As another school year winds down and kids and parents start thinking about summer plans, it's the perfect time to visit the nearest branch of the Beaufort County library and unearth all sorts of interesting books.
After the last report card is received, kids have the luxury -- for at least part of the summer -- of reading their own selections, rather than being tied to a school reading list. We have books for every interest, hobby and reading level at your local library, and for free.
Here are just a few suggestions to keep your young reader learning and entertained this summer:
WILD IN THE LOWCOUNTRY
Kids who are lucky enough to live in the Lowcountry have plenty of outdoor activities to keep them busy. Why not help your youngster learn more about the beautiful areas we call home? "Face to Face with Dolphins," by Linda and Flip Nicklin, is a fascinating book about one of the most popular creatures that inhabit our waters. Beachcombers can identify the treasures they pick up with the book "Shell," by Alex Arthur, which is part of the Eyewitness Books series. Readers of all ages will be fascinated by two books that focus on the sea turtles that are native to our area when they check out "Little Turtle and the Song of the Sea," by Sheridan Cain, and "Turtle Tide: The Ways of Sea Turtles," by Stephen R. Swinburne.
Your local library can help you unleash your child's creativity this summer. Our shelves are stocked with arts and craft books, drawing books and titles that cover music and dance, as well as an eye-catching collection of kids' cookbooks. The "Learn to Draw" series includes several volumes featuring popular Disney characters and movies such as "Tinker Bell," "Toy Story" and "Cars." Readers will find clear, step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow and will have them drawing their own masterpieces. A great collection of craft books are available at every branch, and summer is the perfect time to work on a family project together. Kids who love to cook will find an array of fun, easy-to-follow, kid-friendly recipes in our libraries. "The Boxcar Children Cookbook" and "Paula Deen's Cookbook for the Lunch-Box Set" are great books for young foodies to check out.
GROSS THEM OUT
Summer is a great time to explore all the gross, yucky and disgusting facts that are out there in the big wide world. The perennially popular "Ripley's Believe It or Not!" books are great for reluctant readers, as well as for kids who just love to be freaked out (or love freaking out their parents). Another gross tome to try is "Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty," by Joy Masoff.
When boredom hits, the library has plenty of diversions to get your kids out of their summertime blues. We have lots of books that will help you learn how to juggle, do origami and learn magic tricks. The joke bookshelf and the poetry sections are filled with titles that are sure to get you laughing. "Rainy Days & Saturdays," by Linda Hetzer, and "The Kids' Summer Games Book," by Jane Drake and Ann Love, are filled with great ideas for staying entertained using items found around the house. Fans of LEGOs and budding architects will spend hours looking through Daniel Lipkowitz's "The LEGO Ideas Book: Unlock Your Imagination," or the "LEGO Star Wars: The Visual Dictionary."
The friendly staff of your nearby library will be happy to help you find the titles mentioned above, as well as recommend their favorite books. The staff are experts at finding that perfect book to meet your kids' interests and abilities, and they love talking with kids to hear about their favorite titles too.
So, load up the kids, and come on by -- we are eagerly waiting to see you.
Julie Bascom is the children's manager at Hilton Head Island library.