In a galaxy far far away, there was a tired teen librarian who barely survived her first summer reading. Well okay technically this wasn’t my first summer reading, it’s my third. BUT it was my first summer reading as a programmer. Which is a whole new beast in and of itself. If you haven’t guessed yet, the theme for this years program was a Universe of Stories! 

I did my best to plan programs that were space-related including an Edible Space Station Contest, Star Wars Day, and Space Terrariums. As the teen services librarian, I already have a core set of programs (clubs) that I host for the kids year-round including Anime Club, Book Club, Gaming Club, and Teen Advisory Group. I kept these core programs going over the summer and just gave them ~special summer hours~.  I tried to do the programs as early as I could, between all of my other responsibilities in the library. They were mostly held between 1 – 3 pm. The kids seemed to like this because it meant that they had more time to do things in the evenings. 

As far as the special programs each month, I tried a few new things to see if my teens would be interested. Let me just say,  I don’t think they were intrigued by the Space Terrariums. Luckily that was a program that I co-hosted with the children’s department so it wasn’t a total flop. We got a bunch of mason jars, different colored sand, rocks, and space themed figurines (astronauts and aliens). Then we let them fill up their mason jar with whatever sand they wanted, rocks, and the figurines. Boom! It was a simple program that the kids enjoyed. 

The edible space station contest was a variation of a program I did a few months ago called the edible mars rover contest. I gave the kids graham crackers, candy, cookies, frosting, and let them loose. I showed them what the International Space Station looked like to give them some ideas, but most of them went with their unique style. All of them seemed to enjoy it, plus they got to eat a bunch of junk. Never underestimate the power of food. 

You would think that with summer reading being well about reading, that I would have gotten through quite a few books this summer. You are wrong my friend. I barely got to read anything in June or July. In my June post, you’ll see that I complained about a reading slump. It managed to follow me into July and I read a whopping four books the whole month. 

Here are the reviews! 

I finally managed to get through Hero at the Falls. This is the third book in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy that I started reading a few years ago. Now keep in mind, I’ve had this book sitting on my bookshelf for at least a year now. I’ve been meaning to read it for so long, but for some reason, I never got around to reading it until now. And I’m going, to be honest, I probably should have re-read the other books in the story before picking this one up. Reading it ‘cold’ after so long it was hard to slip back into the world and get in sync with the characters. There were several aspects of the book and the storyline that I was a little confused about and found hard to follow. Again I don’t know if this was because it had been so long. Either way, it was a decent wrap up to the end of a series. 

East is a re-read for me! This is probably one of my favorite books as it introduced me to the folktale East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Pattou was able to weave a beautiful story that integrated the original tale wonderfully. This has long been a favorite of mine and I knew I wanted to re-read it for the sequel that she put out. In fact, she re-released the first book and totally redesigned the cover. (I’ve included both covers here) For context, the original book came out about 10 years ago. The last time I read it was probably 6 or 7 years ago. This book inspired me to write my version of East of the Sun, which is still potentially in the works. I highly recommend this book if you like to read retellings of folklore and fairytales. 

This is a short book and a quick read. This was an audiobook for me that I was able to get through pretty quickly in a couple of days. The whole premise of the book is that its a flip-flop retelling of Moby Dick. So instead of humans telling the story, it was the whales. The concept was interesting enough to intrigue me. Mind you, I’ve never read Moby Dick. I mean I know the concept of it – a man goes crazy going after his white whale – and that there is a bunch of symbolism in it. The same could be said for And the Ocean Was Our Sky. The whales were able to give voice to their grievances, especially those committed by the humans. The antagonist in the story was… a little odd if I’m going, to be honest. The idea for that was a little hard for me to wrap my head around. I think it would have made more sense if I read the physical book because it included a lot of visuals. Other than that it was an interesting read!

The Sleeper and the Spindle was another quick book. This one I listened to via audiobook and I highly recommend you do the same. It had a full cast AND did amazing sound effects to enhance the story. I’m talking footsteps, creaking doors, the whole nine! It was amazing to listen to. This book also has graphics associated with the print version that you should also take a look at. Sleeper was a twist on a fairytale retelling. It focused on a grown-up Snow White and how she sets off to save a kingdom whose been asleep for 70 years. The storyline didn’t end up the way I initially thought it would, which was refreshing. Highly recommend this one!

Until next time!