Summer Reading Stats and Non-Fiction for Kids in Library News & Notes

I just finished the BEST book! My husband has heard me say those words so many times I can see his eyes start to glaze over even before the sentence is out of my mouth. He knows a summary of the plot is about to commence.

My “Best Book” for this week is a new middle grade fantasy, The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill. A burned library is the center of the tale, and its absence is one of the reasons for the demise of the community. The orphans, being well-read and thus resourceful, brainstorm solutions to the malice and inertia that have overtaken the town.

The Ogress and the Orphans

What are you reading? If the answer is “nothing,” I’m surprised. You have taken the time to read this article so you must be a reader. Come to the library this instant and get a book that may become your next best book!

If you are part of our Summer Reading Program and are trying to log as many minutes as you can before July 30, stay valiant and strong in your efforts, dear reader. Our program ends at the stroke of midnight on July 30 so all reading must be logged, and virtual tickets distributed into the raffle(s) of your choice.

Raffle drawings (for kids and teens) will take place on Monday, August 1.

Here are some summer reading program participation statistics:
• Number of Readers/All Programs – 1169
• Largest Group of Participants (kids) By Age – 7-year-olds
• Badges Earned – 7,170
• Minutes Read – 657,519

It won’t be long until we will be turning our thoughts forward (fall-ward?) and thinking about school. If
you are a teacher, principal, school secretary, paraprofessional, janitor, school bus driver, media specialist, or superintendent you don’t have to read this. It might be too stressful. In our area, school starts in less than 30 days!

The only thing I could tolerate about the specter of school starting was the back-to-school shopping! I loved picking out my school supplies.

During the month of July, the library is partnering with the YMCA to collect school supplies for kids in
our area. See a complete list of needed items here: https://ofplblog.info/2022/07/05/school-supply-drive-at-ofallon-public-library/

The supply drive will end on July 31. Thank you in advance for your generosity!

Since I started with books, I’ll finish with books. I just read an article in Publisher’s Weekly about how
children’s nonfiction has an image problem.

Despite solid research showing many children prefer nonfiction and many more enjoy both nonfiction and fiction equally, most adults believe children prefer made-up stories. Melissa Stewart, author of more than 200 nonfiction titles for children, worries that schools and libraries try to steer kids towards fiction
and narrative nonfiction and away from expository nonfiction even though, the United States lags way
behind other countries in STEM education.

At the conclusion of the article, she offers suggestions for addressing the problem today, including:

  • Purchase a mix of fiction, narrative nonfiction, and expository nonfiction for the children in your life, and share all three kinds of books as read alouds.
  • If children you know show a preference for expository nonfiction, respect and encourage their choices. Don’t try to steer them toward fiction. Once they become confident readers, they will begin to explore a broad range of books on their own.
  • Donate or suggest a broad range of high-quality, recently published nonfiction titles to schools and libraries in your community. This can benefit dozens of children over many year’s time.

This article originally appeared in the O’Fallon Weekly.

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