Summer Reading 2014
By Angela Scott and Lauren William, Public Services Librarians
Summer is fast approaching, and the kids will soon be out of school. Research proves that children who don't read during the summer can lose up to three months of reading progress. Combat this brain drain by signing up for the library’s Summer Reading program! This year, we will explore all branches of science with exciting programs and activities. Registration begins June 2, and we have a theme for every age: “Little Sparks” (ages birth to 5); “Fizz, Boom, Read!” (ages 5-12); “Spark a Reaction” (ages 12-18) and even “Adult Summer Reading”.
Kick off your best summer yet with titles like these:
For the “Little Sparks”
Bold photographs link everyday activities performed by curious children to careers of actual National Geographic explorers in Barbara Kerley’s “The World is Waiting for You” (National Geographic Children's Books, 2013).
How do animals sleep at night? Watch some animals through the eyes of an owl with “A Book of Sleep” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2009) by Il Sung Na.
See how a square can transform into something new in “Perfect Square” (Greenwillow Books, 2011) by Michael Hall.
How many eggs will one alligator lay in its lifetime? For the fascinating answer to this and many other animal-related questions, read “Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives” (Chronicle Books, 2013) by Lola M. Schaefer.
For the “Fizz, Boom, Read(ers)!”
Volcanoes pose a threat to more than a billion people worldwide. Elizabeth Rusch’s “Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives” (Houghton Mifflin, 2013) follows the perilous and heroic acts of a small team of scientists on the move to prevent such tragedies.
Explore “How the World Works” (Kingfisher, 2013) with Clive Gifford. Rich graphics help explain a myriad of complicated topics such as prehistoric life, outer space, technology and the natural world. You will learn how dinosaurs used their senses and even how a space station is built.
Go on an adventure to Mars with the cat who thinks he is a Chihuahua in “Skippyjon Jones, Lost in Spice” (Dutton Children's Books, 2009) by Judy Schachner.
Entertain yourself with easy science experiments that you can do at home with Steve Spangler’s “Naked Eggs and Flying Potatoes: Unforgettable Experiments That Make Science Fun” (Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2010).
Have a reluctant reader? Sometimes magazines are more appealing. You can check out a variety of magazines from the library, including popular children’s science titles like: ASK, Appleseeds, Dig, Know, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Little Kids, Odyssey, Ranger Rick, Xplor and Zoobooks.
For teens who want to “Spark a Reaction”
“Code Orange” (Delacorte Press, 2005) by Caroline B. Cooney is a biohazard thriller that will have readers on the edges of their seats. While conducting research for a school paper, Miller accidently exposes himself and all of New York City to the threat of smallpox.
Read the story of a 12-year-old boy who sets out to change the world with his social studies project in “Pay It Forward” (Simon & Schuster, 1999) by Catherine Ryan Hyde.
Create spheres of oil or unleash the green blob with “Step-By-Step Science Experiments in Chemistry” (Rosen, 2013) by Janice VanCleave.
Get the inside scoop on environmental issues with “Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life” (Simon Pulse, 2008) by Linda Sivertsen.
Adult Summer Reading
Unlike the stuff of textbooks, today’s science writing can be thrilling, funny and accessible. “The Disappearing Spoon and Other True Tales of Madness, Love, and the History of the World From the Periodic Table of the Elements” by Sam Kean (Little, Brown, 2010) reveals the fascinating biographies of the scientists who worked to discover everything from actinium to zirconium in an easy-to-read style.
You don’t have to be a physicist to appreciate the journey described in Amanda Gefter’s “Trespassing on Einstein's Lawn: A Father, a Daughter, the Meaning of Nothing, and the Beginning of Everything” (Bantam, 2014). When she was 15, Gefter’s dad asked her the question, “How would you define nothing?” Trying to puzzle out an answer becomes Gefter’s quest and has her crashing scientific conferences and taking cross-country road trips in this delightful and enlightening romp.
Equally delightful, if exponentially more disgusting, is Mary Roach’s “Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal” (Norton, 2013). Roach has an unquenchable curiosity and never met a pun she didn’t like. She follows food’s journey from the mouth through the gut and out the . . . well, you know. “Mother Nature Is Trying to Kill You” (Simon & Schuster, 2014) by Dan Riskin similarly explores the grim-yet-fascinating natural world with anecdotes aplenty detailing just how cruel living creatures, from parasites to whales, can be.
No matter what your age, join us at the library for a science-filled summer of reading!