Weatherford Public Library’s auditorium was packed to capacity with cheering children Thursday as James Munton, better known as James Wand, used magic to encourage literacy skills among youth.
“I love doing the magic show and entertaining the kids, but I’ve always felt that if I had a captive audience of kids I want to give them a good message as well and teach them something,” he said. “So while they’re laughing and having fun with the magic, I talk to them about the importance of reading books and motivating them to read.”
That motivation can directly result in youth getting books after they leave, Munton said.
“I always love watching them leave the library with their family members with books under their arm and taking those books home with them,” he said. “There’s a lot of things they could be doing during the summer, so visiting the library and reading books, I think is a good thing they’re doing.”
Books lead to a more well-balanced life, Munton said.
“I think it’s important to be informed, to be intelligent and you get those things when you read books,” he said. “It broadens your mind.”
The best part about putting on programs is seeing the reactions from children, Munton said.
When an entire room of children roar in applause and eagerly raise their hands, Munton feels at ease.
“Basically I am the biggest kid in the room,” he said. “I never grow up so I feel like I share their sense of humor and to be honest people get energy from different places, but for me the sound of a bunch of kids just laughing is one of the best sounds to me, I just love it.”
Getting to hear those sounds is best job in the world, Munton said.
“I feel lucky that my job is to go out and put a smile on people’s faces,” he said. “A lot of kids, they can have tough lives back home. They may have family problems, they may be getting bullied, these kids have to cope with a lot. For however long, they can just kick back, laugh and just have a great time.”
There is value in enjoying childhood, Munton said.
“A lot of adults tell kids not to be kids,” he said. “They tell them to not laugh, to be quiet, be serious and go get a job and I think there’s value to just letting kids be kids.
“They like to play, they like to laugh, they like to have fun. There’s a lot of serious stuff out there, let them have a childhood while they can still just enjoy themselves.”
Go to http://jameswand.org/ to learn more.