A reason for the season
Wednesday, June 6, 2018
After each of his three children turned 12, my father would bring the preteen along on an annual summer trip to visit one of his best friends in Washington, D.C. The aim was to broaden our horizons by showing us national monuments, taking us out to eat at internationally inspired restaurants, guiding us through renowned museums and generally exposing us to a larger worldview.
Decades later, my dad can’t stop talking about the fact that on my father/daughter trip to the nation’s capitol, it seemed that all I wanted to do was read. In one instance, he recalls waiting outside the hot car for me as the Lincoln Memorial beckoned while I—hunched over a book in the backseat—begged for a few more minutes to finish the chapter I was apparently engrossed in.
I can’t remember what I was reading that captured my interest so intently, but along with retaining lasting memories of the Washington Monument, the White House, and the taste of Peking duck, I do recollect that it was one of many instances in my life when the long days of summer weren’t complete without a book nearby.
Judging by the amount of reading-focused events happening throughout Whatcom County in coming months, I’m not the only one who thinks it’s possible to have an active summer while also setting time aside to devour the latest bestseller or catch up on long-forgotten classics.
At the Bellingham Public Library, for example, Summer Reading 2018 features games of bingo for kids, teens and adults. The rules are simple. Pick up cards in the desired age range, and fill out the squares by reading or listening to books. Once you get a bingo or blackout, you can bring your completed card to any local public library by Aug. 31 to be entered to win a variety of prizes.
It’s easier than it sounds. For example, rather than having to read a specific tome, the bingo cards for adults instead have categories such as “friend’s recommendation,” “title that would make a great band name,” “ugly cover,” “written by a celebrity,” “scary,” “diversity,” “award winner” and “graphic novel”—meaning you can interpret the directives in your own way, and on your own time.
Even early learners can get in on the action. Those ages 1-4 can talk, sing, read, write and play to get a box crossed off in their age range, and choose a book to keep when they’ve finished their varied activities. For kids of all ages, weekly movie matinees, STEAM programs in collaboration with the Whatcom Museum, an annual Children’s Craft Fair, and more will be part of a season full of events.
At Village Books locations in both Fairhaven and Lynden, a Summer Reading Challenge taking place through Aug. 31 will follow along similar lines. Pick up a form—or download it at http://www.villagebooks.com—and then read your way through challenges on the path to receive prizes. Those who complete the first two spaces by Aug. 1 can claim a pair of tickets to an Aug. 2 Bellingham Bells game (while supplies last), and those who finish the first six spaces will receive a coupon for 20 percent off a store purchase. Everyone who reads all 10 challenges by Aug. 31 will get a $5 gift certificate and a cookie.
Libraries throughout Whatcom County will also get in on the summer reading action. An Explorations guide currently available at locales in Deming, Everson, Ferndale, Lummi Island, Lynden, Sudden Valley, Point Roberts, and Sumas—and online at http://www.wcls.org/explorations—shows that in addition to allowing time to rest in the shade with the company of a good book, the warmer months will also bring the opportunity to take part in plenty of associated activities.
These include theater productions, arts and crafts, live entertainment, scavenger hunts, kite-building, ice cream socials, Shakespeare theatre camp, book clubs for teens and adults, gaming, after-hours pizza parties, community game nights, chess challenges, cooking classes, storytelling and presentations focused on local history, book sales and lots more.
The Whatcom County Library System also encourages readers of all ages to join their Summer Reading Program, which is chock-full of interesting categories to make your reading both broad and engaging. After registering online or in person, read as much as you want, keep track of your progress, and check back when you’re ready. Kids and teens who meet their goals will receive a book of their choice, and adults will be entered into a prize drawing. If you need recommendations, they’ve got you covered there, as well.
If you’re really enthusiastic about the power books have to change your life, sign up for all of the aforementioned challenges, and start reading your way through the summer as soon as possible. However, if your father asks you to put down your book in order to see a famous landmark, be assured that it’s OK to save your place and go enjoy the sights.
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