Oceans of Possibilities at the Library
By Jennifer Bergen, Program and Children’s Services Manager
School is out, and it is a time of freedom for many kids. With some of the pressure lifted, everyone can breathe easily and enjoy some sunshine. Summer is also the perfect time for exploration and discovery through books. The library’s summer reading program will begin June 1st, with early registration opening Monday. Our reading challenge is all about having fun and enjoying books.
This year’s theme is Oceans of Possibilities, so look for some cool, blue decorations in the library and a special sea creature waiting for your books to be returned at the new returns machine inside. School kids might tell you about a shark that visited their school, promoting prizes (including two free books) that can be earned by tracking their reading time. Everyone, even adults, are invited to sign up.
If you want to find some ocean-themed books to go along with summer reading, here are a few great new choices.
“Marine Biologists on a Dive” by Sue Fliess is the first in a new series, Kid Scientist. The picture book format makes this an easy way to introduce young kids to science field careers. In this story, Maggie and her team are studying whales. They scuba dive in with a pod of humpback whales, and each young scientist is exploring a different aspect of whale life. Maggie is recording the whale songs, and later listens to them in the lab to see if her hypothesis about whale communication patterns holds true. Illustrations by Mia Powell are more on the cartoony side, giving a simple visual aid that’s perfect for young listeners.
Can a story about the life of krill be delightful? I wouldn’t have thought so, but “Good Eating: The Short Life of Krill” by Matt Lilley surprised me. Krill actually have a very complicated life cycle just getting to be full grown, but their daily tasks are very simple. Once they have grown their mouths, it’s just eat, swim, and grow. They continually molt out of their shells, even as adults, and can live 10 years…that is, if they are not eaten by everything around them, including blue whales.
If you have never delved into the life of anglerfish, Elaine Alexander’s “Anglerfish: The Seadevil of the Deep” will introduce you to life in the midnight zone of the ocean. With eye-catching illustrations by Fiona Fogg, the anglerfish life cycle comes to life, from its beginnings as a vulnerable egg on the water surface, to an impressive fish, up to 3 feet long, with a dangling bioluminescent “fishing pole” fin and a stomach that can handle prey twice its size. Satiate your sea lover’s curiosity about strange and fascinating animals with this title.
Storytimes begin on June 7 for six weeks of fun stories, songs, action rhymes, puppets and dancing, with 8 different options throughout the week for various ages. Working families can join us on Saturdays at 10:00 or 11:00, June 11 – July 16. More information is on the library events webpage. These titles are a few samples of what storytellers will be reading.
“Not Quite Narwhal” by Jessie Sima will be a big crowd-pleaser with a unique sea critter named Kelp who doesn’t fit in with his fellow narwhals. Will he come to realize who he really is when he meets a “land narwhal”? No need to worry, everyone ends up under the rainbow together.
Equally fun is Joyce Wan’s “A Whale in my Swimming Pool.” With cute illustrations influenced by Japanese pop culture, kids will laugh as a little boy tries to figure out how to get an enormous whale out of his pool.
For a calming effect, try “Oceans of Love” by Janet Lawler. This sweet, rhyming book centers on comforting language about mama sea animals taking care of their young. Holly Clifton-Brown’s mixed media art is full of color and light, creating playful scenes of undersea life.
For more summer reading book lists, join the summer reading challenge and check out our book lists for all age ranges. To sign up, visit the library’s webpage, www.MHKlibrary.org/SR, or come into the library.