Books and Battles blends gaming, math and creativity

Brothers Phineas (left) and Yorick Hertz show off the figurines they painted at the Newhall library's "Books & Battles" program. Matt Fernandez/ The Signal

With the school day concluded, teenage patrons of the Old Town Newhall Library rushed to the Teen Zone section to participate in the latest “Book & Battles” session. 

Books & Battles is the Santa Clarita Library’s tabletop and role-playing game group for high school students. In addition games like “Dungeons & Dragons,” the library also hosts crafting sessions. On Monday, students had introductory lessons on how to play “D&D” and were also able to paint miniature figures of their characters in anticipation of the library’s upcoming campaign. 

“We’re trying to do STEAM-related things at the library, so with this, we’re not just including math with the dice, but art,” said Michelle Field, a librarian assistant who helped run the program. “Painting mini figures helps them learn fine motor skills and also allows them to be creative. Not only that, we’re also providing kids with a safe, fun place to hang out.”

Bryn Clark discovered Books & Battles on the library’s website after her sons expressed an interest in playing with children their age. Clark, who has played D&D since she was a child, said she is glad for an opportunity in the community for her children to play for free with their peers. 

“You can make a D&D game into anything you want, which encourages kids to use their imaginations,” she said. “It’s hard sometimes for more introverted kids to make friends and meet new people in person rather than on the internet, so having other geeky kids to interact with is really important to me as a parent.”

Her son Phineas painted a dwarf figure, while his brother Yorick painted a skeleton warrior. Phineas said he likes the adventure of D&D and how everything in the game is controlled by a roll of the dice. 

“I’m enjoying the mini figure painting because I like to paint and customize my character,” Phineas said. “Dungeons & Dragons is a great influence on kids because it allows them to use the creative parts of their mind.”

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