In the Stacks: Reading’s fun in the summer sun

Any book is fair game when school isn't in session

What time is it Mr. Wolf?

Remember that game? Loved it, I was good at it, too.

And what does it have to do with books, libraries, and reading? This is how it plays out in my mind —School’s out for summer, as Alice Cooper rocked in one of the most popular songs you will STILL hear this time of year.

During the school year, I always loved reading, which included the readers we all got to put our names in for the year and keep in our desks. I know that Dick and Jane are now seen as politically incorrect, but, I can’t help it, I loved Sally’s curly yellow hair and the way Spot could run so fast!

And, as I sit here today, I will tell you that the stereotypical roles of the men and women didn’t have much effect on me and keep me tied to an apron string in the kitchen. I love aprons, don’t get me wrong, but that is because I am a messy person, no more, no less.

I have bought old readers online and at garage sales, my favourite being the grade 4 reader “Happy Highways 4”. It had chapters on greek myths, Canadian folk tales and poetry, that, at the time I thought was excellent.

I shall recite, because it lives in my memory … “A capital ship for an ocean trip, was the Whalloping Window Blind. No gale that blew dismayed her crew, nor troubled the captains mind”.

I could write more, but that would be showing off! But where I am going with this is, that in spite of the readers I adored, one of the coolest things I remember about summer was reading whatever I chose. No rules, no deadlines, I could just read.

It’s what I remind the kids that come in class visits to the library before summer vacation. I say, summer isn’t the time to stop reading; it’s the time to read ANYTHING! I tell them, if you want to read Garfield books, you do that, and if your parents get mad, they should come and talk to me! You may also hear me quoted by your children that if they are bored, and start that familiar whine, “I’m bored, I don’t know what to do” that I have suggested one thing that might fix that is a trip to the library. It’s free, there are contests and great books ready for the picking all summer long.

Also noteworthy in my lectures to students, is that you can read anywhere. Under or in a tree, tents, beaches, basements and library corners. And that’s where, ‘What time is it Mr. Wolf’ comes in … if you are going to read outside, don’t forget to play outside. The wonderful old fashioned games that move grannies and toddlers alike are too much fun not to play.

I have even seen the odd teenager tossing a dodgeball, and playing kick the can. I challenge everyone to make this a summer of reading and playing, two rather cheap activities as it turns out. No admission necessary. We have lots of things in our area that lend it self to this from the library’s Summer Reading Club for all ages, child to adult, plus Storytime in the Park every Wednesday, to the Fun Spot program with District of Kent to the Summer Fun Passport, something new and a great way to remember what you can do in town, and enter for prizes doing them.

We have parks and trails in Agassiz-Harrison, we have beaches and river banks for sand-castling and rock hunting. You can be as hot or as cool as you want to be – enjoy the sun poolside, beachfront or spend a little time in the air-conditioned coolness of your Agassiz Library. It’s never been easier or more fun to hang out around home and make your summer awesome.

I always love to recommend some reads in these column inches that the Observer graciously offers the library, and this time, I am suggesting you come and take out a book on those childhood skipping rhymes …. “Not last night but the night before, 24 robbers came knocking at my door. I asked them what they wanted, and this is what they said …” there was a million of them!

There are the classics that you read when you were young that you should read again and share with someone.

Can you read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe too many times? Will we ever get over the dream of getting the chance to live like 12-year-old Sam, in My Side of the Mountain who lived in a tree and got to be the boss of himself?

For information on summer library programs, and there are some great ones, call the library. If you want to get playing, call the Fitness Centre, they can keep you busy!

I know I’ll see you around town, and I look forward to seeing you in the stacks, for your guilty summer reading fix or with yours or someone else’s children at your side. We can talk about our favourite titles, complain about the mosquitoes a little, but mostly, we can get reading and plan for playing.

 

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