take a serious picture. We really did…

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… but it just didn’t work out that way!

We are tremendously grateful to Carbon Valley Regional Library for inviting us to be part of READCON 2015 at their warm and welcoming library. We can’t wait to return with more Grey Havens YA programming! This week, we will be returning to our regularly scheduled book discussions but our imaginations will linger a while longer at Geek Fair and READCON!

TARDIS photobomb

Best accidental photobomb ever! The expression on the face of the kid in the corner sums up our feelings about our amazing geeky week. We can’t wait for next year! Good thing we have a TARDIS!

Click here for a full slideshow of photos from READCON 2015. More from Geek Fair and READCON 2015 – including videos – coming soon! Make sure to like our Facebook page for daily updates and more photo fun!

Send us an owl: Did you attend Geek Fair or READCON 2015? Did you have as much fun as we did?

End-of-Summer Awesome!

New Doctor Who is materializing on TV screens this fall and, before that, the educational adventure will resume for those of you going back to school. Do you need some AWESOME to ease the transition? Here are books recommended for young adult readers by patrons of the Longmont Public Library, courtesy of the Awesome Box!

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The Amulet series is an exceptionally popular series of graphic novels that is recommended for readers as young as 8, but engaging enough for readers of all ages.

A very astute patron recommended the Doctor Who television series, entertaining imaginative teens since 1963! You might also want to get on board with Twelve Doctors, Twelve Stories, an anthology of stories by some very well-known Whovians. There is one story for each Doctor, except for the War Doctor, that is. Quick! Someone write some fan fiction!

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A very enthusiastic patron recommended The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter for “teens looking for a good read about the Greek gods.” She added that the book “involved love, mystery, murder, and tests!” School exams are nothing next to the seven tests our main character has to endure!

For another action-packed take on the supernatural, try The Last Apprentice series by Joseph Delaney, recommended for readers age 11 and up.

Watch this space for the final Awesome Box post–a round-up of all the best recommendations from the 2014-2015 school year from Saint Vrain Valley school district readers. When that first day of school arrives, strap on your best geek-themed backpack and allons-y!

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A Trip To Hogwarts!

Círdan’s Note: Not only did Grey Havens YA lead a magical Hogwarts Preparatory Academy this summer, but also some of our assistant professors got to visit the real Hogwarts! We are fortunate to have an account brought to us by Assistant Professor Noble. Enjoy her tale and her photos below!

Hogwarts Castle

About a month ago I received a letter from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry stating that I was to report to Diagon Alley and board the Hogwarts Express, courtesy of the Hogwarts Railways, to the one and only Hogsmeade and the famous wizarding school itself! Why, you could only guess what emotions I was feeling! You rarely hear about wizards from other wizarding schools being asked to visit Hogwarts! I am currently a witch at the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic or, for us, l’académie de magie de Beauxbâtons which is an all female wizarding school located in France. Perhaps you have seen us compete at Hogwarts for eternal glory during the Triwizard Tournament? So of course, without a second to spare, I found my trusty Silver Arrow, and was off to Diagon Alley to accept this offer. I would have used my fireplace, but sadly I ran out of floo powder. (I would have made some, but nobody can quite get the recipe right! I don’t want to look like a mess when I arrive at Hogwarts.)

When I arrived in Diagon Alley, I paid a special visit to my vault at Gringotts to snag some galleons, and ran around like a mad woman trying to buy everything I might possibly need for this weekend at the best school in the world, I finally decided to dash over to the platform to board the Hogwarts Express. Whoa! As I was on my way to Hogsmeade, I made the startling discovery that I only had four galleons in my pocket by the time I was done! I ended up spending a little more galleons than I had planned… I mean, doesn’t everyone who goes to Diagon Alley visit Madam Malkins for a robe and scarf, the Leaky Cauldron for a bite to eat and a butter beer, Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes for some laughs and love potions, Florean Fortescue’s Ice Cream Parlour for a sweet treat, Ollivanders for a much needed wand repair, Scribbulus Writing Instruments for fancy new writing quill, and still have money to spare? I mean, I didn’t buy too much butter beer or pumpkin juice. Only enough to satisfy myself.

Hogwarts Express Sign

When the train finally pulled up at Hogsmeade and I managed to squeeze out of the busy station, I breathed a sigh of relief. I have made it! In the distance you could see the castle towering above everything on a beautiful cliff. I scurried through the village dropping by Honeydukes to give up my last four galleons to purchase some Bertie Botts Every Flavour Beans. Right when I opened one and plopped one into my mouth, I knew I made a terrible mistake! It was a troll bogey flavor! And, in an attempt to counter this terrible taste, I had another. I must be a magnet for bad bean flavors. It ended up being a dog food bean! After that, I stuck the beans into my robe pocket and vowed not to eat them until I got back from Hogwarts. I will have to combat the flavors at a later time. I am still a little shaky from the incident, but I am on my way to a brilliant recovery. Perhaps soon I will be strong enough to continue eating them.

Bertie Botts Beans

Hogwarts Symbol

After leaving Hogsmeade, I stood before the bridge leading to the castle and I stared at two of the pillars at the entry way. Writing appeared and disappeared in a blink of an eye. Magical writing that is. What did the writing say? I can not quite remember. My sister, currently a bold Slytherin at Hogwarts, could tell you but as for myself, I think I accidentally had a small sip of a forgetfulness potion while I was lounging around in the Gryffindorr Common Room. The inside of Hogwarts was truly magical though. Talking pictures, which know exactly where you are at every time, magical classrooms, ghosts, common rooms, stained glass, witches, wizards, magic,  you name it! It was breathtaking. Now, the argument that another fellow witch of mine had with the Fat Lady was rather odd though. Even though she was a Gryffindorr, she was denied access into the common room several times after the argument until the Fat Lady finally gave in and let us enter. That of course gave the rest of the witches and wizards behind us a laugh. I spent the night there in the Gryffindorr common room, even though I would say that I am a Hufflepuff at heart, and the next day I was able to advance deeper into the castle and learn even more about Hogwarts. I even got a sneak peak at Dumbledoor’s office and the famous sorting hat!

My time at Hogwarts was short and I have no doubt that I will be back some day in the future. I have several friends there that I intend to visit, as well as family. There is so much to tell you, but right now, the quill that I purchased in Diagon Alley is running low on ink so I must go buy some more before I can talk my experiences that I had there in greater detail. But for right now, that is all that I can write. Hopefully, I will be able to collect enough galleons to buy more ink since this trip wiped out the majority of my vault! Wish me luck!

Best,

Catherine Noble

Witch at the Beauxbatons Academy of Magic