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Jedi Academy | The force is strong with these readers

Wearing her Leah buns Kayla Torres, 8, laughs as she creates her own Star Wars character during the Jedi Academy at the Centre County Library in Bellefonte on Thursday, July 2, 2015.
Wearing her Leah buns Kayla Torres, 8, laughs as she creates her own Star Wars character during the Jedi Academy at the Centre County Library in Bellefonte on Thursday, July 2, 2015. CDT photo

Aspiring Jedi Knights no longer have to travel to a galaxy far, far away.

Centre County Library and Historical Museum is running its own Jedi Academy in Bellefonte — a far more central location — so that up-and-coming Padawans can learn to master The Force from the comfort of their own space sector.

If they happen to pick up a book while they’re there, all the better.

The six-week program is being held in conjunction with the library’s Every Hero Has a Story summer reading initiative.

“We’re focusing on obviously super heroes but also community heroes,” youth programmer and library assistant Kathleen Edwards said.

Thursday aftenoon’s adventure was all about “Star Wars.” Young Jedi perfected their aim with a bean bag, profiled dangerous new life forms and kept their energy up by snacking on asteroid balls (cheese balls) and bottles labeled Luke Skywater.

“I know why they say Skywater — because the sky rains water. Get it?,” future Jedi Joey Torres said.

Joey and his classmates kept busy constructing headbands with green Yoda ears or Princess Leia’s trademark hair buns.

Ian Lebold was so eager to see how his new ears suited his face that he ran out of the room to find a mirror.

“Somehow I fear we’re going to be going to Target with Yoda ears,” Carol Lebold, Ian’s mother, said.

Ian has actually never seen any of the “Star Wars” movies, but has gathered a pretty extensive knowledge of the space saga. He’s played with the action figures, wielded a pool noodle lightsaber and, perhaps most importantly, owns a copy of the “Star Wars Visual Dictionary.”

“I’m lucky he likes to read. It’s math that we need to work on,” Lebold said.

“Star Wars” may be able to help there too.

One of the games the kids played involved “Star Wars”-themed dice. Characters like C-3P0 and R2-D2 were assigned different point values, which accumulated with each roll.

Afterwardswords, Lebold asked Edwards where she could buy the dice.

At the end of the hour, the kids left with an extra bag of cheese balls and some “Star Wars” books to take up to the circulation desk for checkout.

Jedi Academy will continue from 3 to 4 p.m. every Thursday for the rest of the month. Future lessons will see Jedi experiment with galaxy slime, origami Yodas and pool-noodle lightsabers.

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