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Sunday, April 22
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Courier Article by Carol Cariens
Sunday, June 13, 2010

Water-Themed Selections Great for Poolside Reading

Have you made a splash yet? A Summer Reading Program splash, that is. If you and your family have not signed up, there's still plenty of time. EVPL's reading incentive program continues to run through July 26. If you want to read some watery-themed children's books to celebrate "Make a Splash: Dive Into a Great Book @ Your Library", check out the Kids page at Click on Summer Reading Program and then click Suggested Reads. Here's a sampling of some of the titles on the list. Ready? Set? Dive In! (and enjoy.)

Husband-wife team Gene Zion and Margaret Bloy Graham struck pay dirt years ago when they dreamed up an irrepressible black-spotted white dog named Harry. His many escapades have charmed children for generations. One of his best adventures is "Harry by the Sea". When Harry's people plan a trip to the beach, Harry of course is included. With a picnic basket, beach blanket, beach umbrella, and other accoutrements , Harry et al are ready for fun in the sun. That's when the confusion starts. Poor Harry gets lost amid all those striped beach umbrellas and people in sunglasses and sun hats. While racing along the beach looking for his people a wave washes over the "hot" dog and leaves him covered with cool seaweed. Ah, momentary pure bliss. Harry's day in the sun is far from over as the seaweed-clad canine is mistaken for a sea creature and wrecks havoc among the sunbathers. All does end well for Harry, though, and thanks to his family's clever idea, the next visit to the beach will be lots easier. Trust me; the final picture IS worth a thousand words. See for yourself!

It's a bit difficult to "hang ten" on the Ohio but fans of those hearty souls who ride the waves will want to read Ellie Crowe's picture book biography of Duke Kahanamoku, considered to be the "father of modern surfing". In "Surfer of the Century" readers meet Hawaii native Duke, always a "lightning-fast" swimmer who first earned himself a spot on the 1912 Olympic team. Over his twenty year career he earned 6 Olympic medals for his swimming ability but his first love was always surfing. Throughout his life Duke traveled extensively teaching thousands the thrill of surfing. He returned to Hawaii in 1930, a very popular figure. Encouraged to run for public office, Duke was elected Sheriff of Honolulu—a post he kept for twenty-six years. When Hawaii became our fiftieth state in 1959, Duke was appointed Hawaii's official Ambassador of Aloha (friendship). In Duke's own words, "Try meeting or leaving people with Aloha. You'll be surprised by their reaction. I believe it and this is my creed. Aloha to you." And to you, too, Duke.

Nobody writes a better short and shivery tale than Abenaki storyteller, Joseph Bruchac. One of his leave-the-lights-on-all-over-the-house stories ties right in with our summer reading theme. Is there something lurking in the pond in the woods around Armie's home? Is it real? Or is it just part of the Shawnee lore of the area? In "The Dark Pond" Armie discovers what really lies deep in the pond. With illustrations by Sally Wern Comport enhancing the mood, (page 87 is a doozie!), Bruchac's fast read will leave readers wormy-squirmy. Truly.

Older readers might enjoy "Unchartered Waters" by Leslie Bulion. Teenaged Jonah is hiding some deep, dark secrets from his parents and favorite uncle, Nate. Most kids would be thrilled to be spending a month in a seaside cabin in Rhode Island—even if pesky little sister Jaye had to tag along but Jonah is afraid of swimming. Just one of his deep, dark secrets. Jonah does love tinkering with motors and a dilapidated motorboat at the local marina inspires Jonah to earn enough money to buy it. Enter Sumi, "a budding marine biologist" who hires Jonah to help her with her summertime research. Suddenly things are looking up--except for those deep, dark secrets that nag at Jonah. Bulion writes a stirring tale of facing one's fears and learning to accept the consequences, good or bad. Cheer on Jonah as he learns to do both.