Sunday, 22 July 2012

Sunday July 22, 2012 Summer Reading

To paraphrase, “for every book there is a season,” and summertime is the true season for the books which set the imagination soaring. Real-life stories like those of Judy Blume, historical fiction and Aesop’s moral tales are all fine things to read but sometimes a child just needs to imagine himself on a flying carpet or on an epic quest in a universe where dragons live and castles float. This summer, along with other public libraries across the country, the Library is running the TD Summer Reading Club which has the theme of “Imagine.” We have been having fun with the theme, decorating the Library and offering programs such as Imagine You’re a Caveman, or Singing at a Campfire or docking at the Imagination Station. The theme lends itself to so many possibilities and we are hoping to engage children of all ages in a variety of literacy activities which will take them on some grand adventures of make-believe.

Librarians are natural “book-pushers” and it is a true pleasure to share literature with the young who are so open to a variety of styles, genres and subjects. I have created some booklists for children who are reading this summer as part of the summer reading club and they are to be found on the kids’ pages of the Library website at These books are all in the theme of the imaginary, fantastical and dare I say….fantasmagorical.

When I think of the books which most stimulated my own imagination as a child, I think of titles such as Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. This Swedish import endures as a read-alone or read-at-bedtime-to-your-children classic. Pippi, the strongest girl in the world, fears nothing and no one, and leads her friends Annicka and Tommy on amazing adventures in the south seas and beyond. She has piles of gold from her pirate father which is perfect for financing her outlandish schemes. With a generous heart and two red braids which stick out on either side of her head, Pippi is a fiercely fun female. And she has a pet monkey too!

Another classic title is The Borrowers by Mary Norton which tells the story of a family of exquisitely tiny people who live in the walls of a normal house and travel back and forth through a mouse hole. The Borrowers are the reason why so many of us lose little things like stamps (they make good wall art), thimbles (sturdy cooking pots) and face cloths (what a splendid comforter for a teeny bed). We imagine that we have been careless or forgetful, but really, it is the Borrowers at work. I am sure that I have a family living at the Library where I work because things have the oddest habit of disappearing on me.

Other, more recent titles in the genre of fantastic fiction include such concepts as having the Midas touch of turning everything to chocolate (The Chocolate Touch), finding an odd device inside a meteor crater which transports one to a far-off planet where a doomsday cult is loose, (Zita the Space Girl), or adventuring in the Verulian mountains on the trail of Kaspar Snit, the world’s most evil, yet somehow lovable villain, who is stealing the fountains of Venice. Whether it is high adventure, quest tales, whimsical animal stories, far-out sci-fi or others in the genre simply known as fantastic fiction, there is something for every child. It is a genre which appeals to both boys and girls.

For ideas of books to try out… ask your librarian and I’ll see you on the other side of Alice’s looking glass.

Angela Meady

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