By Michelle Knudsen; Candlewick, 41 pages
Do you know what time of year it is? If it's June, it must be summer reading time at the library! Every year from June to August, kids and teens can go to their local library and sign up for summer reading, a super cool program that encourages kids and families to keep reading through the summer months. In addition to reading, participants can attend summer reading programs, spend time on fun, reading-related activities and earn rewards!
So, come check us out — we love readers!
I was a frequent visitor to the library when I was a kid and even took part in a few summer reading programs. I'll never forget when I won the grand prize at my small-town library's summer reading event — a stuffed version of Woodstock, Snoopy's pal from the "Peanuts" comic strip. Winning Woodstock was pretty awesome, but when my name made it into the local newspaper, I felt like a celebrity. My library's summer reading program had made me a reading superstar! There was no stopping me after that, and that event is one of many reasons why I am a librarian today.
I still love children's books, and when I was thinking about summer reading for this column, I knew I wanted to write about "Library Lion" by Michelle Knudsen. For me, libraries and cats go together like peanut butter and jelly, but a LION in the library? It might seem like a really bad idea, and for most lions, roaming the stacks instead of the African savannah spells trouble. But the lion in this week's book must be a reader at heart because he doesn't want to eat the books or chase the library patrons — he just wants to dust the shelves with his tail, serve as a soft stepstool for little readers and listen to storytime. Head librarian, Miss Merriweather, doesn't mind the lion visiting the library as long as he obeys the rules. For the most part, he behaves himself, but one day something happens to Miss Merriweather that prompts a bit of vociferous rule-breaking from the maned visitor. What happens next? Here's a hint — there's a happy ending.
Seek out this likable tale the next time you visit your library. And if you have kids, and haven't been to the library in a long time, the summer reading program is a perfect excuse to renew your ties with the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. And don't worry; our lions stay safely tucked away in books.
Jan Johnston is the Collection Development Coordinator for the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.