Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland turns 150

A classic John Tenniel illustration from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland—a milestone of longevity that few books reach. A novel about a girl who fell through a rabbit hole to encounter nonsensical talking animals somehow became a classic. Alice has inspired countless adaptations in the form of other books, artwork, live theater, ballet and film. One explanation for its popularity is that the literary nonsense genre is fun for young readers, and also allows for infinite interpretations for adults. It’s a fantasy book for children, a clever satire of Victorian England, and, perhaps, something else altogether.

The Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library is celebrating the book’s anniversary with Alice-themed programs for all ages during its fall season.

This year’s theme for the Science and Nature Study Group is Curiouser and Curiouser, and its activities begin on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 7 p.m., with a program called The Many Sides of the Mushroom, to be held at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The program will explore hallucinogenic, poisonous, and medicinal mushrooms and plants.

For children and families, the Lee Road Library will present an interactive trip through Wonderland on Thursday, Oct. 8, 6–8 p.m., where participants can listen to a story under a giant mushroom.

The Lee Road Library Art Gallery will host Altered Alice, a drop-in program for adults, on Saturday, Oct. 17, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can make mini-books or collages based on the whimsical poems and classic John Tenniel illustrations from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. The gallery will be home to its own interactive Alice-themed exhibit throughout the month of October.

Closing out the celebration, on Monday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m., Dobama Theatre (located in the Lee Road Library building), will present a program called Alice (For the Rest of Us), featuring WCPN’s Dee Perry. This spirited and dynamic presentation will explore the story behind the story, and the sense behind the nonsense.

For more information about Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland-themed programming, visit or call the library at 216-932-3600.

Julia Murphy

Julia Murphy is the marketing and volunteer coordinator for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.

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Volume 8, Issue 9, Posted 1:57 PM, 08.31.2015