Summer reading has always been an important part of my life. As a child, my family lived on the other side of town from most of my friends. We had only one car, and my father worked second shift. So there was little chance to have the play dates and camps that fill so much of children’s summer months now.
But books were available. Each Saturday, my mom bought me two books at Murphys (kind of like Walmart). I think this was during my Trixie Belden period. She let me have one that day and hide the other one for later in the week, or I would have both read by Sunday night.
Another major part of my summer reading was the Bookmobile. For those of you who never lived in the country; the bookmobile was a van full of books that would go from one rural community to another. Once when I had the mumps, my dad had to go to the bookmobile for me. Knowing only that I was a fast reader, he chose the longest book there: an adult biography of Helen Keller. A little heavy reading for a 4th grader, but I still read it; after all, I don’t think I made the distinction between children’s and adult books. Once I passed picture books, anything was game.
The final piece of my summer reading was the Summer Weekly Reader. It came in the mail and contained articles, stories, and puzzles. I’m not sure now if its arrival was exciting because of its inherent value or because it was the only mail that came with my name on it.
For some, the term summer reading does not have pleasant connotations. It’s a reminder of the time when you had to pick a certain number of books from a reading list, read them over the summer, and then either write a paper or take a quiz on them in the fall. For others, summer is the time when finally there is a vacation, and the new mystery, romance, or the long-neglected classic can finally get some attention while waiting in airports or gathering rays on the beach.
What are your childhood memories of summer reading? What are your reading plans for this summer? Share them with the Jolly Librarian!