* Holiday Ornament Competition for Berks County students in grades K-5 (public, private, virtual, home school). Create a holiday ornament for our museum tree. Be creative, using one or more of these Updike symbols: centaur, rabbit, books, typewriter, art/palette, church steeple, pigeon, or basketball. First Prize is $50, with two honorable mentions of $25 each. Many of the ornaments will be displayed in the house. Drop off ornaments Dec. 4 and Dec. 11—Drop off ornaments from 12-2 p.m. at the house, 117 Philadelphia Avenue, Shillington, on Sat. Dec. 4 or Sat. Dec. 11. Winners will be notified by Dec. 18.
The John Updike Society, which owns and operates The John Updike Childhood Home, will hold programs on the life and literature of John Updike and on different aspects of the house’s rich history and inhabitants—including Howard Shilling, son of Shillington founder Samuel Shilling and one of the citizens responsible for organizing the Borough. Programs in the near future may include a non-stop reading of the Rabbit quartet during Banned Books Week; a “Favorite Updike” reading by students, faculty, childhood friends and neighbors on Updike’s birthday; and on-site educational programs for school field trips. Contact education director Maria Lester if you are interested in working with her on a combined visit and activity/reading assignment/program, email@example.com.
The John Updike Childhood Home presently has paperback copies of his first major Berks County novel, Rabbit, Run, which was recently chosen by Entertainment Weekly as the novel that best captures the spirit and character of Pennsylvania. Be warned that the content is for mature audiences only, but these books are available to be checked out by local book clubs and community groups so that their members can read the novel . . . then discuss it right in the house where Updike said his “artistic eggs were hatched.” Our education room has comfortable folding chairs and your before or after your discussion you can have a tour of the house. Contact education director Maria Lester (firstname.lastname@example.org) if your group would like to take advantage of this offer. In the future, the John Updike Society plans to buy copies of Updike’s other Pennsylvania fictions to loan to reading groups as well. Let us know what Updike books you’re hoping to read and discuss next!