Children at Brundidge library learn the magic of reading

Published 10:34 am Friday, June 28, 2013

For 30 years, Steve Burgess has been on the other side of laughter.

Burgess is a magician who must keep a straight face when those before him are giggling and squealing with delight.

He’s good at what he does.

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The children at the Tupper Lightfoot Memorial Library’s Summer Reading Program Thursday give testimony to that.

Burgess is somewhat of a regular at the Brundidge public library’s summer program. He is back each year by popular demand.

“Mr. Burgess is very popular with the children,” said Jennifer Amlong, children’s librarian. “Some of the children have seen him before. Others are seeing him for the first time, but that doesn’t matter. They enjoy his show.”

Burgess is a Baptist minister in his home state of Tennessee. His magic show is an extension of his ministry. It brings laughter to people of all ages, he said.

Burgess said that he gets pleasure from the laughter of children at simple, and maybe silly, magic tricks, and a joy in seeing them excited about reading.

Even in the world of technology and theme parks, Burgess said that children are still drawn to magic.

“Magic is surprise,” he said. “It’s an illustration with a surprise ending and children like that. I enjoy the interaction with the children. The magic is simple. I don’t try to trick the children. I just surprise them in a way that’s fun.”

Burgess said that he has been interested in magic since childhood but, in later years, it was Cliff Holman of Birmingham who inspired him to take his show on the road.

Burgess’ shows always takes the theme of the summer reading program, which this year is “Dig into Reading.” He introduced the children at the summer reading program to several books about pirates, who are always looking for treasures.

“But the real treasures are found in books,” Burgess said. “So, ‘dig into reading’ and you’ll find all kinds of treasures.”