Big Blue Marble        Big Blue Marble Bookstore        Big Blue Marble
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Saturday, June 18, 6:00pm.
It begins! Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 1.

  • 6 pm - Harry Potter Warm Up – Make a wand of your own, and decorate your own Harry-Potter-style glasses!
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Sorcerer’s Stone

Sunday, June 19, 10:30am.      Event for Kids and their Grownups
Celebrate Juneteenth! Our second annual reading of Angela Johnson's All Different Now!

On June 19, 1865, enslaved Texans finally learned that they were free, under the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Join staffer Jen Sheffield to commemorate this date with a picture book reading of All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom, written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

Offsite Event! Monday, June 20, 6:00pm, at the Parkway Central Library.
An Evening with Simone Zelitch.

Author Simone Zelitch celebrates the launch of her newest novel, Judenstaat, at the Free Library. Big Blue Marble will be on hand selling books!
Judenstaat imagines the creation of a different Jewish state in 1948, one created in the territory of Saxony bordering Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. The event includes some of Judenstaat's national foods, and a discussion of how the book was researched and constructed.

Thursday, June 23, 5:00-7:00pm.
Dungeons & Dragons (at the bookstore!) Informational Session.

Dungeons & Dragons is coming to Big Blue Marble Bookstore this summer! Whether you're experienced, new to the game, or simply curious - a group of local adventurers is starting a new weekly game of Dungeons & Dragons at Big Blue Marble Bookstore on Thursday evenings. On Thursday, June 23rd, we'll hold an informational session at the store. We'll help you make a character and tell you a little more about the game. Our table is is open to experienced players and beginners alike. It will be more fun if you plan to attend weekly, but you're also welcome to come once and try it out. Recommended for ages 10 and up.

Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy role-playing game that's been around since the seventies. Each player designs a character according to their interests. Perhaps you're a wizard, a bard, a rogue or an assassin. And maybe you'd like to play an elf, a human, or a halfling. We'll lead you on a series of adventures through fantastical realms with all kinds of interesting creatures. Your character will fight ghouls, assist oppressed people and collect magical items. You can read more about Dungeons & Dragons here, or contact us for more information:

Friday, June 24, 7:15pm.
Poetry Aloud & Alive. Featured reader: Charlie O'Hay.
Everyone's favorite neighborhood poetry gathering. Hosted by local poet Mike Cohen, with a featured reader and an open reading to follow. For more information, please contact the Mad Poets Society.

Saturday, June 25, 1:00-3:00pm.      Event for Kids and Adults
Cooking for Ramadan for adults and kids with Suad Mansour, author of the English/Arabic book Let’s Cook for Ramadan!

Big Blue Marble is happy to host Suad Mansour as she introduces some simple and delicious dishes for Ramadan from her English/Arabic cookbook Let’s Cook for Ramadan!. The book, and the event, is for kids and adults. Note: because this event happens during Ramadan, when Muslims are fasting during daylight hours, all guests are asked to respect those who are fasting by saving their treats to eat after the event, or after sundown.
Let’s Cook For Ramadan! is an English/Arabic cookbook for children from Morning Circle Media. The book features stories and photos of teenagers from Philadelphia’s Sudanese and Middle Eastern communities. Suad Mansour began this project because she could find no Ramadan cookbooks geared toward children, and worked with Morning Circle Media to create a beautifully illustrated cookbook for ages 4 and up.

Suad Mansour was born in Sudan, Africa, and immigrated to the United States in 1999. She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Family Science from Ahfad University in Sudan and a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Organizational Management from Springfield College in Delaware. Suad has worked in community development with local and international organizations in Sudan and the United States. She has also worked in the Philadelphia public schools as a mental health educator. She lives with her husband and daughter in Philadelphia. Let’s Cook For Ramadan! is her first children’s book.

Saturday, June 25, 6:00pm.
Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 2.

  • 6 pm - Dobby Sock Contest – Wear your most outrageous mismatched socks! Take your picture in our Harry Potter Photo Booth!
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Sunday, June 26, 4:00-6:00pm.
Artist Kristy Rice will live-demo pages from the first ever Watercoloring Books for Adults. Paints and pages will be available so you too can join the fun!

Big Blue Marble believes in creativity and fun, and we are happy to host artist Kristy Rice as she leads an afternoon of joyful, no-stress, learning how to paint with watercolors. Sample pages from her books and paints will be provided. The event is free, but reservations are required. Email to hold your place!
Kristy Rice now has three watercoloring books: Painterly Days, Painterly Days Woodlands, and Painterly Days Patterns. Each contains 25 sketches and is printed on lovely watercolor paper to invite artistic experimentation with only a brush and paint. Each page is double-sided, offering the opportunity to paint the same page in different ways. The author shares painting tips for each sketch and advice for discovering the artist within. Also included is a painting tutorial and handy color wheel. Each book is small enough to carry anywhere and simple to use. Creativity is an escape, and this book offers a delightful way to make art regardless of skill level.

For the last 14 years, Kristy Rice's personal obsession with paint and paper has evolved into an innovative brand which garners global attention from media, celebrities, and some of the world's most creative individuals. Along with a team of eight inspiring women, Kristy continues to innovate in the worlds of styling, stationery, design, art licensing and now authorship. Kristy has transformed event stationery into a persuasive and compelling medium that brings the power of artistic storytelling to countless worldwide.

Thursday, June 30, 7:00pm.
A Summer Evening of Funny and Yet Still Brilliant Fiction!

Big Blue Marble happily welcomes the return of James Magruder, with his new novel Love Slaves of Helen Hadley Hall, set among a free-loving group of Yale students in the 1980s. Joining him will be award-winning author Jessica Anya Blau and her newest novel The Trouble with Lexie, the story of a counselor at an exclusive New England prep school, whose search for love leads her into wild trouble. Can a novel be both a juicy beach read and excellent writing? But of course!


Saturday, July 2, 6:00pm.
Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 3.

  • 6 pm - Animagus/Patronus Costume Contest - What animal will you be? Make your own Azkaban Wanted Poster!
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Wednesday, July 6, 7:00pm.
Publishing for Poets with Elliott batTzedek.

Print journals, online journals, famous journals, upstart journals, submission services, contests, open reading periods -- how's a poet supposed to navigate all of this and still have time to write? In this 2 hour workshop, Elliott will introduce you to the world of poetry publications.
More details, including cost and registration info, on our Classes page.

Saturday, July 9, 6:00pm.
Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 4.

  • 6 pm - Contest: Can you get your name into the Goblet of Fire?
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Wednesday, July 13, 6:00pm.
Queer Literary Alliance Book Group.

QLA is a monthly book club open to everyone, focusing on queer books. Queer books exist in every genre and we hope to celebrate that, intentionally focusing on books by non-white people, non-cis folk, people with disabilities, and other identities sometimes marginalized by the greater queer community. We will meet 2nd Wednesdays of the month at 6:00pm. July's book: Redefining Realness by Janet Mock.

Thursday, July 14, 7:00pm.
Reading with Katherine Crawford, local author of Mine.

Big Blue Marble is happy to host Mt Airy native and Springside and Swarthmore grad Katherine Crawford and her debut novel, Mine. Mine is the story of two sisters, Maggie and Janie, bonded by the loss of their sister and later their mother. The girls begin their life in the coal region of Pennsylvania, but Maggie is determined to find a way out. As the sisters’ lives diverge, we learn how they remain both entwined and distant, their shared past resurfacing regardless of their distance from home.

Katherine Crawford is a 1993 graduate of Swarthmore College. She taught public elementary school in both Philadelphia and Swarthmore for nine years following graduation. She currently resides in Swarthmore with her husband John and their four children, John, Ava, Rowe, and Anthony. When not staring at the screen and figuring out what to write next, she enjoys gardening, walking in the woods, and a mild addiction to the game of platform tennis.

Friday, July 15, 7:00pm.
A Night of Serious Fun with Latasha Shears and Sue and Chelsea Badeau.

Three local authors/illustrators bring their new books to Big Blue Marble. Mother/daughter team Sue and Chelsea Badeau will lead coloring and discussion for their new book, Bridges of Hope: A Coloring Book for Adults Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma. Latasha Shears will be leading a spirited discussion of marriage around her new book, Dear Wives, Side Chicks are Winning.

Saturday, July 16, 6:00pm.
Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 5.

  • 6 pm - Activities: Create your own prophecy and orb! AND Create your own Educational Decrees!
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Thursday, July 21, 7:00pm.
Reading with Chantal Jauvin, author of The Boy with a Bamboo Heart: The Story of a Street Orphan Who Built a Children’s Charity.

Philadelphia author Chantal Jauvin comes to the Big Blue Marble with her new book, The Boy with a Bamboo Heart: The Story of a Street Orphan Who Built a Children’s Charity. Through a powerful autobiographical novel, we meet Lek (“Little One”) who grew up as a street orphan in Thailand, became a boy soldier in the Indonesian War, and rose above to become one of the greatest philanthropists of our time. Lek, the illiterate street orphan, became Dr. Amporn Wathanavongs, a man who now devotes his life helping children learn to read and write through the nonprofit the founded: The Foundation for Rehabilitation & Development of Children and Family (FORDEC), where he is known as the foster father to 50,000.
Guests are invited to bring a new or gently-used children’s book, which will be donated on behalf of the non-profit organization Reading Recycled to underprivileged children in the Philadelphia area who will benefit from the power of reading. Learn more about FORDEC at

For the first six weeks of her life, Chantal Jauvin had an identical twin. From the time her sister died, her mother told her, “You have the strength of two.” This has been a driving force throughout Chantal’s life. She has combined her passion for experiencing other cultures with her pursuit of an international career. She has lived in Mexico, Cambodia, Russia, the U.S., and Austria, taking shorter assignments in Vietnam and pursuing her MBA studies in the UK. Chantal believes that creativity is the ability to connect dots in a new way. Igniting her lifelong passion for language and other cultures, Chantal has turned her attention to writing in her quest to understand how our souls are touched by the blended world in which we live.
Dr Amporn Wathanavongs, "the foster father of 50,000 children," is one of Thailand's most generous benefactors. Through his nongovernmental organization the Foundation for Rehabilitation and Development of Children and Family (FORDEC), he runs more than 80 centres aimed at improving conditions for children in Thailand. His story is a bitter one: "I was a thief and a beggar," he says. His parents died when he was six years and he spent the next 12 years on the streets of Surin, a town in Thailand's northeast. He was totally illiterate and lived off stealing. Through finding mentors and spiritual leaders, he became an expert in child care who, upon retirement from an NGO, founded FORDEC, which now serves some 15,000 children, destitute or disabled people, drug addicts, and HIV-positive people.

Friday, July 22, 7:15pm.
Poetry Aloud & Alive. Featured reader: Alina Macneal.
Everyone's favorite neighborhood poetry gathering. Hosted by local poet Mike Cohen, with a featured reader and an open reading to follow. For more information, please contact the Mad Poets Society.

Saturday, July 23, 6:00pm.
Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 6.

  • 6 pm - Activities: POTION MAKING! Mix your own magic - but you'll have to taste test it! AND Invent your own magic spells.
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Mt. Airy Village Event! Saturday, July 23, 7:00pm, at the Weavers Way Garage, 542 Carpenter Lane.
Stephen Dinan brings an evolutionary, transpartisan vision in his new book Sacred America, Sacred World: Fulfilling Our Mission in Service to All.

Big Blue Marble hosts activist Stephen Dinan as he shares his manifesto for social change that is both political and deeply spiritual. Infused with visionary power that transcends left or right political views, Sacred America, Sacred World is a manifesto for our country’s evolution that is both political and deeply spiritual. Filled with practical ideas and innovative strategies honed from the author’s work with over 1000 luminaries via The Shift Network, this book rings with a can-do entrepreneurial spirit and explains how America can lead the world toward peace, sustainability, health, and prosperity.

Stephen Dinan is the CEO of The Shift Network, which has served more than 600,000 globally. He is a member of the prestigious Transformational Leadership Council and Evolutionary Leaders group. As the former Director of Membership and Marketing at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, he was the driving force behind the Shift in Action program. Stephen directed and helped to create the Esalen Institute’s Center for Theory & Research, a think tank for leading scholars, researchers, and teachers to explore human potential frontiers. He is the author of Radical Spirit (New World Library). He resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with his family.

Wednesday, July 27, 7:15pm.
Memoir Book Group.

A cooperatively led memoir book group. We will meet the last Wednesday of the month, from 7:15pm-8:30pm. July selection: Red Azalea by Anchee Min.
This new book group replaces the Life Stories Book Group, in the same time slot.

Thursday, July 28, 7:00pm.
The Grid and the River, Professor Elizabeth Milroy’s study of Philadelphia’s Green Spaces.

Philadelphians are fond of quoting a letter in which William Penn described his vision of a “greene country towne, which will never be burnt & always wholesome.” The Grid and the River: Philadelphia’s Green Places, 1682-1876 is the product of Elizabeth Milroy’s quest to understand the history of public green spaces in William Penn’s city. In this monumental work of urban history, Milroy traces efforts to keep Philadelphia “green” from the time of its founding to the late nineteenth century.

Elizabeth Milroy teaches courses in the history of Western art in the modern period, with a specialty in art and material culture in North America (the United States, Mexico and Canada) from the colonial period to the 20th century. She coedited the anthology Reading American Art, which is now a standard textbook in the field. Professor Milroy’s current research focuses on the history of cultural spaces, specifically public parks and historic sites in the city of Philadelphia. Her new book, The Grid and the River: Philadelphia’s Green Places, 1682-1876, was published in March by Penn State University Press. Professor Milroy has also published and lectured widely on such artists as Thomas Eakins, Frederick Law Olmsted, and Emma Stebbins, on the history of art museums and exhibitions, and on the history of public parks.

Friday, July 29, 6:00pm.
Countdown to Harry Potter Multi-Book Release Party, Week 7.

  • 6 pm - Harry Potter Character Guessing Game - In Book 7, our heroes keep changing identities - are you fan enough to keep track?
  • 6:45 pm - Reading of "The Tale of the Three Brothers".
  • 7 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Saturday, July 30 - Sunday, July 31, 6:00pm-12:01am and beyond!
Double Release Party for Snape by local author Lorrie Kim and for the published script of the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!

Happy birthday to (or perhaps from) Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling! The newest work in the Harry Potter world, the script for the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, will be released at midnight between Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31. This play, opening in London July 30 (with previews beginning June 7), takes place 19 years after Harry, Ron, and Hermione defeat Voldemort, and is a study of how family stories echo through generations.
Any new Harry Potter release is a good enough reason for book lovers to party, but this summer we have EVEN MORE: local author Lorrie Kim, who is by her own description obsessed with Severus Snape, will also be releasing her definitive character study of the Half-Blood Prince that same night. Called simply Snape, the book is the perfect present for anyone who has ever melted at the single word "Always."

  • 6 pm - Screening of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
  • 8:30 pm - Starring Severus Snape! Celebration of Snape, Lorrie Kim’s hot-off-the-press definitive study of the potions master. Snape costume contest, trivia, and passionate discussion.
  • 11 pm - Screening of a special documentary on the world of Harry Potter
  • 12:01 am - Get your copy of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child!
  • Reserve your copy of either book (or both) by emailing:

Classes at Big Blue Marble

Please see our Classes page for information on writing workshops and other classes.

Just For Kids

bead maze

Wednesdays, 10:00am.
Big Blue Marble Story Time with Sarah Rose

Come sing songs and read some of the best new and classic kids' books!

Sunday, June 19, 10:30am.      Event for Kids and their Grownups
Celebrate Juneteenth! Our second annual reading of Angela Johnson's All Different Now!

On June 19, 1865, enslaved Texans finally learned that they were free, under the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863. Join staffer Jen Sheffield to commemorate this date with a picture book reading of All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom, written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by E.B. Lewis.

Fridays at 10:30am: Check back for future dates!
Shabbat Storytimes with jkidphilly & Germantown Jewish Center.

Babies, toddlers, and young children and their grown-ups (parents, grandparents, nannies, etc.) are invited to join us for a special storytime, focusing on the joy of Shabbat. We'll read stories, sing songs for Shabbat, and make an easy activity to take home. Juice & challah to enjoy! Led by jkidphilly Center City Director Gabby Kaplan-Mayer and GJC Education Director Rabbi Alanna Sklover.
Questions? Contact Gabby at 215-320-0376.

Final Sundays, 5:00pm. (On hiatus for the summer.)
Not-Bored Family Board Game Night.

Join us for an evening of fun for all ages with new and classic board games. We'll be playing the final Sunday of every month. Game time for younger kids starts at 5 pm, and Teen/Adult games start at 7 pm.

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551 Carpenter Lane
Philadelphia, PA 19119


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  • Book Clubs

    Fourth Thursday, 7:00pm.

    Second Wednesday, 6:00pm.

    Final Wednesday, 7:15pm.

    Visit our book clubs page

    Other Monthly Events

    Fourth Friday, 7:30pm.

    Final Sunday, 5:00pm/7:00pm

    Read our full events listing

    Just for Kids

    Wednesdays, 10:00am.

    Monthly on Fridays, 10:30am.

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