Need a way to fill your library with young readers? And what is the best way to keep that group of youngsters attentive, entertained and excited about reading? Why not invite a veteran elementary school teacher who just so happens to be a magician?

T.J. Shimeld is the master of keeping children’s attention while he weaves book talks, magic, juggling, puppetry, colorful props and costumes along with music throughout his forty-five minute programs. His programs are specifically designed to keep the most restless child enthralled, but also aligns his programs with state curriculums so the children are learning along the way as well.

Shimeld’s latest summer reading program, “Pirate Possibilities,” shares books about the high seas and those who traversed them, and how our society has elevated these peg-legged, eye-patched pirates to be strong people of possibility rather than weak people of disability. It encourages us all to embrace our difference as our strength.

Influenced by his work with his non-profit for people with disabilities, The Vanishing Wheelchair, Shimeld becomes the costumed character Wendal Wandell, the Wordsmith of Wonder, to present this program which is guaranteed to get your children excited about reading and discovering their own possibilities at the library!

Once Upon My Time – Exploring the Worlds We Create

-Writing and Creativity Reading Program

Author, teacher, and theatrical performer TJ Shimeld portrays Wendal Wandell, the Wordsmith of Wonder. Sharing beloved books, miraculous magic, juggling gestures, and playful puppetry, along with classical music, Wendal helps your students read, write, and express themselves creatively.

The curriculum-based assembly program, “Once Upon My Time,” explores the creative process of individuals who express their unique worlds through stories. Using books and the writing process, Wendal reveals his world encouraging your kids to explore their own imagination.

The exciting program combines puppetry, juggling, theatrical expression, and magical moments to inspire children to write their own life stories and explore their own creative worlds. Wendal Wandell shares some of his favorite books and biographies of the authors behind them to inspire children to see the events in their own lives as the beginnings of a wonder world all their own that can be expressed through the arts.

Again, We Begin Again – Celebrating World Festivals of the New Year

-Geography and Cultural Diversity Reading Program

TJ Shimeld, returns as Wendal Wandell to magically travel the world through books to explore winter festivals from the Winter Solstice to Kwanza, from the Western New Year to the Chinese New Year. Through magic, juggling, and puppetry, children learn cultural diversity and the gift of forgiveness with the ability to begin anew. Find the beloved Wendal Wandell magically traveling the world through books to explore the ceremonies and festivals of winter, the closing of one year, and the beginning anew. With the foundation of geography and cultural diversity, Wendal explores everything from the Winter Solstice to Kwanza, from the western New Year to the Chinese New Year, as well as the calendar and the seasons

Make a Splash in the Past – Traveling through the History of the Southeast

-History Reading Program

Author, teacher, and theatrical performer, TJ Shimeld, as Wendal Wandell, takes your children back in time to share the history of the Southeast. Using children’s literature along with period games, magic, music, and costumes, children learn about the impact individuals have had on history such as George Washington, Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Davy Crockett, the Wright brothers, Jimmy Carter, Martin Luther King, and Pearl S. Buck. Their inspirational stories get children to consider how they, too, can make history.

Themes covered in the program include inventions, civil rights, book and peace awards, the colonial era, flight, exploration, politics, the Civil War, and leadership all to get the children to consider how they can make a splash in history.

One World – Your World – The Many Ways You Can Help

Recycling Reading Program

Your children will learn to take better care of their environment as they learn the principles of magic of transformation and restoration. They will become recycling magicians to help Wendal Wandell clean up the Naunie Naunie Woods.

Author, teacher, and theatrical performer, TJ Shimeld, created this program in association with Yale University’s Recycling Coordinator. It weaves the wonder of puppetry, magic, and inspirational books to show the many ways students can help save the world.

Dig into the Past – Exploring Ancient Egypt and Simple Machines

-Mathematics, Simple Machine and Ancient Egypt History Reading Program

Educator TJ Shimeld becomes the Wordsmith of Wonder, Wendal Wandell, while exploring ancient Egypt, the five simple machines, and mathematics, Wendal Wandell brings books to life with glorious costumes, magic, puppetry, and hands-on demonstrations to get kids excited about how books can transport us across time and space.

Live Your Dreams

–Self-esteem Reading Program

Author TJ Shimeld becomes Wendal Wandell, the Wordsmith of Wonder, to inspire children to explore themselves and their world at the library. Live Your Dreams is a reading program about self-esteem, tolerance, and the discovery of unlikely heroes. Based on his work with his non-profit, The Vanishing Wheelchair, Inc., and his latest book, Tricky D. Bunn (a touching story of the magical friendship between a boy and a rabbit with disabilities), Wendal shows children how to see each other and themselves through loving eyes, to see the hero in each other, and to not judge a book by its cover.

Do You Hear What I Hear? – Exploring the Magic of Music

–Music Reading Program

Author, teacher, and theatrical performer, TJ Shimeld, becomes the Wordsmith of Wonder, Wendal Wandell, to use magic, music, and puppetry to excite your children about books. Wendal will explore the principals of hearing and sound as it relates to social and emotional communication using books, music, and hands-on science experiments so children learn that the library really rocks!

Wendal Wandell’s Stage Performance of

“Making A Splash In The Past”