Magician dazzles crowd at summer reading program finale
BY DEBBIE PAGE
Giggles and gasps of wonder filled the J. Hoyt Hayes Memorial Troutman Library on Wednesday afternoon as magician and educator Steve Somers performed amazing tricks as he talked about the wonderful universe of knowledge available in books.
Somers kept both adults and kids laughing with his hokey jokes and sensational tricks, for which he invited young assistants to assist. Between his deft skills with magical scarves, levitating tables, gravity-defying space water, amazing balancing acts, a blank coloring book with magically appearing drawings and colors, and rabbit David Hopperfield conjured from his magical box, Somers encouraged the kids to use their imaginations to dream big.
Read books and learning can make those dreams come true.
Somers displayed books about Walt Disney, Wilma Rudolf, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and astronauts Alan Shepherd and Neil Armstrong to demonstrate how kids just like them who worked hard achieved their dreams as adults.
Using the summer reading space theme of the Universe of Stories, Somers taught the audience about all the amazing inventions that came from space program research, including laptop size computers, small cameras that people now have in cellphones, the dust buster (used on the moon surface), scratch-resistant lenses, home insulation, and modern athletic shoes.
Somers and his inventor puppet Tucker the Turtle also performed comic antics that left the kids in stitches while teaching them about various inventors and inventions, including George Washington Carver, who came up with 300 ways to use peanuts, and Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone.
He also explained that yummy things like cheeseburgers were invented at a county fair over 100 years ago, while donuts first appeared 500 years ago in Holland.
Somers also encouraged kids to reach beyond what seems “impossible,” challenging them to see everything as possible with a positive attitude. He cited the British Olympian Roger Bannister, the track star who broke the seeming impossible 4-minute mile barrier; the Wright Brothers, who built the first flying machine; and the NASA feat of reach the moon as examples of people believing they could do the impossible.
“Anything is possible if you are willing to work for it and believe in it,” Somers said. “An ‘I can’ attitude can help you do anything” like Philo Farnsworth, who invented the first television at age 14. “He had a positive attitude and a powerful imagination.”
“Imagination helps you see things not as they are but what they can become. You can do it too!”
Somers said his imagination, encouraged by his Aunt Gladys and Uncle Jack, and his love of magic, which he perfected through books about magic tricks, led him to his dream of being a magician and performer for the past 13 years after 20 years in the classroom as a teacher.
“Albert Einstein said that imagination is more important than knowledge. Imagination is a powerful thing, and we all need to use it. My aunt and uncle, if they were here, they would say that imagination is the real power of life.”
To learn more about Steve Somers, visit https://www.amazingteacher.com