Children’s programming california Collaborative Summer Reading Program

Download 11.9 Mb.
Size11.9 Mb.


California Collaborative Summer Reading Program

Ideas presented by:

Anna Hartman, San Diego County Public Library

Sarah Vantrease, Los Angeles Public Library
The California Summer Reading Program is a project of the California Library Association,

supported in whole or in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the

provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.


Giant Coloring Sheets & Coloring Contest – Passive Activity/Contest . . . . . . . . . . 2

Lullabies – Preschool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Pajama Storytime – Preschool/Primary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Stuffed Animal Storytime & Sleepover – Preschool/Primary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Dance Party – Preschool/Primary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Superheroes! – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Shivery Bedtime Stories – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

Fairy Tales & Fractured Fairy Tales – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12

Good Night Here, Good Morning There! – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13

Big Creatures – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Big Sky Storytime – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

Dream Houses – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Dreamers and Doers – K-5 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21

Campfire Stories – All Ages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

Library Skills Coloring Sheet – Passive Activity/Contest . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . 25


Passive; All Ages

Create giant coloring sheets using Summer Reading artwork. Make enlarged line drawings of Summer Reading graphics on large pieces of butcher paper, poster board, or other big paper. If you have a projector, you can project an image and trace it, or have your resident library artist (staff or volunteer) enlarge the artwork using the grid method. Use a fat permanent marker for the drawing so that it looks like a giant coloring book page.

Kids (and their parents) love working on huge coloring sheets. You can use them at a program (such as a kick-off event) or tape them to tables in the children’s area for a passive activity during the summer. When the pictures are gloriously colorful, hang them in the library as decorations.
You can turn this into a giant coloring contest by creating one coloring sheet for each grade level (or age). Throughout your outreach period (pre-summer), kids can come to the library and work on their grade’s coloring sheet. Keep track of how many different kids work on the sheets. When Summer Reading officially starts, display the coloring sheets and offer a special program or prize for the grade level with the most participation.

Audience: Preschool

For a quiet afternoon or evening storytime with “little listeners.” Wait, did I say quiet? When are little listeners ever quiet?


Kirk, Daniel. Hush, Little Alien. Hyperion Books for Children, 1999.

McDonald, Megan. Baya, Baya, Lulla-By-A. Atheneum, 2003.

Seeger, Pete. Abiyoyo: Based on a South African Lullaby and Folk Story. Simon &

Schuster, 2001.

Wheeler, Lisa. Jazz Baby. Harcourt, 2007.

Yerrill, Gail. Starry Night, Sleep Tight: A Bedtime Book of Lullabies. Tiger Tales,


Song: Lullaby of Leaves

Bed is too small for my tiredness,
Give me a hilltop with trees
Rock me to sleep in a cradle of dreams
Send me a lullaby of leaves.
Sound Recordings:

Disney. Winnie the Pooh Lullabies. EMI, 2004.

Raffi. Quiet Time. Troubadour Records, 2006.

Various Artists. Dreamland: World Lullabies and Soothing Songs. Putumayo, 2003.

Various Artists. Lullabies for Little Dreamers. Madacy Entertainment, 2009.

Craft: Cow Jumping Over the Moon
Make a night-time decoration using the instructions from the following website or our simplified version below:


  • Paper plates – 1 per child

  • Crayons and/or markers

  • Cardstock

  • Brads for attaching – 1 per child


1. Prepare the craft by printing out the jumping cow clipart from the DLTK

website and having a volunteer cut out the cow/strip.

2. Have children decorate a paper plate to look like the moon.

  1. Poke a hole in the middle of the paper plate and attach the cow/strip to the plate using the brad so that the cow can move around the moon.


Audience: Preschool/Primary

Host a storytime in the evening where kids (and adults, too) come dressed in their PJs. This can be a more casual storytime than others. You could even sit on the floor with the kids. Here are a couple suggestions for story themes during a Pajama Storytime. Of course most people have favorite bedtime stories so you might also advertise for families to bring a beloved bedtime book to share.



Bonnett-Rampersaud, Louise. How do you sleep? Marshall Cavendish Children,


Faulkner, Keith. The Big Yawn. Millbrook Press, 1999.

Karwoski, Gail Langer. Water Beds: Sleeping in the Ocean. Sylvan Dell Pub., 2005.

Markes, Julie. Shhhhh! Everybody's Sleeping. HarperCollins, 2005.

Massie, Diane Redfield. The Baby Beebee Bird. HarperCollins, 1963.


Wilson, Sarah. A Nap in a Lap. H. Holt, 2003.

Wood, Audrey. The Napping House. Harcourt, 1984.

Yolen, Jane. Time For Naps. Little Simon, 2002.


“Wee Willie Winkie”

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown.
Rapping at the windows, crying through the lock,
"Are the children all in bed? For it's now eight o'clock.”
“Ten in Bed”
There were ten in bed (hold up two hands, fingers extended, palms facing out)
And the little one said,
”Roll over, Roll Over!” (wiggle one of the little fingers)
So they all rolled over
And One fell out (make hands into fists and roll them)
There were nine in bed… (hold up two hands, 9 fingers extended, palms facing out)
Continue until...
There was one in bed,
and the little one said
”Good Night!”
“Going to Bed”

This little girl is going to bed

Down on the pillow she lays her head
She wraps herself in covers tight

And this is the way she sleeps at night.


Audience: Preschool/Primary

Invite kids to storytime with their favorite (or second-favorite) stuffed animal. After storytime, kids tuck in their stuffed animals and leave for the night. Staff (and volunteers) pose the animals doing activities and take pictures. The next morning kids pick up their stuffed animal—along with a participation certificate for the stuffed animal and donut holes for the kids. Post your pictures on Facebook or the library website for all to see what the animals did during the night.
The following storytime ideas can be used in conjunction with Stuffed Animal sleepover or at any regular storytime.

Alborough, Jez. Where's My Teddy? Walker, 1992.

Crimi, Carolyn. Principal Fred Won't Go to Bed. Marshall Cavendish Children, 2010.

Farrar, Alexis Deacon. While You Are Sleeping. Giroux, 2006.

Freedman, Claire. Night-Night, Emily! Tiger Tales, 2003.

Inches, Alison. The Stuffed Animals Get Ready for Bed. Harcourt, 2006.

Meyers, Susan. Bear in the Air. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010.

Waber, Bernard. Ira Sleeps Over. Houghton Mifflin, 1972.

Craft: Make a Paper Quilt


  • Construction paper

  • Gluesticks

  • Colorful cut paper squares (size can vary depending on size of quilt)

  • Crayons (optional)


1. Glue squares to a sheet of paper in patterns or quilt designs.

  1. Children may also decorate the quilt using crayons.


Audience: Preschool/Primary

Get your groove on at the library with this fun dance party for the little ones! If you’d really like to set the scene, borrow a disco ball and set up the spotlight or hang colored holiday lights around your storytime room. Play some fun, upbeat music and provide musical instruments (shakers, cymbals, bells, drums, triangles, etc.) to help kids get into the rhythm.

Base, Graeme. Jungle Drums. Harry N. Abrams, 2004.

Beaumont, Karen. Baby Danced the Polka. Dial Books for Young Readers, 2004.

Cronin, Doreen. Wiggle - ¡A tu ritmo! Atheneum, 2005.

Falconer, Ian. Olivia Forms a Band. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006.

Garriel, Barbara S. I Know a Shy Fellow Who Swallowed a Cello. Boyds Mills Press,


Jones, Melanie Davis. Pigs Rock! New York: Viking, 2003.

Moss, Lloyd. Our Marching Band. Putnam's, 2001.

Pinkney, Brian. Max Found Two Sticks. Simon & Schuster Books for Young

Readers, 1994.

Raffi. Wheels on the Bus: Raffi Songs to Read. New York: Crown, 1988.

Ryder, Joanne. Big Bear Ball. HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.

Sound Recordings:

Fisher Price. Disco Dance Party. Fisher Price, 2008.

Kidz Bop Kidz. Kidz Bop Dance Party. Razor & Tie, 2010.

Various Artists. Kids Dance Express: Disco Party. BMG, 2004.

Rhythm Activities:

“Boom Bang!

Boom, bang, boom, bang! (bang on instrument)
Rumpety, lumpety, bump! (drum)
Zoom, zam, zoom, zam! (slide hands back and forth)
Clippety, clappety, clump! bang on floor)
Rustles and bustles
And swishes and zings (hug shoulders and rock)
What wonderful noises a thunderstorm brings!
“Sing, Sing, Sing”
(to the tune of “Row, Row, Row your Boat”)
Sing, sing, sing with me.
Sing out loud and clear
To tell the people everywhere
That music time is here.

Craft: Shakers


  • Dried beans

  • Toilet paper rolls – 1 per child

  • Stapler

  • Crayons and/or markers

  • Stickers (for decorating)


  1. Staple the end of the roll shut, add beans and staple the open end closed.

  2. Have kids decorate with stickers and crayons.

  3. Now shake!


Audience: K-5

A little boy or girl often has dreams—big dreams!—of one day becoming a superhero. In this storytime, share books about the superheroes who never rest, day or night, in their mission to make the world a more awesome place.


Arnold, Tedd. Buzz Boy and Fly Guy. Scholastic, 2010.

Bright, Paul. Charlie's Superhero Underpants. Good Books, 2010.

Buehner, Caralyn. Dex: The Heart of a Hero. HarperCollins, 2004.

(originally published as Superdog: The Heart of a Hero)

Cottringer, Anne. Eliot Jones, Midnight Superhero. Tiger Tales, 2008.

Grey, Mini. Traction Man is Here. Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

Hardin, Melinda. Hero Dad. Marshall Cavendish Children, 2010.

Reynolds, Aaron. Superhero School. Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books, 2009.

Food Activity:

Try a recipe from Sarah L. Schuette’s Superhero Cookbook: Simple Recipes For Kids (Capstone Press, 2011). For example, kids can arrange veggies on a plate to make superhero faces.


  • A creative blogger shows how to take a cheap plain tote bag, a pair of scissors, and some fabric paint or markers and make a simple no-sew superhero cape in two minutes!

  • The California Young Reader Medal website has some good activities related to superheroes in their 2007-2008 Primary Resource Guide as there were two superhero stories amongst that year’s finalists: Traction Man is Here and Dex: The Heart of a Hero. Find instructions for the following two crafts, and other reading and writing activities in this pdf:

  • Use decorated toilet paper tubes and short pieces of yarn to make a fun superhero costume element: Superhero Blocking Bracelets!

  • In Traction Man, the boy draws faces on his toes. Get ideas from an Ed Emberley drawing book for how the children can turn their fingerprints into miniature superhero drawings.


Audience: Grades K-5

Set the stage in your story time area for an evening (or afternoon) of slightly scary storytelling fun by dimming the lights and drawing the drapes. Set up some LED candles to create the effect of flickering light without fire danger. Gather children on a rug close to the storyteller/reader and be ready with a selection of good and shivery stories. You might ask your listeners to close their eyes as you read a book like The Taily-Po so that imaginations can run wild, but perhaps another story, like the terrifying Japanese tale The Boy Who Drew Cats, might be made all the scarier by allowing children a close look at the creepy illustrations.

Though you may already have favorite spooky stories to share, remember to include a fun, cumulative, audience-participation story (such as The Squeaky Door or The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything) and be sure to keep the scare factor level appropriate to what your audience can handle!

Scary and Slightly-Scary Stories to Share:

Cole, Joanna. Bony-Legs. Simon & Schuster, 1983.

Cuyler, Margery. Skeleton Hiccups. McElderry Books, 2002.

Evans, Cambria. Bone Soup. Houghton Mifflin, 2008.

Galdone, Joanna. The Taily-Po: A Ghost Story. Houghton Mifflin, 1977.

Hodges, Margaret. The Boy Who Drew Cats. Holiday House, 2002.

Kohara, Kazuno. Ghosts in the House! Roaring Brook Press, 2008.

MacDonald, Margaret Read. The Squeaky Door. HarperCollins, 2006.

Ross, Tony. I Want My Light On! Andersen Press, 2007.

Schwartz, Alvin. Ghostly Tales from Folklore. HarperCollins, 1991.

Washington, Donna. A Big, Spooky House. Jump at the Sun/Hyperion, 2000.

Williams, Linda. The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything. HarperCollins,


Wood, Audrey. Heckedy Peg. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987.

Ziefert, Harriet. The Teeny-Tiny Woman. Viking, 1995
Story to Tell:

You can easily learn this memorable American folktale and tell it suspensefully.

“In a Dark, Dark House”

In a dark, dark forest…

There was a dark, dark house.

In that dark, dark house…

There was a dark, dark room.

In that dark, dark room…

There was a dark, dark cupboard.

In that dark dark cupboard…

There was a dark, dark box.

In that dark, dark box…

There was…..

A GHOST! (or other surprising item – you might also say “NOTHING!”)

Writing Activity:

As a group, have children brainstorm a list of things that they need in order to get a good night’s sleep (e.g. comfy pillow, goodnight kiss). Then brainstorm another list: things that would not help someone sleep (e.g. spooky noises, a pig in the bed). Then use the lists as a story-telling prompt with the following pattern:

“To get a good night’s sleep

You need __________.

You need __________.

You need __________.

But you don’t need __________!”
Type up a story form for the children to fill in (leave space for drawing!) or just have them tell these teeny tiny [scary] stories to each other. The ending of each story may be very surprising!

Craft: Story-Telling Haunted House Pop-Up Cup

This fun craft makes a great prop for telling a little ghost story! As in the model activity above, a story might be “To get a good night’s sleep, you need a dark sky, you need a warm house, you need a quiet room, but you don’t need—a ghost!”


  • Paper cups (~9 oz.) – 1 per child

  • Tissue paper (black and purple)

  • Crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers

  • Scissors

  • Gluesticks

  • Craft sticks – 1 per child

  • Construction paper

  • Optional: shiny star stickers


  1. Prepare the craft by printing the house clipart (adapted from MS Word) - four to a page - and poking a hole in the bottom of each cup (where the craft stick will pass through). Cut the tissue paper into rectangles that fit around the outside of the cup. You may also cut small ghost shapes from construction paper OR make templates so kids can trace and cut out their own.

  2. Kids color and cut out a house.

  3. Kids glue a strip of tissue paper over the outside of the cup and glue the house to one side (bottom of house at bottom of cup).

  4. Kids may also decorate the cup with shiny star stickers to create a nighttime scene.

  5. Kids cut out/decorate small ghost shapes. Kids glue or tape the ghost shapes to the top of a craft stick.

  6. Kids insert the craft stick through the cup so that the ghost is hidden inside the cup. When telling a ghost story, the kids can pop the ghost up over the cup to add a spooky surprise!


Audience: Grades K-5

Kids have always loved bedtime stories, and some of their favorites are fairy tales—stories that have been told around the world for centuries. In this program, share fairy tales that kids know and love—and introduce them to new ones (or unfamiliar variations on old favorites). Stories such as “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Princess and the Pea,” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses” tie in with a sleeping/bedtime theme.


Codell, Esmé Raji. Fairly Fairy Tales. Aladdin, 2011.

Fleming, Candace. Clever Jack Takes the Cake. Schwartz & Wade, 2010.

Hale, Bruce. Snoring Beauty. Harcourt, 2008.

Heide, Florence Parry. Princess Hyacinth. Schwartz & Wade, 2009.

Isadora, Rachel. The Twelve Dancing Princesses. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2007.

Thomas, Shelley Moore. Good Night, Good Knight. Puffin, 2000.

Wilcox, Leah. Falling for Rapunzel. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2003.

Yep, Laurence. Auntie Tiger. HarperCollins, 2009.

Storytelling Activity:

Write your own fractured fairy tale as a group by asking the children for words to fill in this “Mad-Lib story.” Even younger children can participate if you give them examples of parts of speech rather than using only their technical names. After you fill in the words, read the story aloud to the children! Note that there are a few words that you will have to add more than once, such as the fairy tale character’s name and the “noun-b.”

Once upon a time there was a/an [adjective]___________ [noun]___________ named [fairy tale character- “FTC”]___________ who lived in a/an [noun]___________ with [number-a]___________ [plural noun-a] ___________. One day the [FTC]___________ was alone at home and heard a/an [adjective]___________ sound outside. Suddenly a [noun-b]___________ [verb ending in -ed]___________ inside and put a/an [noun]___________ on [FTC]___________! [FTC]___________ was so [emotion]___________ that he/she/it turned into a [noun]___________! The [noun-b]___________ laughed and started to [verb]___________. But then the [number-a]___________ [plural noun-a] ___________ came home and saw what had happened to [FTC] ___________! They chased away the [noun-b] ___________ and [adverb] ___________ ran over to their friend, trying to [verb]___________. Finally when they shouted the magic words [exclamation] “___________!” [FTC] ___________ turned back into himself/herself/itself again. And they all lived [adverb]___________ ever after!

Craft: Story Scrolls

Talk with the children about some things that many fairy tales have in common. Let them brainstorm a list, which may include mysterious “once upon a time” beginnings, main characters who are very good, strange creatures, family problems, magical solutions, and, of course, happy endings. In this craft, children will write their own fairy tales on a long piece of “parchment” and decorate a piece of tube to hold the “scroll.”


  • Strips of butcher paper approximately 10” x 24” – 1 per child

  • Toilet paper/Paper towel tubes, cut into ~2” lengths – 1 piece per child

  • Crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers

  • Optional: Gluesticks

  • Optional: Stickers, sequins, glitter, ribbons, and/or other decorative elements


  1. Prepare the craft by rolling up the paper and placing it inside the tube.

  2. Children decorate the cardboard tube pieces (drawing/coloring them or decorating with other craft supplies you may have on hand) as desired.

  3. Children use the paper to write a short illustrated fairy tale.

Tip: We have found that children have trouble writing stories on the spot, but if you allow them to play with puppets or stuffed animals beforehand (or simultaneously), the creative play often inspires very clever little tales.


Audience: Grades K-5

Bedtime in California is daytime on the other side of the world, so share a program of stories and activities from the far side of the globe. This is a great way to use a “One World, Many Stories” program from the Eastern Hemisphere that you didn’t have time for last year. A book like Day and Night* can help introduce the scientific concept or you can use a globe (with a flashlight, if you like!). Of course you can just skip directly to the books and crafts from the international destination.

Here we present options for a program focused on the country of Turkey. You might first show photos and share information from nonfiction titles before moving to storytelling and other activities. If at all possible, share the stories while sitting on a rug together as a Turkish family would do. You might also have a conversation about how to show “hospitality” to each other, which is an important value in Turkish culture.

Demi. The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2004.

Gilani-Williams, Fawzia. Nabeel’s New Pants: An Eid Tale. Marshall Cavendish,


*Hall, Margaret. Day and Night-El día y la noche. Capstone Press, 2009.

Yolen, Jane. Little Mouse and Elephant: A Tale from Turkey. Simon & Schuster,


Stories to Tell:

  • The flannel board story “Eat, Coat, Eat” (from Judy Sierra’s Multicultural Folktales for the Feltboard and Readers’ Theater. Oryx Press, 1996) is a wonderful moral tale about looking beyond exterior appearances and showing hospitality.!

  • “The Night the Moon Fell into the Well” is also a good little tale to memorize, from Martha Hamilton’s Stories in My Pocket, Tales Kids Can Tell (Fulcrum Pub., 1996).

Game: “Kirkpinar Wrestling”

In Turkey’s biggest wrestling competition, participants (typically men) are covered in oil and wrestle each other—wearing only pants! Perhaps this isn’t something to re-create detail for detail in the library, but you might try thumb-wrestling after giving the kids a squeeze of hand lotion!

Food Activity:

Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim celebration marking the end of Ramadan, is celebrated in Turkey as “Sugar Holiday” or Seker Bayrami (She-KER BAY-rahm-ee). In 2012, it falls on Sunday, August 19. If your summer reading club extends into August, you might celebrate this event after 8/19 by letting the children try a Turkish sweet (such as Turkish delight, available at Middle Eastern stores for a few dollars a pound).

Craft: Shadow Puppets

  • Making Shadow Puppets (by Jill Bryant; Kids Can Press, 2002) and Judy Sierra’s Fantastic Theater (H.W. Wilson, 1991) have instructions for making traditional shadow puppets and putting on a play (including instructions for making a “screen”). These are fairly time-intensive but could be excellent for a longer program for older elementary-aged students. You might also conscript teen volunteers to create and perform a shadow puppet show!

  • An easier to use, excellent shadow puppet book is Shadow Theater (by Denny Robson, Shooting Star Press, 1993) which shows how to make shadow puppets from hands alone, or by adding very simple “props” from tagboard in order to create more complex characters without having to make especially complex puppets.

  • Although it works best if you have a translucent screen for the puppets as described in Making Shadow Puppets, you may also shine a light (flashlight or desk lamp) across the puppets onto a blank wall in a dimmed lighting situation.

  • You might also show videos of traditional Turkish shadow puppets, giving the kids a chance to hear the Turkish language as well. Here is one such link:


Audience: Grades K-5

Use this theme to display, booktalk, and read aloud some of your best nonfiction about really huge animals and other living things (such as redwood trees, coral reefs, and maybe even dinosaurs). If you want to focus on one particular giant animal, pair fun picture books with nonfiction titles.


Arnosky, Jim. Wild Tracks! A Guide to Nature’s Footprints. Sterling, 2008.

Beccaloni, George. Biggest Bugs Life Size! Firefly, 2010.

Chin, Jason. Redwoods. RB Flashpoint, 2009.

Jenkins, Steve. Actual Size. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Pfeffer, Wendy. Life in a Coral Reef. HarperCollins, 2009.

Wells, Robert. Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is? ¿Hay algo más grande

que una ballena azul? Whitman, 1993.


Barnett, Mac. Billy Twitters and His Blue Whale Problem. Disney/Hyperion, 2009.

Gorbachev, Valeri. Big Little Elephant. Harcourt, 2005.

Kolar, Bob. Big Kicks. Candlewick, 2008.

Stadler, Jim. Big and Little. Random House, 2007.


  • If you’ve got a safe outdoor sidewalk/asphalt area, by all means create sidewalk art representations of huge creatures. Depending on your space, you might outline the dimensions an elephant, a crocodile, a blue whale, a shark, a lion, or even a dinosaur for the children to fill in with chalk. Choose carefully: the Jurassic giant seismosaurus was 170 feet long, still only half the height of a California redwood tree.

  • If you don’t have an outdoor space, you can do narrower life-size animal outlines on butcher paper indoors. Make it an information literacy activity by having children look up facts about the animals (on the Web, in databases, in the encyclopedia, or from books) to write along the edges of the paper. See if you can find a place in the library to display your huge drawing.

  • You might also have the kids create life-size footprints of big animals on large construction paper (and then trace their own footprints inside).


Audience: Grades K-5

What is your dream home? A castle? A log cabin? An igloo? A beaver lodge? Share stories and pictures of dream homes for people, pets and animals. You can take the theme many directions: if you want to focus on architecture, see if a local architect can bring blueprints, renderings, or models to share; if you want to focus on homes for pets, invite a local animal shelter to do a pet adoption program; and if you prefer a closer look at animal dwellings, you could highlight the “dream” theme by focusing on hibernation!

Human Buildings:

Anacona, George. Mi Casa – My House. Scholastic, 2004.

Bos, Samone. Super Structures. DK, 2008.

Dahl, Michael. One Big Building. Picture Window Books, 2004.

Donati, Paolo. Amazing Buildings-Edificios asombrosos. DK, 1993.

Geis, Alissa Imre. Neil’s Castle. Viking, 2004.

Hudson, Cheryl Willis. Construction Zone. Candlewick Press, 2006.

Laroche, Giles. What’s Inside? Fascinating Structures Around the World. Houghton

Mifflin, 2009.

Macaulay, David. Building Big. Houghton Mifflin, 2000.

Riggs, Jennifer. Architecture and Construction: Building Pyramids, Log Cabins,

Castles, Igloos, Bridges, and Skyscrapers. Scholastic, 1995.

Steltzer, Ulli. Building an Igloo. Henry Holt, 1994.

Animal Homes & Hibernation:

Hall, Margaret. Hibernation - Hibernar. Capstone, 2009.

Reingold, Adam. The Beaver’s Lodge: Building with Leftovers. Bearport, 2010.

Terreson, Jeffrey. Animal Homes. National Geographic, 1998.

Walsh, Melanie. Do Lions Live on Lily Pads? Houghton Mifflin, 2006.

Wilson, Karma. Bear Snores On. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2002.

Pet Adoption:

Jackson, Emma. A Home for Dixie. Collins, 2008.

Shields, Gillian. Dogfish. Atheneum, 2008.

Passive Activity:

As a passive activity, hang butcher paper from the walls and give children freedom to draw features of their dream homes, inside or out, as the eponymous character does in Neil’s Castle.

Craft: Marshmallow-Spaghetti Houses


  • Large, flat pieces of cardboard

  • Uncooked spaghetti (about ½ lb. per 5 children)

  • Marshmallows (jumbo and/or mini, about 3 oz. per 5 children)

  • Tip: If you don’t want the children to eat the marshmallows, you’ll probably have to give them gum to chew instead.

  1. Group children into teams of 2-5 and give each team a piece of cardboard on which to build their structures.

  2. Each team receives spaghetti and marshmallows (amounts suggested above).

  3. Teams can use the spaghetti and marshmallows any way they want to build structures.

  4. Option: You can do this as a contest or with a more directed building prompt, such as see which team can build the tallest tower or ask children to create a specific type of building.


Audience: Grades K-5

Display lots of books about space, planets, aliens, and rockets, as well as science fiction. This program gives kids a chance to learn about the world beyond Earth—as well as reiterate the distinction between fiction and nonfiction.

Start with a title like Higher! Higher! which will seem at first to be the odd one out in a room of books about outer space. This simple book takes a familiar activity to a surprising new height as a little girl swings higher and higher above her playground--even going beyond Earth’s atmosphere! Although the book could ostensibly be nonfiction at first glance (since children truly do like to swing higher and higher!) by the end of the book most children will agree that it couldn’t really happen, and is thus fiction. Choose a few more fiction and nonfiction books to read or booktalk and continue to go over that fiction/nonfiction distinction with each one. The fun facts in nonfiction titles Astronaut Handbook and Is There Life in Outer Space? not only make the two books great read-alouds, but also lend themselves well to discussion or writing/drawing activities about space travel and extraterrestrial life. You might develop an activity to design a space suit, communicate an idea without using words, or envision the landscape of an undiscovered planet (as suggested below).

If you have an observatory or astronomy club in your area (don’t forget a university’s astronomy department!), contact them to discuss partnership ideas that could allow an extra dimension to library learning and fun by letting kids peer through real telescopes and talk to experts (and amateur hobbyists) about the night sky. Since summer skies darken so late, you might not be able to hold such a program in the library itself but find a way to take the library out into the community!



Hall, Katy. Simms Taback’s Great Big Book of Spacey, Snakey, Buggy Riddles.

Viking, 2008.

Hurd, Thacher. Moo Cow Kaboom! HarperCollins, 2003.

Marshall, Edward. Space Case. Dial, 1980.

McNaughton, Colin. We’re Off to Look for Aliens. Candlewick, 2007.

Patricelli, Leslie. Higher! Higher! Candlewick, 2009.

Rogerson, Gillian. You Can’t Eat a Princess! Price Stern Sloan, 2010.

Scieszka, Jon. Baloney (Henry P.). Viking, 2001.

Smallcomb, Pam. Earth to Clunk. Dial, 2011.

Todd, Barbara. Roger Gets Carried Away. Annick Press, 2005.

Yang, James. Joey and Jet in Space. Atheneum, 2006.


Branley, Franklyn M. Is There Life in Outer Space? HarperCollins, 1999.

Gifford, Clive. How to Meet Aliens. Franklin Watts, 2001.

McCarthy, Meghan. Astronaut Handbook. Knopf, 2008.

Ribas, Mariano.Guía turística del sistema solar. Iamique, 2008.

Game: Planetary Tag

You can play this game if you have a space big enough to accommodate some running! A community room that is not at full occupancy or an outdoor area work well for this variation on the game of tag. The game represents a journey across a solar system in which astronauts are trying to journey from one place to another without being touched by an unfriendly alien. Along their journey, they have the option of finding safe haven on different planets.

  • Mark off an area at each end of the room or field. The areas need to be just big enough that most children can fit in them together.

  • One child will be chosen to be the alien—“It”—and several children (approximately 15-20% of the whole group) will be designated “Planets.” The rest of the children are the “astronauts.” When the game begins, they must run from one side to the other without being tagged by “It.”

  • “Planets” stand somewhere in the middle of the playing area. They do not get to move, but they serve an important role: they serve as “safe” bases for children being chased by “It.” Children may stop at as many “planets” as they wish on their way across the solar system. However, only one child can stop at a particular planet at a time.

  • Children tagged by “It” must go to the sidelines to wait for the next round.

  • Rotate players through the various roles as time allows.

Craft: Extraterrestrial landscape

Children use their imaginations to make simple dioramas or collages of what another planet’s surface might be like.


  • Construction paper

  • Crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers

  • Scissors

  • Glue, gluesticks, and/or tape
  • Miscellaneous craft items such as tissue paper, craft sticks, sequins, stickers, straws, paper plates, balloons, pipe cleaners, glitter, CDs (which make good “flying saucers,” though don’t let the kids toss them!), etc. This is a good way to use up lots of odds and ends.


  1. Set the kids loose with lots of craft supplies and freedom to be creative! Have heavily illustrated books about other planets on hand in case kids need a little nonfiction inspiration, or come up with questions to get them thinking: what kind of living things might be on your planet? Are there any mountains, rivers, or other special land forms? What are some things found only on your planet and nowhere else in the universe?

  2. If a crafts free-for-all doesn’t work with your group size or program space, you can also pre-package identical sets of randomly-selected craft supplies in lunch bags and have kids work in groups. They’ll be surprised at the diversity of creations that result even when everyone started with the same items.


Audience: Grades K-5

You’ll read stories of famous people and historical figures to show children how dreamers can become doers. The program is meant to inspire kids to dream big and reach for the stars in their goals and aspirations. Take a look in your children’s biography section for some good read-alouds or select from the list below. With a group of older children, you can also use this theme as a way to teach some information literacy, perhaps using a database to look up information on famous people or teaching basic catalog searching to help young people find books about their favorite celebrities.


Corey, Shana. You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! Scholastic, 2000.

Levine, Ellen. Henry’s Freedom Box. Scholastic, 2007.

Paul, Chris. Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big. Simon & Schuster, 2009.

Pinkney, Andrea Davis. Sojourner Truth’s Step-Stomp Stride. Disney/Jump at the

Sun, 2009.

Rosenstock, Barbara. Fearless: The Story of Racing Legend Louise Smith. Dutton,


Weston, Mark. Honda, the Boy Who Dreamed of Cars. Lee & Low, 2008.

Winter, Jonah. Sonia Sotomayor: La juez que creció en el Bronx-A Judge Grows in

the Bronx. Atheneum, 2009.

Yaccarino, Dan. The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau. Knopf, 2009.

Craft: Library Walk of Fame

Children make stars à la Hollywood Walk of Fame to show their dream careers.


  • Large star cut-outs (at least 8” wide) – 1 per child

  • Crayons, colored pencils, and/or markers


  • Children write their names in the center of a star and draw a picture of what is going to make them famous one day. Encourage big dreams!

  • You can gather all the stars and post them in a library display to showcase everyone’s goals, or the children can take the stars home to remind them of their dreams.

Activity: Chinese Theater Sidewalk

Outside one famous Hollywood theater, successful movie stars and directors have left their mark—handprints, footprints, and signatures in concrete outside the theater. Kids can do the same by tracing hands or feet (shoes) and signing their names on a large piece of butcher paper that has been taped to the floor. This could be a great culmination party activity to show the “stars” of summer reading club” and memorialize that particular group of kids. You might also roll up the paper and present it to your donors!


Audience: All Ages

There’s nothing more fun that telling stories and eating s’mores around a campfire, unless it is sharing camping books at the library and making s’mores necklaces! The Kids Campfire Book has lots of ideas (stories! games! nature activities! campfire recipes!) for real campouts but you’ll find many that can be used in the library.
You might also invite a special guest for this program. Do you have a local county, state, or national park that offers evening programs for families? Invite a ranger to come to your library program to tell stories, talk about nocturnal animals, or other natural features in the area. In return, perhaps you can be a featured guest at that park’s campground program, telling stories and reminding campers to visit the library when they return from their vacations—because books can take you anywhere!


Berry, Lynne. Duck Tents. Henry Holt and Co., 2009.

Drake, Jane. The Kids Campfire Book. Kids Can Press, 1998.

James, Helen Foster. S is for S'mores: A Camping Alphabet. Sleeping Bear Press,



“Campfire Hokey Pokey” (To the tune of “Hokey Pokey”.)

You put your marshmallow in,
You take your marshmallow out,
You put your marshmallow in and you shake it all about,
You do the campfire pokey,
and you turn yourself about,
And that's what it's all about!
“By the Campfire”


We sat around the campfire on a chilly night (hug self)
Telling spooky stories in the pale moonlight (look up to the sky)
Then we added some more logs, to make the fire bright,
And sang some favorite camp songs

Together with all our might. (extend arms outward)

And when the fire flickered,

And embers began to form,

We snuggled in our sleeping bags
All cozy, tired, and warm. (lie on ground, hug self)

  • Make a miniature campfire by recycling old CDs and adding small sticks, stones, and tissue paper fire:

  • Put the campfire on your head in these fun paper hats—you can even add marshmallows!

  • S’mores Necklaces look good enough to eat but are actually made from craft foam.


Passive; All Ages

Each month during summer reading club, offer a different “coloring sheet” that helps kids dig into books—and how to find them at the library. Rather than ask kids to merely color a pre-made drawing, take an opportunity to have them develop research and creative skills. Each month, have available a paper with a prompt and space to write and draw about a particular area of the Summer Reading theme.

The prompt might be something like: “Find a book about your favorite planet. Write down the title, author, and call number of the book, find one fact to share about the planet, and draw a picture of the planet or something you might see there.” Then provide a call number range for finding planet books in your library. You could also highlight a particular database or kid-friendly website and ask children to do the same activity, using the online resource in place of a book. In most cases, these directions will result in a few reference questions that get the kids interacting with librarians and learning a bit about how to find books and information in the library.

Suggest other prompts based on Dream Big themes that you’re using—tie them in with a program if you like. For example, you might have kids find information about their favorite big animal, draw a scene from a fairy tale or ghost story, or highlight a biographical fact about a dreamer and doer.
The drawings and facts can go on display in the library. You can choose one to win a prize (whether from a random drawing of names or based on how well the child used library resources). Later you can gather the pages into a book and let patrons browse it to find out what their “community of readers” has been learning and creating over the summer.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2019
send message

    Main page