Summer reading goes to birds … and to lions, tigers and bears
By Dan Cullinane
Tails and Tales, the 2021 animal-themed summer reading program at the Johnson County Public Library, began on Friday, June 11 and will run through July 23. The reading program encourages children and adolescents to read daily and is enhanced by artistic activities. and energetically enjoyable online storytelling brought to you by local theater personality Marie Jo Thume.
“We want to make sure they read,” said library director Linda Icenhour. “We want to make sure the experience is fun.”
So, following a treasure map created by Johnson County High School senior Macgregor Barnhill, kids go from stories of familiar wild creatures like wolves and squirrels to encounters with more exotic animals like pandas and panda bears. Koala bears. From there, they dive into the ocean among whales, then make their way through a fantastic kingdom populated by dragons and unicorns. Each week, as the kids return to the library for another book and the Weekly Activity Pack, they will also receive stickers on their cards to track their progress through the program.
Rather than creating a mandatory reading list, Tails and Tales encourages readers to choose their books based on their interests. “Different types of children are different types of readers,” Icenhour said, pointing to a number of books, which would be ideal for their journey through the animal kingdom. Legendary children’s author Mordecai Gerstein’s moose, goose and mouse, Maribeth Boelts’ The Gingerbread Pup and Kim Walker’s Marty the Mailbox Monster are on display. An author herself, Icenhour’s collaboration with her daughter, illustrator Amber Icenhour, titled The Adventures of Jam and Jelly, is ideal, but she has a different personal favorite.
“I love Tad, by Benji Davies,” she said. “Tad is a tadpole, and one by one his friends and family disappear. Then one day, he also disappears and finds them all.
For intermediate and teenage readers, Icenhour highlighted mysterious author James Patterson’s Dog Diaries series and Erin Hunter’s hit Warrior series about conflicting wildcat clans. But the right books and fun activities all serve a bigger purpose. Icenhour stressed that the idea is to keep reading to children. To keep them engaged.
“We want to make sure they don’t lose what they learned over the past year.
For more information on Tails and Tales, call the Johnson County Public Library at (423) 727-6544, or visit their website at johnsoncolib.org. To pick up books and this week’s activity kit, drop by the library between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday to Friday or Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The library is located at 219 N. Church Street in Mountain City.