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Totoro Summer Learning Challenge

Summer Learning Track: Anime & Literature

Did you know several anime movies and series were inspired by or even became works of literature? Here are some anime adaptations and their literary sources, for example:

  • Ponyo // The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen
  • The Secret World of Arrietty // The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  • Howl's Moving Castle // Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
  • Tales From Earthsea // Tales From Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Romeo x Juliet // Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare
  • Gankutsuo // The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
  • My Nieghbor Totoro was novelized by Tsugiko Kubo, featuring watercolors by legendary director Hayao Miyazaki
  • If you would like to watch anime and are between the ages of 12-18, feel free to join the Teen Otaku Association every Monday at our Main location from 6-8. The challenge begins on June 1st and goes through August 16th. There is also the Everything Manga book club that meets every other Thursday at 3:30 at the St. Andrews branch.

    Between animations, their literary sources, and the library's manga collection, there's a lot of material to create a summer learning track. Get started by using this sample Learning Track, or develop your own.


    Amazon Says: One of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved classics, Totoro celebrates its 25th anniversary! The beloved animation classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, My N more...
    Amazon Says: One of Studio Ghibli’s most beloved classics, Totoro celebrates its 25th anniversary! The beloved animation classic by legendary Studio Ghibli director Hayao Miyazaki, My Neighbor Totoro is now retold in novel form. This prestige, hardcover edition features original illustrations by Miyazaki himself, accompanying a story written by veteran children's book author Tsugiko Kubo. Sure to delight both existing fans and new readers! Eleven-year-old Satsuki and her sassy little sister Mei have moved to the country to be closer to their ailing mother. While their father is working, the girls explore their sprawling old house and the forest and fields that surround it. Soon, Satsuki and Mei discover Totoro, a magical forest spirit who takes them on fantastic adventures through the trees and the clouds--and teaches them a lesson about trusting one another. less...
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    The Little Mermaid and Other Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
    Amazon Says: The Little Mermaid is one of the most haunting stories ever written. Its author, Hans Christian Andersen, made the literary fairy tale so much his own that even today no write more...
    Amazon Says: The Little Mermaid is one of the most haunting stories ever written. Its author, Hans Christian Andersen, made the literary fairy tale so much his own that even today no writer has surpassed him. This collection, with an introduction and fresh new translations of the tales by Neil Philip, includes such favorites as The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Match Girl, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier as well as eleven other tales. The book is illustrated throughout with Isabelle Brent's intricate watercolors, accented in rich fifth-color gold, which elegantly compliment these magical tales. less...
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    Amazon Says: No scratches. Art work included. Case clean, no tears. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. more...
    Amazon Says: No scratches. Art work included. Case clean, no tears. 100% satisfaction guaranteed. less...
    Amazon

    Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
    Amazon Says: In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.After fifty years of qui more...
    Amazon Says: In the land of Ingary, such things as spells, invisible cloaks, and seven-league boots were everyday things. The Witch of the Waste was another matter.After fifty years of quiet, it was rumored that the Witch was about to terrorize the country again. So when a moving black castle, blowing dark smoke from its four thin turrets, appeared on the horizon, everyone thought it was the Witch. The castle, however, belonged to Wizard Howl, who, it was said, liked to suck the souls of young girls.The Hatter sisters--Sophie, Lettie, and Martha--and all the other girls were warned not to venture into the streets alone. But that was only the beginning.In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl's castle?Diana Wynne Jones's entrancing fantasy is filled with surprises at every turn, but when the final stormy duel between the Witch and the Wizard is finished, all the pieces fall magically into place. less...
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    Amazon Says: The latest Ghibli masterpiece of the imagination, brought to life with sketches and stills from Arrietty. Reads L to R (Western Style). Co-founded by the legendary filmmake more...
    Amazon Says: The latest Ghibli masterpiece of the imagination, brought to life with sketches and stills from Arrietty. Reads L to R (Western Style). Co-founded by the legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, Studio Ghibli films have enthralled and enchanted audiences across the world. The Art of series gives fans the opportunity to follow their favorite film from initial concept to the silver screen, thanks to hundreds of sketches, concept drawings, and animation cels, plus in-depth interviews with the creators. less...
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    Amazon Says: Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock. more...
    Amazon Says: Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock. less...
    Amazon

    Tales from Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
    Amazon Says: The tales of this book explore and extend the world established by the Earthsea novels--yet each stands on its own. It contains the novella "The Finder," and the short stories more...
    Amazon Says: The tales of this book explore and extend the world established by the Earthsea novels--yet each stands on its own. It contains the novella "The Finder," and the short stories "The Bones of the Earth," "Darkrose and Diamond," "On the High Marsh," and "Dragonfly." Concluding with with an account of Earthsea's history, people, languages, literature, and magic, this collection also features two new maps of Earthsea. less...
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    The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
    Amazon Says: In the post-Napoleonic era, Edmond Dantès, a young sailor from Marseilles, is poised to become captain of his own ship and to marry his beloved. But spiteful enemies pr more...
    Amazon Says: In the post-Napoleonic era, Edmond Dantès, a young sailor from Marseilles, is poised to become captain of his own ship and to marry his beloved. But spiteful enemies provoke his arrest, condemning him to lifelong imprisonment. Then Edmond’s sole companion in prison reveals his secret plan of escape and a letter with directions to hidden riches on the island of Monte Cristo—a treasure trove that will eventually fund Edmund’s dream of creating a new identity for himself: the mysterious and powerful Count of Monte Cristo. In The Count of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas employed all the elements of compelling drama—suspense, intrigue, love, vengeance, rousing adventure, and the triumph of good over evil—that contribute to this classic story’s irresistible and timeless appeal. less...
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    Amazon Says: Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classi more...
    Amazon Says: Here is the remarkable true story of the real Count of Monte Cristo – a stunning feat of historical sleuthing that brings to life the forgotten hero who inspired such classics as The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers. The real-life protagonist of The Black Count, General Alex Dumas, is a man almost unknown today yet with a story that is strikingly familiar, because his son, the novelist Alexandre Dumas, used it to create some of the best loved heroes of literature. Yet, hidden behind these swashbuckling adventures was an even more incredible secret: the real hero was the son of a black slave -- who rose higher in the white world than any man of his race would before our own time.  Born in Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), Alex Dumas was briefly sold into bondage but made his way to Paris where he was schooled as a sword-fighting member of the French aristocracy. Enlisting as a private, he rose to command armies at the height of the Revolution, in an audacious campaign across Europe and the Middle East – until he met an implacable enemy he could not defeat. The Black Count is simultaneously a riveting adventure story, a lushly textured evocation of 18th-century France, and a window into the modern world’s first multi-racial society. But it is also a heartbreaking story of the enduring bonds of love between a father and son.   less...
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    Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
    Amazon Says: Joining Bruce Coville's earlier prose adaptations of Shakespeare's plays is this picture book treatment of the Bard's most popular work ever. The tender story of the yo more...
    Amazon Says: Joining Bruce Coville's earlier prose adaptations of Shakespeare's plays is this picture book treatment of the Bard's most popular work ever. The tender story of the young star-crossed lovers from warring families, Romeo and Juliet has moved audiences to tears for four hundred years. And Coville tells it in a way that will surely whet the appetite of young audiences, who will then find even greater enjoyment in the original. As with his earlier adaptations, Coville expertly combines his own dramatic language with key lines from the play. Dennis Nolan, who illustrated Coville's version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, contributes stunning paintings, including a gatefold of the famous balcony scene. In addition to A Midsummer Night's Dream, which Publishers Weekly called "A first rate entree to the Bard," Coville also retold The Tempest and Macbeth. Of the latter, School Library Journal said, "Coville's muscular sentences, full of dramatic word choices, make this a good read-aloud." Both Macbeth and A Midsummer Night's Dream were honored as ALA Quick Picks for Young Adults. less...
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