Dozens of things to do for you and your whole family.
ISSUE 445:

There’s a point, somewhere between the official first day of summer and the first week of July, when we all feel it. Something shifts. The longest day of the year passes, and the light gets hotter as the days begin to shorten just the slightest bit. We’ve had our BBQs, our fireworks, our celebrations, maybe even taken a trip or two. We’ve indulged in lazy days and movie nights. We’ve gone through boxes of Popsicles and gallons of lemonade. School supplies have started appearing in the stores, replacing the colorful jumble of picnic gear, beach balls, and swimming goggles.

Then, finally, we begin to realize that we’ve arrived in mid-summer. That school is right around the corner. And if we’re going to get a bit extra summer reading in before it’s all over, now’s the time to do it.

Now, getting kids who may have gotten comfortable lazing around the house and chilling out in front of screens to pick up a book and read can be an epic battle, but it’s a battle worth fighting. Just ten minutes of reading a day can help to stave off the learning losses that happen when kids are outside of a classroom setting for weeks at a time. All it takes is a little bit of creativity, a couple of trips to the library, and maybe a treat or two to give midsummer a literary spin.

Hit the library: Many libraries in our area participate in Summer Reading programs and reading challenges for teens and adults. Check them out to find reading fun the whole family can join!

Make time for reading: Whether it’s bedtime or breakfast time, set aside 10 minutes to half an hour to read together every day. Make it part of the routine. Be consistent. And no matter how much the kids beg to replace that time with video games or TV, be firm. Hand them books, magazines, or even the newspaper. And don’t forget to give yourself something to read too. You do have to set a good example, after all!

Get a change of scene: Create fun reading zones around the house. For example, let kids pile pillows in the corner of the living room to make a reading nook or make a reading fort out of the dining room table for a day. Set up a tent in the backyard and read by flashlight under the stars. Get creative with an old playhouse, play tent, or even a large cardboard box. Kids love nooks, and nooks are just made for books!

Go with a theme: Create a meal, snacks, or treats that match the theme of a book you’re reading. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory immediately comes to mind! “Give a Mouse a Cookie” by baking some of your own. Make the snow candy Laura and Mary loved in Little House in the Big Woods. Serve up Goldfish or Swedish Fish along with a serving of Dr. Seuss’ “Red Fish Blue Fish.” Make a peach cobbler to go with a big helping of James and the Giant Peach. Or, simply serve your readers a dessert of dirt and bookworms. Just crumble Oreo cookie “dirt” over the top of a dish of ice cream, then tuck gummy worms on top.

Read the book, see the movie: One way to get kids to read is to promise them some screen time. So pick out a book and read it together. Start with this list - just the tip of the book-to-movie iceberg. Then, pop a big bowl of popcorn and settle in for a movie night. When the credits roll, talk about how the movie and the book are different or similar. Talk about your favorite parts in both versions. Or, flip it. If you’ve already seen a movie based on a book, read the book. Or, pick a well-known fairy tale or story that the kids have only seen on screen and read the book…or comic book, as the case may be!

Host a book exchange: If your bookshelves feel a little full, but your kids are complaining that there’s nothing to read, invite a few friends over to swap books. First, clean out your bookshelves and ask your friends to do the same. Once you have a good pile of books to swap, sort them into age groups. On the day of your swap, designate a table for books. Put younger-age and picture books on one end and older readers on the other.

When your guests arrive, sort their books onto the table. Serve up a simple lunch or some literary-themed snacks and drinks, and let everyone browse the books before starting your swap. Encourage adults to bring books for a grown-up exchange too! Provide some post-its and pencils so guests can add a recommendation to their books or a description of why they liked a particular book. Once your guests have picked their books, give them some time to hang out and read by spreading blankets out in a shady spot outdoors or designating a reading corner inside. Send everyone home with a homemade bookmark or a small reading journal.

Happy reading!





Read & Make: The Good Egg

This activity is a fun two-parter that fits nicely with the main article in this issue and is ideal for your kids or Tweens. First, borrow The Good Egg, either the book or online version, then complete the activities provided in the Read & Make Kit. Sign-ups for kits open on Thursday, July 22, and go through July 29 or while supplies last.



Bookmark Drawing Contest

Open to everyone who lives, works, volunteers, or attends school in Pasadena, the winning design will be featured in a limited print run of unique Pasadena Public Library bookmarks. Entries must be submitted by July 31. 




This virtual program uses a LEGO STEM Activity Kit to explore, play, and learn. Open to kids ages 7-12 years old. Pick up your Activity Kit before starting the program. Registration is required, and the remaining seats are very limited.

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the orange cat bookshop
You can find The Good Egg, featured in Picks of the Litter, and other books listed in the orange cat in our custom bookshop. (Psst, our bookshop supports Vroman's.)

Summer Reading Programs

Every year the libraries in our cities host summer reading programs. These are great opportunities to learn and explore with families outside of your immediate neighborhood and school. Here are some of the programs in the Greater Pasadena area:


Pasadena Public Library

Altadena Public Library

Monrovia Public Library

LA County Library

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LevelUP Teens: Sexual Health, Identity, Understanding, and Options Workshops

From July 19-23, a series of zoom workshops for teens ages 14-18 covers various sexual and reproductive topics. The workshops use accurate terminology for reproductive organs, review essential functions, educates on gender identity and orientation, diseases and transmission prevention, and birth control. Registration required. All workshops are an hour and begin at 1:00 PM.

July 19: Getting to know your body - Reproductive Anatomy

July 20: Sexual orientation and gender identity

July 21: STIs and prevention (health education)

July 22: Birth control methods (health education)

July 23: Pregnancy options (health education)




Teens (grades 6-12) can join the Altadena Discord Server to get the details on upcoming gaming sessions, character-building tips, and lots more. 



Teen Zine Workshop - Outdoors!

Your creative Teen is invited to join the teen zine workshop on the Altadena Main Library front lawn, where they will learn the ins and outs of zine-making, get feedback on current projects, and find out how to have their zine carried by the library! It happens on Saturday, July 17, from 3:00 PM till 4:00 PM. 



*Vibe* Picnic

Once a month during summer, your Teen can join the Altadena Library Main Branch's front lawn picnic to snack, craft, and, well, chill. This month the 'Gram worthy happenings are on Saturday, July 24, from 3:00 PM till 5:00 PM.

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Animal Crossing Hour

Kids through Teens can visit Altadena Libraries' Animal Crossing Island every Monday through July 26, from 4:00 PM till 5:00 PM. 
Registration is required to receive a friend code. Recommended for ages 9 and up.



Curiosity Connection Park Pop-Up

Lower Loma Alta Park plays host to the Altadena Libraries' new bookmobile on Thursday, July 22, from 3:00 PM till 5:00 PM. There will be lawn games, bubble play, some dancing, books to check out, and more. No reservation is required. Just show up!



Tiff and Tosh June Crafts

Tiff and Tosh are back on the Pasadena Library's Instagram Live with some unique crafts for June. Check them out on Monday, July 26, at 3:00 PM.



LA County's Natural Area Park Tour

Kids, Tweens, and Teens take a virtual tour of Vasquez Rocks, San Dimas Canyon, and Wildlife Sanctuaries to learn about their unique environments and meet the animals that call them home. Registration required. The tour happens on Tuesday, July 20 at 11:00 AM.

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Rocks Rock!

Your Tween can pick up an activity kit at any LA County Library while supplies last (call ahead to check availability) and tune into the Rocks Rock program on the library's YouTube channel. They will learn about the rock cycle and create their own rocks!



Nature Sun Prints

Your kid (Toddlers) can use the 2021 Spring & Summer Discovery Program Activity Kit to create nature sun prints using light-sensitive paper and everyday objects from outside. 



Tessellation Art

Your Teen can bring math, science, and art together to create this art project. It can be as straightforward or as complex as they want. 


NOTE: Story times are subject to change. Please check the sites. Recorded story times are generally available on library YouTube channels.

Teen Inspiration

Check out Altadena Library's Teen Instagram account for BTWN TiTLES, their biweekly posts of book reviews, creativity experiments, and more.

Pasadena Public Library regular storytimes:

Social Media Storytime: Preschool on Mondays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Facebook Live and Thursday at 3:00 - 3:20 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Toddler on Tuesdays at 10:30 - 10:50 AM on Instagram Live


Chinese Mandarin Storytime on Wednesdays at 3:00 PM on Instagram Live


Social Media Storytime: Hora de Cuento en Español on Wednesdays at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Facebook Live


Social Media Storytime: ASL (American Sign Language) on Friday at 4:00 - 4:20 PM on Instagram Live

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