Jackson County Libraries summer reading program for children starts on June 8. Summer is always a good season for reading (as are fall, winter and spring), and Ashland children's librarians Margie Cicerrella and Perii Hauschild-Owen note that the warm, relaxing days of summer are a perfect time for young readers to tuck into a book series.
"People like series because they are familiar with the characters, they participate in their lives and with each book learn more about them," Cicerrella said. This is especially true when readers age alongside their favorite characters, such as Harry Potter or Beverly Cleary's Ramona.
Hauschild-Owen strongly suggests starting series from the beginning. "It's frustrating when you just jump in. I really think everyone can have richer experience if they read the books in order," she said.
Librarians can supply an ordered list of the books in a series, and kids can request the books at www.jcls.org.
The savvy librarians' top choices for series and sequels are:
- "Warriors" by Erin Hunter (ages 9-and-up). A young tomcat named Kittypet gets a chance for adventure when he is invited to join the ThunderClan, one of the gangs of feral cats in the area. Renamed Firepaw, he begins to train as a warrior. The first book is "Warriors: Into the Wild."
- "City of Ember" by Jeanne DuPrau (ages 9-and-up). In the dark city of Ember there is no moon, no stars, no natural light. "Day" is made possible by floodlamps that create an eerie glow in the city. As lights start to flicker and go out, two 12-year-olds take action to protect their city's future. The first of five "Books of Ember."
- "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan (ages 9-and-up). 12-year-old Percy Jackson is more than just a New York youth with a mean step-dad, bad grades and ADHD. He's also a half-human offspring of one of the Greek gods on a mission to retrieve Zeus' lightning bolt. Following "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" books continue the fresh spin on Greek mythology.
- "Fairy Realm" by Emily Rodda (ages 7 through 10). A sparky young girl enters a magical world of fairies and helps save her ailing grandmother in "Fairy Realm: The Charm Bracelet," the first in this series.
- "Magic Treehouse" by Mary Pope Osborne (ages 4 through 8). This well-known series is great for early readers. Each book takes the main characters, Jack and Annie, on a learning adventure to another time/place.
- "Henry and Mudge" by Cynthia Rylant (ages 4 through 8). Another gem for early readers. Henry and his big dog Mudge find adventure and joy in simple things such as flowers, mud puddles, snowmen and sleepovers.
Also, don't forget old standards like the "Little House" books, "Nancy Drew," the "Hardy Boys" or the "Ramona" books. Cicerrella notes that very young children can also enjoy book series simply by choosing several books by the same author or illustrator.
Cicerrella adds that summer is also a good time to read to kids as well as get them reading. "Just because our children can read doesn't mean we should stop reading with them," she said. "Reading together maintains closeness. We are sharing the experience with our children and continuing to show them that reading is important in our lives."
In connection with the summer reading theme, "Be Creative," the library will host events such as family movie matinées, music workshops, origami, creative dance, shadow puppet workshops and storytelling.
For more info, visit www.jcls.org/summer.html or call the Ashland library at 774-6996.
Tidings staff writer Vickie Aldous and Tidings correspondent Angela Howe-Decker alternate as author of the weekly column Quills & Queues.