The North Merrick Public Library celebrated Pokémon Day on March 11 — where children of all ages could “be the very best, like no one ever was.”
Many children were excited to learn more about popular Pokémon characters like Charmander, Pikachu and Bulbasaur, among several others, with the library’s own professor in the field, Britany Georgalas.
The Pokémon franchise has its roots in a gaming magazine, Game Freak, which first appeared in the early 1980s in Japan. It was created by writer Satoshi Tajiri and illustrator Ken Sugimori. It became popular in 1996 due to its trading card game and animated TV series. Pokémon is short for “Pocket Monsters,” the original Japanese name.
Players take on the role of a Pokémon trainer traveling the world. The games begin with each player choosing one Pokémon as their starter. They then collect the little pocket monsters, inspired by Tajiri’s childhood love for insects, and train them in battles with other Pokémon.
The animated series and card games began with 151 Pokémon characters, and each generation introduced more and more to the Pokédex, a database with all the present Pokémon and their battle profiles. Right now, the games feature 1015 characters.
At the library, the day included Pokémon crafts in the children’s room, and a Pokémon card trading event where young trainers brought their cards to trade and battle. Afterwards, they enjoyed Pokémon bingo for new and experienced trainers and a screening of the classic franchise film, Pokémon 2000.
Veronica Taylor, the original voice actress of Ash Ketchum in the American Pokémon series, made a welcomed, virtual appearance at the event.
“I employ my imagination and creativity every day,” Taylor told an eager crowd of fans, “and a lot of that I got from reading books.”