THE most important lesson that I learned in kindergarten was not about sharing, raising my hand, or taking turns, and had nothing to do with the proper use of scissors.
The most important thing I learned when I was five is that books could take me anywhere I wanted to go. Sure, my family went on our fair share of car trips, but they were nothing compared to the trips I could take just by talking my dad into taking one trip to the library.
Whether I was taking a trip to the banks of Plum Creek, Pooh Corner or the wilds of Africa, we didn’t have to worry about making reservations, or the ever-increasing price of gas.
There are a lot of kids in Columbus who are spending some pretty long, travel-free days this summer. Due to circumstances beyond their control, there are no beach vacations to far-off destinations, or even many day trips to visit places one state over in their summertime plans.
High gas prices, unemployment and an overall struggling economy make this summer a summer of “staycations” for many kids, so I would like to remind them and their parents that if you are staying in Columbus this summer, at the library we “geek” travel.
Even if our methods of transport can be a bit unconventional, prepare to be amazed at all the places you can visit.
Travel with author Sara Pennypacker to Cape Cod, as she tells the tale of Stella and Angel, two foster kids who have the summer of their lives as they are forced to cope with an unforeseen tragedy. “Summer of the Gypsy Moths” is best for Grades 5 and up and is guaranteed to make you feel like you visited the Cape!
Jeff Brown’s “Flat Stanley” is back and traveling worldwide! Join our flat friend as he travels to places as varied as Mount Rushmore, China and Japan.
A tour of the United States capitals and an African safari round out a series of travel adventures not to be missed for Grades 2 and up.
Have you ever been to a rhubarb farm where the rhubarb tastes like chocolate? Pick up “Drizzle” by Kathleen Van Cleve for a taste of farm life without ever having to leave the city.
Of course this farm is magical ... “Drizzle” is best for Grades 4 and up, and even younger if you read it aloud.
For the most adventurous among you, look for Margi Preus’ “Heart of a Samurai” and Gennifer Choldenko’s “No Passengers Beyond This Point.” “Samurai” will leave you breathless at the power of the high seas, and “Passengers” will have you looking at airline travel in a decidedly different way. Pink taxi anyone?
Both of these fine novels are great for kids Grades 5 and up and the adults in their lives.
Jodi Prather is a library assistant in Children’s Services at Bartholomew County Public Library.
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