Re: Who Remembers the Parkside Library's Summer Reading Program?

05/24/16 - posted by candis smyk hurlbut

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The Sunset Branch Library also had a reading program. It was "Summer Travel" the first year I lived in The City and signed up. There were mostly very, very old books (ok, it was the late 50s, and the 1930s, or even further back in prehistory)that were ancient history even to us slightly pre babyboomers)books, with the distinctive faded pages and odor of books acquired before WWII.

One book was, "The Land of Joan of Arc," supposedly about one of my lifetime Women Heroines. It actually was one of those dry elderly books, with poor photos, absolutely boring descriptions, and names I could not pronounce. The librarian kept asking me to name the cities (duh!), and I kept shaking my head because I did not know how to pronounce them and was too shy to attempt it. I did not receive credit, and I realized she thought I hadn't read the book at all! I also didn't have the nerve to ask, if I didn't know French, how the hell was I supposed to know how to pronounce the names? I did subsequently receive credit for 3, perhaps 4, other books, but did not achieve the supposed joy of reading boring books rather than books I wanted to read.

After some time, and realizing their program attracted few and few readers each year (5 or 6 books! Less than 15 kids!), it was decided *any* books would qualify after the program was about to tank...at least with Sunset Branch kids. That was 1958: The year I WON! Little Miss Loser I had *finally* won something!!!! Unfortunately, my ego(a triple minus number back then)was shot down quickly. My parents thought the less structured program was "really, really stupid!" I collected my award (No certificate, it was a children's mystery book(yay!)with my name and some nice words written inside by a librarian), slunk home, and put it on a shelf. After numerous moves up and down, both in The City and Northwest states, I still have that book, that still states I was a winner. I've done well over the years, but I treasure that book which reminds me I wasn't a loser after all. The book was, Mystery At Deer Hill.

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