Like peanut butter and chocolate, summer and reading go together: the paperback novels we only read on vacation, the bestsellers we finally have time to finish, and the reading list we urge the children to complete in an effort to keep the summer brain rot in check.
At the library they know summer and reading go hand in hand. The annual summer reading program will start Monday at the Mount Pleasant Public Library.
Laurel Reisen, branch manager at the library, said the goal this year is to keep the program simple and really focus on books and reading.
For example, registration this year will be easier than in the past. There are no forms to fill out; instead, participants will get reading logs to record what they read and return for prizes.
Speaking of prizes, there will be weekly drawings for children and teenagers and a big drawing for adult readers at the end of the summer program. Prizes are all book-based this year, including a bookmark with a built-in timer for the children.
Each age group - children, teens and adults - has its own theme and activities.
For children, the theme is "One World, Many Stories." Each Thursday morning, third- through fifth-graders are invited to the library for a lesson on books and culture from other countries. Presentations will include Italy, China, Greece, Nigeria, Ireland, Egypt, Mexico and Brazil.
On Tuesday afternoons, professional storytellers, some of whom incorporate magic or music in their programs, will be at the library.
Children don't need to register for any of these special events, but be sure to pick up a schedule at the library so you don't miss anything.
The theme for teenagers, grades 6 through 12, is "You Are Here." Reisen has scheduled their events for Monday nights to include a movie night, a book club, a journaling program and a T-shirt craft night; only the last requires advance registration. The hope is that these programs will provide great opportunities for students who love to read to spend time together.
For adults, the summer reading program theme is "Novel Destinations." For every five books completed, readers earn one entry in the big prize drawing.
Adults don't get their own storytellers, magicians or crafts, but the adult book club will continue to meet through the summer. In June and July they will discuss "The Girl Who Stopped Swimming," by Joshilyn Jackson, and "The Postmistress," by Sarah Blake, respectively. Everyone is welcome to join.
Because the library is always so busy in the summer with all the extra programs and readers, Laurel Reisen is encouraging anyone with some extra time on their hands to come by the library and volunteer. The only requirements are that you complete an application and that you be at least 13 years old.
Meanwhile, Reisen is beefing up the new book collection in preparation for a great summer of reading. So stop by the library to register for the summer reading program.
And be sure to share your recommendations; my front porch rocker is calling me to spend some time with it and a good book.