Bonita Springs — Summer. For me, as a child, it included long hours curled up on our front porch swing with my favorite books. My mother took me to the library at least once a week, with a bag for me to fill with all the books I wanted. When I reached chapter books, I overindulged, first in The Boxcar Children and The Bobbsey Twins then in Little Women and Anne of Green Gables. As I grew older I fell in love with the tapestry of words strung by Madeleine L’Engle, Cynthia Voigt and Lois Lowry.
As May turns into June, this signals my internal summer reading trigger. My daughter and I have been to the library more in the past few weeks, than we went all year. As she discovers Kevin Henkes, Maurice Sendak, and new books that I have never heard of, I find myself pulled into the young adult section. Here I find those beloved titles: A Solitary Blue, The Giver, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry, A Wrinkle in Time. My daughter isn’t old enough for these treasures yet, but I add them to our library bag for myself. As I read them I am transported to middle school and my first discovery of these amazing books. Time has made them better for me. I forget how beautifully young adult novelists tell a story. Their words are strung together so thoughtfully that I find myself recommending these books to my adult friends, who are at first skeptical and then amazed.
And then I go looking for young adult books that I have never read and I discover Eva Ibbotson, author of A Company of Swans and A Countess Below Stairs. Oh, what a discovery. Ibbotson, who recently passed away at 85, wrote in her 70s as if she were 18. The way she wrote about the turn of the 20th century was so compelling and modern, perhaps because she could share first-hand accounts given by her parents, but actually talk about issues that were taboo at the time.
As a mother, I feel fortunate to be able to share this love of the library and of reading with my daughter. When we go, I don’t push my favorites on her. I let her explore and choose covers that she finds interesting. I always add a few books into the bag that I think she might enjoy and let her choose which books we read.
So, our summer hobby together is reading. Books are a moveable feast. We can take them on vacation, to the beach or just into our living room.
For those who want to get more involved in reading this summer, the Bonita Springs Public Library has several programs to guide children, teens and parents, whether they are bookworms or not.
For Teens, Read It! Watch It! Win It! Teen Summer Reading Program runs Tuesdays from June 12 through July 24 from 6 to 7 p.m. Different activities feature subjects from magic to martial arts and ghost storytelling. Teens gather points to win prizes.
For younger readers, grades kindergarten through fifth, the Dream Big Read! Summer Reading Team takes place on Wednesdays beginning June 13 through July 25 from 2 to 3 p.m. Shows include comedy, magic and more bringing dreams to life and encouraging reading.
There are reading programs for the under 5 crew as well, just ask the children’s librarian.
Hopefully reading is something that will take you and your children on a journey and draw you closer together.
Meg-a-mom is the secret identity of Meghan Easterly, a writer, photographer, editor and all around supermom living in Bonita Springs.