book-authors2Summer reading programs are under way at regional libraries. Children, teens, and adults read for prizes -many donated by local businesses - ranging from tasty treats to fun, and unusual, activities. In July, kids and families can participate in noisy flower-pounding in Asotin, outdoor family theater in Moscow, and creative pillow-making in Clarkston.

“We believe that the more the kids are in the library, the better,” said Mary Neuman, youth services librarian at the Asotin County Library in Clarkston, who recently hosted an overnight campout.

The Lewiston library has a different spin on the sleepover idea; they host an animal sleepover. On July 10 at 6 p.m., children are invited to bring a favorite stuffed animal to the library and put them to bed. While the kids are gone, the animals get into mischief. Children come to get their animals the next day and receive a photo book of what happened the night before.

These extra programs are a summer tradition with great turnout, says Kathleen Ahern, youth services librarian at Neill Public Library in Pullman. Coming to Pullman on July 13 is Jarom Watts, a bubble illusionist from Spokane, who will be at the library at 10:30 a.m. and at 1:30 p.m.

Residents in the Colfax area can attend a presentation from the WSU Raptor Club at 10:30 a.m. July 12 at the Whitman County Library there.

Families on the go can access a range of travel entertainment. Besides books, DVDs, and audiobooks, both the Lewiston City Library and Latah County libraries now carry Playaways, a pocket-sized audio player that comes with an entire book preloaded on it and ready-to-go.

The Playaway View, available only at the Lewiston library, is designed for younger children. The durable player has a screen for children to watch and listen to several preloaded picture books. The battery lasts for hours and the device comes with a recharger.

“These are perfect for travel,” said Heather Stout, interim director at the Lewiston City Library. “Give it to the kids in the backseat. Then when you get to the hotel you can recharge it for the next day.”

All of these reading formats count toward summer reading points.

Both Playaway devices are simple and easy for readers of all ages to operate. Playaways in Lewiston come with batteries, headphones, and standard car adapter; those in Latah county require user-supplied accessories. As with all Valnet catalogue items, Playaways can be requested to any participating library, though Playaway Views must be picked up at the Lewiston location.

Those with their own e-readers, mp3 players or laptops can access Overdrive, a digital library, through their local library website. With more than 500 titles to read and listen to, digital checkout has certain advantages while traveling.

“You can do it from anywhere in the country where you have internet," said Seferino Esparza, a Lewiston library clerk.

Users who need guidance setting up their devices can come into the library for one-on-one instruction and help.

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- Special to by Michelle Schmidt

Book suggestions for kids from Lewiston librarian Heather Stout

Picture books:

  • "Stellaluna," by Janell Cannon

  • "Where the Wild Things Are," by Maurice Sendak

  • "Junglewalk," by Nancy Tafuri

  • "Bear’s New Friend," by Karma Wilson

  • "Owl Moon," by Jane Yolen

Chapter books:

  • "Gregor the Overlander," by Susanne Collins (author of the Hunger Games)

  • "Hoot," by Carl Hiaasen

  • "Guardians of Ga’Hooole," series by Kathryn Lasky

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