Little guys meet their heroes at the Provo Library

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There was a rather large spike in superhero activity on Saturday morning, centered around the Provo Library on Academy Square. With a few exceptions, these superheroes were all under 4 feet tall.

The Provo Library “Big Guy, Little Guy Superhero Training Academy” brought these miniature crime fighters together. This is the training academy’s eleventh year running, but many of Saturday’s heroes attended for the first time.

Camilla Cook attended with her Superman nephew Kyle.

“I’m just excited to help him be exposed to hopefully some fun activities and to have some bonding time together,” Cook said before the academy started.

For Rob Holcombe and his son Kohl, there was no shortage of fun activities and bonding time. Holcombe said he definitely plans to come again, next time with his other son, who is a little over 1 year old.

Library director Gene Nelson said the inspiration for the superhero training academy came from an unlikely source: fairy tea parties. Every year in the spring, the library holds four sessions of a fairy tea party that, according to Nelson, always sell out. The library decided to do something aimed at more active kids. The theme changes every year, but the goal is the same.

“Every kid will leave with a book,” Nelson said.

Nelson said a secondary goal of the activity is to reach out to families with children and invite them to come to the library and become acquainted with the library staff.

“It’s an excuse to have some fun and also have some fun with reading,” he said.

One family that has benefited from befriending the library staff is the Penberthy family. Corinne Penberthy attended the academy for the first time with her son Patrick, who has cerebral palsy and loves superheroes.

Corinne said Patrick is always able to participate at the library and everybody loves him there. She said she thinks the event is wonderful. Patrick, dressed as Dash, was equally excited.

Library staff and volunteers dressed as superheroes posed for pictures with their mini counterparts. Kids colored their own superhero comics, built cities and trained to fight bad guys. At the end of the day, each child chose a free book to take home.

“I love that they encourage parents to do activities with their children and also fun activities that will increase their knowledge and their love for books,” said Alma Reyes, who attended with her son Mateo.

The opportunity for parents to bond with children was a highlight for many.

Library employee and assistant children’s services manager Donna Cardon, alias Golden Girl, said it’s fun to see parents and kids having fun together.

“I like the fact that everything is active,” she said. “It’s not something you just sit and watch.”

For children’s services manager Joella Peterson, the best part is seeing the kids happy and realizing the library is fun. Peterson said the purpose of the event is “to have them realize that magic happens not just inside books.”

Eugene Peterson came all the way from Bluffdale, Utah, to attend the event with his grandkids. He said he felt sorry for those who didn’t attend because they missed out on a free book and pizza.

To make sure you don’t miss out on future events at the library, visit the Provo Library Facebook page.

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