Summer Reading Club in Chilliwack

Summer reading. - FVRL
Summer reading.
— image credit: FVRL

Sun screen? Check. Bathing suit? Check. Sun glasses? Check.  Novel? Check.

With the weather growing warmer and clearer with every passing day, Fraser Valley Regional Library (FVRL) wants you to know that your most versatile summer accessory is a good book.

And with a little bit of luck, reading might just win you a prize or two this summer.

FVRL’s annual Summer Reading Club (SRC) opens in Chilliwack on June 16, and the idea is simple: keep reading. If kids only read while school is in session, FVRL program director Kim Davison warns, they run the risk of losing their progress.

“It’s called the summer slide,” Davison explains. “Summer Reading Club was conceived as a way to combat that, to get kids reading, to keep their reading routines through the summer so they don’t lose ground during those two months.”

And the summer reading club is geared at all demographics, not just kids. Picking up a book benefits patrons of all ages, and one of the best ways parents can help their kids is by leading by example.

“If you have a set time that you spend together reading every day, even if it’s just for ten minutes, that’s a good way to do it,” Davison says.  “Just building words and reading into everything—being aware of it.”

There are four programs available through the Chilliwack libraries, aimed at preschoolers, elementary students, teens, and adults. Last year saw nearly 19,000 participants in the programs across the Fraser Valley, which Davison attributes to weekly reading prizes as well as in-library programs.

This summer will see a variety of artists and performers visit the library, including a magician, an improv theatre team, two Aboriginal artists-in-residence, and a mobile dairy—which Davison highly recommends.

“It’s a bit alarming, but it’s neat,” she says with a laugh. “They bring cows and calves into the parking lot and demonstrate the milking and just how it all works.”

And, of course, there will be books—the quintessential summer accessory.

“There’s no place like the public library,” Davison concludes with a smile. “It’s all free and fun, and tons to learn, and new friends to make.”

• A variety of programs run at the Chilliwack, Sardis and Yarrow libraries all summer; stop by the information desk to get book recommendations, or find suggestions and program information online at www.fvrl.bc.ca.


Summer Reading List

For the youngster:

These books are guaranteed to please—not only kids, but adults. Reading to kids has never been easier with books as hilarious and visually interesting as these.


Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

The tale of a beloved stuffed animal and the stubbornness of children.


Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

The instructions are harder than they sound—this pigeon really wants to drive the bus, and he makes some convincing arguments.


Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

This rabbit protagonist claims the box he sits in is something else—in fact, it can be just about anything.


The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Entirely wordless, this book is the perfect leaping-off point for telling your own stories. What is happening in these incredibly detailed drawings, and why?


For the kid:

The Dragon Slayers by Bruce Coville

Coville’s frank and funny prose snatches up a couple unlikely dragon slayers and puts them in the middle of an adventure, whether they want it or not.


Frindle by Andrew Clements

Up against his dictionary-loving fifth-grade teacher, mischief-maker Nicholas Allen decides to turn the power of words to his own advantage. Why call a pen a pen when you can call it a frindle?


Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

The perfect tale for a bookworm—what are you supposed to do when characters from your favourite book pour out of the pages and turn your life into a terrifying adventure?


Beyond the Deepwoods by Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart

In an off-beat coming-of-age tale, Twig finds out that he’s adopted, and that his loving family of wood trolls isn’t related to him at all. Setting out to find his real family, he loses his way in the woods and begins a whole new adventurous life.


Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

Artemis Foul is too clever to leave well enough alone; the genius child of an Irish crime lord, he decides to infiltrate fairyland. Perhaps the best description of the book comes from the author: “Die Hard with fairies.”


For the teen:

You by Austin Grossman

If you have a love of video games, this book is up your alley; Russell takes a job at Black Arts Games to help produce their next hit game, but trying to find the root of an elusive glitch leads to unexpected echoes in his own life.


The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Think of it as magic realism: Quentin Coldwater leaves his ordinary, boring life behind, but earning magic requires intense and constant practice—and might just be more ordinary and boring than where he started. Except for the fact that he’s a magician—now what?


An Abundance of Katherines by John Green

With all the attention on The Fault in Our Stars recently, there’s no time like the present to return to some classic John Green and explore the life of Colin, who has dated 19 girls named Katherine and is trying to figure out what, exactly, that means.


Feed by Mira Grant

No summer is complete without zombies, which is exactly what Grant delivers. We skip to the year 2040, in which conventional media has been taken over by independent bloggers and the zombie virus strain sprang from the cure for cancer and the common cold.


The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

If you love fantasy but you’re ready to get out of the shallow end, Gaiman is your man. The protagonist recollects this tale from childhood, only realizing as he tells it how odd—and true—and creepy—it really is.


For the adult:

Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham

This Gilmore Girls star creates a surprisingly solid and hilarious protagonist, following her New York dream to be an actress. The quest to break out and be recognized is as old as the hills, but the voice of Franny Banks is fresh and addictive, creating the perfect summer novel.


Freakonomics by Steven J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt

This non-fiction exploration of popular economics is an oldie but a goodie. What do teachers and sumo wrestlers have in common? How does a real estate agent act when they sell their own home, in contrast to when they sell yours?


Life of Pi by Yann Martel

There’s no time like the summer to read about a boy trapped on a small boat with a tiger as they make their way across the ocean. If you haven’t read this award-winner yet, you should—and if you have trouble getting into it, try watching the film version first so you can track the important plot points a little more easily.


Hologram for the King by Dave Eggers

This winding whimsical tale is set in blindingly-hot Saudi Arabia, as Alan Clay tries to convince King Abdullah to hire his IT company to supply hologram technology. The novel tracks Alan’s quiet desperation, which becomes both more pathetic and sympathetic as the reader slowly realizes King Abdullah might never show.


Hawaii One Summer by Maxine Hong Kingston

If you’re looking for a slim volume to tuck in your beach bag, this collection of short stories is a good place to start. The short tales—about growing older, being an adult, and living in Hawaii—are perfect narrative bites to spice up a series of summer afternoons.

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