Storybook Boston street-kid Charley Ryan will visit the Boston Public Library South End Branch with a family program of games, demonstrations, presentations and snacks on November 3. The free program, co-sponsored by the South End Historical Society, will feature Donna Seim, author of Charley, and will run from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.
In Seim's based-on-truth children's novel, street-wise Charley is abandoned by his father in 1910, and he and his siblings have no option but to present themselves to the New England Home for Little Wanderers. This isn't the heartless orphanage of cliché, but a real Boston institution that pioneered progressive child care policies (and is still in existence). The orphanage finds a foster home for Charley on a remote Maine farm, where the city boy is expected to milk cows, cut ice, and perform other chores for which he has no training or apparent aptitude. Seim's sympathetic protagonist helps expose young readers to the historic milieu of Boston's early-20th-century working class, institutions like orphanages and the foster care system, and details of New England rural living.
At BPL's South End Branch, Seim will give a slide presentation and read from Charley while dressed in period costume as a schoolteacher from the book. Children will learn how to shoot marbles and milk a cow in the manner of city kids and farm kids of 100 years ago.
Donna Seim is the author of two award-winning picture books, Where is Simon, Sandy? and Satchi and Little Star. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Social Work from Ohio State University and a Master’s in Special Education from Lesley University. She lives in Newbury, Massachusetts.
Boston Public Library South End Branch is at 685 Tremont St. For more information, call 617-536-8241 or visit http://www.bpl.org/branches/southend.htm. For information about the South End Historical Society, visit http://www.southendhistoricalsociety.org.
To learn more about Charley and Donna Seim, visit http://donnaseim.com.