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The Good Long Road | Commentary by Jennifer Fischer
| Saturday, Jun 15, 2013

JenniferFischerSeveral weeks ago as I worked my way through the ABCs of the SCV, I gave some love to libraries, since in the Santa Clarita Valley there are City of Santa Clarita libraries and County of Los Angeles libraries. Along the journey, we’ve also explored Animals, Bicycle Trails, Central Park, Drums, Education, Family Dinner, Golf, Hiking, Imagination, Jammin’, Kids in the Kitchen, Movies, Newhall, Out of Town Fun, Pizza and Quakes.

Summer is a great time to focus on reading and to enjoy these libraries. Story time continues at many of the libraries throughout the summer, so check websites or call to find out what the new times and dates are, as schedules have changed.

Also, the City of Santa Clarita libraries kicked off reading summer programs for kids, teens and adults this past Monday. These programs offer lots of ways to enjoy reading this summer, get kids and teens excited about reading, and provide fun activities that go beyond the book.

Personally, I love summer reading, since it often means reading poolside, seaside or even at the park or in the backyard as the boys play outside. I also find that the slower summer pace means I feel I have more time to read, and I love modeling the value and importance of reading for my sons.

santaclaritalibrary061013

SantaClaritaLibrary.com

It is always more powerful to lead by example, rather than hoping they will do something because I tell them they should. The boys love books as much as I do. We also have a tent in the yard now, and it is proving to be a fun summer reading nook for the boys. They love reading in a new and exciting place – about as much as I love reading at the beach.

On my blog (The Good Long Road) this year, I have been doing a new series I call “Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge” in honor of the fact that the County of Los Angeles Library is celebrating its 101st birthday this year. (Since I live in Val Verde, I use the Castaic Library and SCV Bookmobile more frequently than the City of Santa Clarita Library system, although my husband really loves the new Newhall Library.)

Through Project 101, each Saturday, I share a favorite book the boys have been reading from the library that week, as well as a book I am reading. It has been quite a challenge for me to share a book a week, and sometimes I find myself writing about a book before I finish it. Still, I have enjoyed the challenge to read more, and I have discovered new authors and books in the process.

Using the library and emphasizing reading with my young boys also means discovering new authors and books for them, which I often do through the Virtual Book Club for Kids. You can find the VBCK on Facebook or you could start your own book club – a grown-up one with friends, or join in with some other moms you know to start a book club for kids. Either way, summer is a great time to jump start a reading habit that might have lulled during a busy school year. (The City of Santa Clarita Library site has resources for book clubs, as well).

In particular, this year I have enjoyed reading books that encourage me to slow down and focus on my family – books that remind me to treasure and value what I have. Reading itself is an activity that promotes quiet focus – unlike all of the devices we seem to be plugged into all the time – and quality books that emphasize appreciating and treasuring all that is around me when I do unplug are the books I enjoy the most.

Recently on The Good Long Road blog, I shared some of my favorite reads through my “Project 101: Weekly Library Challenge,” which included “Following Ezara: What One Father Learned About Gummy, Otters, Autism and Love from His Extraordinary Son” by Tom Fields-Meyer; “The Mother’s Guide to the Meaning of Life” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, more known for her children’s books such as “Duck! Rabbit!” which we absolutely love; “The Rhythm of Family: Discovering a Sense of Wonder Through the Seasons” by Amanda Blake Soule of Soule Mama (http://soulemama.com/), written with Stephen Soule; and “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life” by Barbara Kingsolver with Steven L. Hopp and Camille Kingsolver (Barbara Kingsolver is best known for “The Poisonwood Bible”) – her book about spending one year eating only local food is a big favorite for me. Plus, I also enjoyed rediscovering “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” and “Through The Looking Glass and What Alice Found There” by Lewis Carroll.

What’s on your summer reading list? Remember, I’m pushing myself to read one book each week this year, more or less, so please pop over to The Good Long Road on Facebook and share some great book suggestions.

 

Jennifer Fischer is co-founder of the SCV Film Festival, a mom of two, an independent filmmaker and owner of Think Ten Media Group, whose Generation Arts division offers programs for SCV youth. She writes about her parenting journey on her blog, The Good Long Road. Her commentary is published Saturdays on SCVNews.com.

 

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