My kids are pretty good at occupying themselves through the sultry days of summer, and I haven’t heard “Mom — I’m bored. What can I do?” for at least 15 years. But I remember it like it was yesterday.
It’s hard to fathom, sometimes, why kids can’t just mow the lawn and then kick back on the deck like the rest of us. But the truth is, young minds need to be engaged. Beach days get old when the sun shines day after day — and if it doesn’t? Our soggy June meant that this past Monday, when registration opened for the Library’s Summer Reading Club, bouncing youngsters and their glassy-eyed parents were lining up for the signup.
Summer reading clubs have been around as a provincial thing since the 1990s, but libraries have been entertaining our kids through summer programming for a lot longer than that. Themes — those things from which children’s librarians leap into creative frenzy — have included “Wild about Books!”, “Anything can happen when you Read!”, “UnderCover Reader!”, “Extreme Reading!” and “Catch the Reading Bug!”
It’s exciting!! And there are always lots of exclamation points!!!
Until this year.
For 2012, the theme is the mysterious “Strange…but True?” which offers great scope for offerings on programs surrounding magic, talking trees and if featured illustrator Mike Deas’s fabulous renderings are any indication, perhaps an alien or a sasquatch thrown in for good measure. Librarians and Summer Reading Club student workers can be a little odd, too — but in a good way, it’s true.
Here’s the strange but true story of goings-on for our younger growing concerns this summer.
Registration for the Summer Reading Camp, Summer Reading Club or Grow-a-Reader is available at the Library Monday — Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Summer Reading Camps and activity days are fun-themed days for age groups including three to five-year-olds, six to eight-year-olds, and nine to 11-year-olds that include stories, games, crafts, experiments, and more. Wildcard Wednesdays are always exciting, including special events and field trips, and they’re for any small thing under 12 years old.
The Summer Reading Club involves — strange for a library, but true! — reading! Kids take the log home, record the books they’ve read and bring it back to be entered in draws for cool prizes.
The Grow-a-Reader Program is like the Summer Reading Club but for 3 to 5 year olds. For every 15 minutes kids are read to, they can colour one of the badges in the special log book. When it’s full, they can bring it to the library to be entered in a draw for a prize.
There are a couple of special events coming up: The July 4 SRC kickoff party features children’s author Darcee O’Hearn. Her newest book, Leonard the Larch, takes young readers on a forest jaunt with a talking tree. Strange… but true! Darcee’s presentation is made possible by the Arthur P. Campbell project.
More magic occurs on July 16 when Norden the Magician takes his sleight-of-hand to strangely hilarious places. Norden was voted the 2012 KIDabra entertainer of the year. Both events are free, fun, and sure to keep young minds engaged.
Will the sun shine again? Hard to say. But at the library, there are good things happening — with lots of exclamation points!! — all summer long.
Anne DeGrace’s library column is featured in the Star every second Friday