Ghibli Talk: First Film

What was your first experience of Ghibli Studios?

Mine was Castle in the Sky.

This was the cover

I was in 10 or 11 when I saw a VHS (yep, a VHS!) with a castle floating in the sky, people flying about, and two kids staring off into the distance. Immediately, I was entranced. Sure, you shouldn’t judge a book or movie by it’s cover, but I knew I had to have it.

So, with my allowance money, I bought it then and there.

The flying machines. The magic. The colors–I couldn’t get enough of it. It became my favorite movie. Even though it was 2 hours long, I’d watch it over and over. My art and writing projects at school began to incorporate flying scooters and magical stones. The movie had my heart full of adventure.

The scenes getting to and on Laputa are the most prevalent in my mind. Storm clouds whipping about and ripping up airships that are unlucky enough to enter them. Buildings underwater! Animals! Especially the indoor garden. Oh the colors…

As I watch the movie as I get older, I latch onto different details. The real danger Sheeta and Pazu are in, and how courageous they are in the face of a situation they were forced into. How crazy Muska is. Dola’s impressive adaptability (who runs on train carts??). And how smart and skilled Sheeta and Pazu are–I’m always inspired to identify my own skills and improve on my confidence with them after watching them interact on Dola’s ship.

There was no way I’d know this was the opening to a love of animation and pictures to tell a story. I watched Pokemon and Yu-Gi-Oh on my Saturday mornings, but those didn’t foster a spark to tell my own stories.

Castle in the Sky isn’t my ultimate favorite Ghibli film, but it holds a very special place in my heart. What’s your first Ghibli film? Please share in the comments below!


Nostalgia: Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

When I was younger, reading poetry was not my first choice in picking up a book. Listening to poetry: fine. Reading by my lonesome: confusion!~ When I bought Song of the Sparrow at a Scholastic book fair, I had no idea it was a poem. The cover was pretty. And it dealt with Elaine from King Arthur. Best. Things. Ever!


Song of the Sparrow was my first introduction to epic poetry. As I read it, all I thought was that the author wrote different. Even with my lack of knowledge of the medium I was reading, I zoomed through the book, and immediately read it again.

Protagonist Elaine, of the poem Lady of Shallot, lives in the encampment of Arthur with her father and brothers. She mingles with the soldiers as though she’s one of them, having grown up under all their wings. Her skills in healing, taught to her by Arthur’s older sister Morgan, help the outpost a lot.

True to her legend, she is in love with Lancelot–in this version, a young man who befriended her when she first arrived for refuge in the camp, and listened to every childish request to play even when he was busy. She’s only 16 in this retelling, also.

When Arthur’s father is poisoned and Arthur becomes the leader, the camp is divided. Because of his youth, many leave. This event snowballs into others, including an alliance formed on the arranged marriage of one Gwynivere.

All puzzle pieces start coming together, and the story goes on!

What stuck out in this Arthurian tale? The friendships! Everyone is in friendship, and it’s so genuine and loving. Over the story, Elaine grows into friendship with the cat-eyed Tristan. A friend her age who was disowned by his father and is cursed to love someone he shouldn’t love. They terrorize Gwynivere when she arrives. Her childhood friendship in Lancelot evolves into a childish crush, though it is wrought with heartbreak. Gentle Arthur always listens to her counsel. Even when Elaine and Gwynivere start off on the wrong foot, overcoming their adversaries blossoms their friendship.

If you’re into retold Arthurian Legends, pick up this book!

What is your favorite redone Arthurian Legend? I’ve love to hear your recommendations!