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

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, and 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! If You 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!




Note: the book titles above include affiliate links to the orange cat reading list on When you purchase a title from the list, you support the orange can and Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena.

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Pasadena's Juneteenth Celebration

Your family is invited to Pasadena's family-friendly Juneteenth celebration, with music, dancing, arts & crafts, inflatable games, and food. It happens on June 18, from 10:00 AM till 2:00 PM at Robinson Park.



Summer 2022 Scavenger Hunt: Bob Lucas Branch Library

Now, this sounds like fun! Your family can go to Bob Lucas Branch Library from June 27 to July 1, pick up a scavenger hunt form, and explore Altadena looking for the keys. Once you have the keys, you can solve the riddle and return your completed scavenger hunt form to the library. The first 20 people to finish the scavenger hunt win a $10 gift card.

Tween Eats: S'mores

The food meets STEM experiments continue on June 25 from 2:00 PM till 3:00 PM, with a lesson on making solar-powered s'mores with materials you can find at home. Yes, you heard that right. All the s'mores with none of the open flame. Craft supplies are limited.
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the orange cat bookshop
Stealing Home and other great books featured in our events are available from our online book shop. And, if that wasn't good enough, every purchase supports a local, independent book store.

Take & Make: Pride Month Rainbow Weaving

Your kids (ages 5-18) can celebrate pride with a rainbow weaving on a cardboard loom. Signups for craft kits open on June 21 and are available from the Santa Catalina Branch Library. Kits are available until June 30 or while supplies last.



Love, Loud & Proud Celebration

Your family can join the City of Pasadena in celebration and support of the LGBTQ+ community on June 25, from 6:00 PM till 8:00 PM at Pasadena City Hall. There will be live entertainment, arts & crafts, face painting, food trucks, and more. 



Take & Make: Pride and Friendship Bracelet

Everyone in your family can show their Pride or share their friendship with a colorful woven bracelet. Reservations for craft kits open June 1, and kits can be picked up from the Hill Avenue Branch Library starting June 6. Kits are available through June or while supplies last.

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One Colorado Summer Concerts

Starting June 4 and running through August 20, One Colorado hosts Saturday evening concerts for everyone from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM. No reservation is required. See the concert schedule online.

Star Gazing

You and your family can learn how to visit Mount Wilson on June 20, from 5:00 PM till 6:00 PM, for an evening of star gazing with Tim Thompson from the JPL Science division and Mt. Wilson Trustee and Docent. This zoom presentation will walk you through what you can see when you visit and what summer evening options are open to you. Registration is required, and spots are limited.



Magic with Justin Rivera

Your whole family can be amazed on June 22, from 11:00 AM till 12:00 PM, by the magic and comedy of Justin Rivera performing live at the San Rafael Branch Library. 



Bold Voices, Authentic Choices: Writing Workshops for Teens

Your teen writers (ages 12-18) can join this online writing workshop led by author R/B Mertz on June 22, from 4:00 PM till 6:00 PM. They will explore writing fiction that incorporates diversity into sci-fi worlds. Registration is required, and spots are limited.



Bubble-Ology 101

Your bubble-loving family can join the Santa Catalina Branch librarians as they explore the fun and foamy science of bubbles on June 23, from 2:00 PM till 3:00 PM.



One City, One Story 2022: "Stealing Home"

Your teens (ages 13-19) and up can join Eric Nusbaum at Robinson Park on June 25, from 3:00 PM till 4:00 PM for a discussion of his book Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between (affiliate link). In addition, he will answer questions and sign copies of his book.



The Arty Loon Show!

Your family can join the Hastings Branch librarians for an hour of interactive fun, magic, balloons, puppets, juggling, and more with Arty Loon! The fun happens on June 25, from 3:00 PM till 4:00 PM



Drumming with Chaz Ross

Your whole family can join the La Pintoresca Branch librarians and percussionist Chazz Ross for a fun, high-energy, and interactive exploration of the djembe drum on June 29, from 4:00 PM till 5:00 PM.



Take & Make: Tissue Paper Painting

Your family can bring in the colors of summer with a crayon and tissue paper painting. Craft kit reservations open on June 7 and continue through June 30 or while supplies last. Kits can be picked up at the Santa Cataline Branch Library.



Tween Eats: Ice Cream

Your tween (ages 8-12) can join the Altadena librarians on the front lawn of the Altadena Main Library to learn how to make ice cream from materials found in your home. This tasty STEM lesson happens on June 18, from 2:00 PM till 3:00 PM. Supplies are limited. 

Afternoon Magic

Your magic-loving family can join the Altadena librarians for an afternoon of magic and laughs with Christopher T. Magician on June 23, from 3:30 PM till 4:30 PM at Charles White Park.



Toddler Free Play - Sensory Water Play

Your toddlers and preschoolers (ages 3-5) can join other families in making friends and exploring sensory skills on the front lawn of the Main Library on June 29, from 2:00 PM till 3:00 PM. Water play stations will be set up for your kids. Please dress them appropriately. If things go well, they will get wet.



Reading Buddies

Reading takes practice, which is why the Altadena Main Library provides trained teen volunteers to help your kid (grades K-5) practice reading and grow their confidence. Reading Buddies are available weekly, on Wednesdays, from 3:00 PM till 4:00 PM during summer. Volunteers have pre-selected books for each grade level, or you can bring your own.



Take & Make: Funtime Science Lab! Grow Your Own Food!

Your kids (ages 5-12) can join Dr. Mr. Science Man and Dr. Tibia in learning how to grow your own food at home. Kit registration opens on June 15 and continues until June 30 or while supplies last.

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the orange cat bookshop
THE ANTI-BOOK and other great books featured in our events are available from our online book shop. And, if that wasn't good enough, every purchase supports a local, independent book store.
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These events are regularly scheduled, and many do not require registrations. That said, please check with the event host in case of holidays, weather, COVID, or other reasons to cancel or reschedule.




Afternoon Games

The whole family is invited to the Villa Parke Community Center Branch Library to play games, from board games to giant dominos. The fun happens on Tuesdays, from 2:00 PM till 4:00 PM.



Infant & Toddler Storytimes

Your little ones (ages 0-2) and their caregiver can join the Pasadena librarians weekly at 10:30 AM for 20 minutes of reading, rhyming, and singing fun! 

Lamanda Park Branch - Tuesdays

Allendale Branch - Wednesdays



Preschool Storytime - Pasadena Public Libraries

Your kids (ages 3-5) can join the Pasadena librarians weekly for a selection of stories, songs, crafts, or a short movie. Activities vary by branch.

Villa Parke Community Center Branch - Tuesdays, 10:30 AM till 11:30 AM

Santa Catalina Branch - Wednesday, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM

San Rafael Branch - Wednesdays, 11:00 AM till 11:30 AM

Lamanda Park Branch - Thursdays, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM

Linda Vista Branch - Thursday, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM

Hill Avenue Branch - Saturdays, 10:30 AM till 11:00 AM



Chocolate Storytime

Your family can join Dr. Ayesha Randall and the La Pintoresca Branch librarians for storytelling and community building with stories written by and/or about African-Americans.

Last Friday of the Month through August 26, 4:00 PM till 5:00 PM



Storytimes in the Park - Monrovia Public Library

Your kids (ages 0-5) can join the Monrovia librarians in Library Park near the Rotary Bandshell for two different storytimes:


Enjoy active and engaging stories and songs on Wednesdays from 10:00 AM till 10:45 AM through July 27. The book fun is followed up with a sensory activity or craft project. Everyone is welcome. See the event listing for more details.


Share stories, music, and movement by getting your little ones dancing, singing, and learning on Saturdays from 10:00 AM till 10:30 AM through July 30. See the event listing for more details.



Family Films

Villa Parke Community Center Branch hosts a family movie for you on Thursdays, from 3:30 PM till 5:30 PM. Please contact the branch at 626-744-6510 for the movie title. And this is a BYOS (bring your own snacks) event.



Video Game Club

Your Teen (age 14-19) can stop into the Hastings Branch Library Meeting Room on Thursdays, from 4:00 PM till 6:00 PM, for some gaming fun on the Nintendo Switch. They can make new friends and learn fair play every week. No registration is required. Must play well with others.



Crafting with Tish & Tosh

Join the Pasadena Library online for some all-ages crafting fun. You'll learn new crafts all year round. The crafting fun happens on every-other Monday on Instagram Live from 3:00 PM till 3:30 PM.


Art Lab

Your Teens (grades 8-12) with an artistic streak can visit the Altadena Library's Art Lab every Friday this summer (through July 29) from 3:00 PM till 5:00 PM. They can get inspired, learn new techniques, get help finishing a project, or collaborate with a fellow artist on a fantastic new project. The sky is the limit!



Teen Gardening Club

The Altadena Library is looking for Teens (grades 8-12) of all skill levels to help grow and care for the library's gardens and plants on Saturdays this summer (through July 30), from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM. Teens will learn about vegetable gardens, flower beds, and indoor plants while earning volunteer service hours. Registration is required.

Chess Night

Your whole chess-loving family can join the Altadena librarians on Tuesdays this summer (through July 26), from 5:30 PM till 7:30 PM to learn new skills, practice, and share tactics with other players. All skill levels are welcome!

Teen Anime Club

Your Teens (ages 13-17) can join the Altadena Library's Anime club to chat about their favorite anime shows and movies while enjoying some Japanese snacks on Mondays this summer (through July 25), from 5:00 PM till 6:00 PM. Registration is required.



Outdoor Family Storytime

Families with younger children and their siblings are invited to join the Altadena librarians for stories, songs, and rhymes at Charles White Park on Tuesdays this summer (through July 26), from 10:30 AM to 11:00 AM.



Teen Switch Hour

Your Tweens (ages 8-12) can join the Altadena librarians for some Nintendo Switch fun playing Mario Kart, Mario Party, and Smash Brothers every Thursday from 4:00 PM till 5:00 PM in the Main Library's Community Room. The library has a limited number of systems available. You are welcome to bring your own Switch. .

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