Summer reading suggestions from local libraries

COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALDJune 6, 2014 

Research shows that reading four to six books over the summer helps kids maintain their reading skills. Reading 10 to 20 books improves them! Reading incentives are free and fun at the library. This year, Bellingham Public Library and the Whatcom County Library System once again offer their well-loved summer reading program for all ages and Little Sparks early literacy activities for children birth to five years.

Whatcom County Library System also offers something new. Its Summer of Learning out in the county this year with entertaining science experiments to play with each week and electrifying presentations from the SPARK Museum, Pacific Science Center, Dan the Magic Man and more. For the very young, a science, technology, engineering, and math program called Sink or Float will introduce toddlers and preschoolers to the joys of science.

Head to your local library or check out bellinghampubliclibrary.org/summerreading or wcls.org for more information about how you can participate.

Here are some recommended books for summer reading:

"The City of Ember"

by Jeanne DuPrau

Grades 4-7.

Lina and Doon have spent their entire lives surrounded by darkness. Their city is dying. As the two start to unearth an evil plot by the mayor, their tale is told with action sequences that allow readers to race along. You can get the Ember series from the library as books, audiobooks on CD, or as downloadable ebooks or audiobooks. Or borrow the City of Ember movie on DVD.

"Nick and Tesla's High-voltage Danger Lab A Mystery With Electromagnets, Burglar Alarms, and Other Gadgets You Can Build Yourself"

by Bob Pflugfelder

Grades 3-7.

The first book in a projected series, this fast-paced adventure is part mystery, part mad science. Spending the summer with their mad genius uncle Newt in California, twins Nick and Tesla quickly realize that sinister things are going on. Teaming up with two local kids, they create clever contraptions to help them solve the mystery before it's too late. The book includes clear instructions for readers to build the gadgets themselves: a rocket launcher, a robo-cat and more.

"Molly"

by Ellen Miles

Grades 2-3.

Charles and Lizzie Peterson love puppies. Their family fosters these young dogs, until they can find the perfect forever home. When Charles offers to foster Molly he thinks that she is a very sweet puppy. But then Charles finds out that she is a Rottweiler. He's never been scared of a foster dog before. Can he overcome his fear and find this gentle pup a home?

"Exploratopia"

by Pat Murphy

Grades 3-6.

The Exploratorium, a San Francisco museum of science, art and human perception, is a lively source of science information and experiments. With illustrated science demonstrations on nearly every page, this fascinating book encourages the reader to learn science happily, through curiosity.

"Magic Colors"

PreSchool-Grade 1.

Every other page is transparent in this unusual concept book. In each set of three pages the pages on the left and right each contain a little drawing on a field of color; not much to look at. There's a faint shape in a different color on the clear plastic insert between them; also not much to look at. But turn the see-through page with the green shape on it to the left and suddenly there's a brown bear against a deep orange background. Turn it to the right and you'll see, against a yellow background, a green frog that wasn't there before. It's an entertaining way to learn colors and color mixing, guaranteed to please the very small and intrigue the big as well.

"You Read to Me, I'll Read to You"

by Mary Ann Hoberman

Grades 2-4.

These four exuberant picture books, all with the same main title, inspire a wonderful read-aloud experience for two people, perhaps one big and one small, to read together. For example, in the Mother Goose volume, The Little Red Hen begins with Voice One: "I'm Little Red Hen./I planted the wheat./I dug up the soil/In the dust and the heat." Then, Voice Two: "And I am the Duck/And I have to admit/That I did not help her, /Not one little bit." Each story ends with, "You read to me, I'll read to you."

Lizz Roberts is community relations coordinator for the Whatcom County Library System.

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