It was a quiet Friday afternoon, but not so quiet at the Stettler Public Library where author and magician Marty Chan had some kids screaming for more of his ‘magic tricks’ as he performed and enchanted them on July 22, from 2-4 p.m.
Although it was the first time that Chan was performing at the Stettler Public Library, it was easy to see that he had already formed a bond with his audience within the first few minutes into the show.
“I had a blast talking to the kids, and sometimes even though it’s hard to engage kids when you’re talking about books and writing, these kids were eager,” said Chan. “There were even two girls who had brought their personal copies of my books for me to autograph.”
Chan started his career as a playwright, writing mostly plays for adults.
His hit play, ‘Mom, Dad, I’m Living with a White Girl’ has toured across Canada and finished with a Broadway production in 2004.
Around the same time as the New York production was closing, Chan decided to try his hand at kids’ fiction.
“I wrote The Mystery of the Frozen Brains, which kicked off my career and since that first novel, I’ve written 11 books, including my newest book, Keepers of the Vault: Fire and Glass, which is a thriller for reluctant readers,” said Chan.
Chan’s audience at the library liked the newspaper trick, but they were really keen about the various handcuffs and how Chan would free himself from those.
“Cole who tried on the cuffs was pretty excited and I think he was a little disappointed when he didn’t get to also put on the straitjacket,” added Chan.
Chan said he started incorporating stage magic into his author presentations as a way to engage the kids with visual props.
“The more I researched magic, the more I realized the parallels between stage magic and writing,” said Chan. “Magicians and writers are both trying to weave a story together, magicians use cards and silks while authors use pen and paper.”
Chan’s personal favourite is the book trick that he uses at the end of his presentations. “It’s the perfect metaphor about how adding details can make a story come to life,” said Chan. “Additionally, it involves his picture book True Story so that he can show the creative process in a fun way.”
Chan said that he was thrilled that the Stettler Public Library is committed to children’s programs.
“If you can hook a kid into reading at an early age, you are likely to have a reader for life,” said Chan.