Teens, it’s not that I hate summer. Some parts of it are very nice, like pools, fireworks, and socially acceptable inertia. But when temperatures top 100 degrees for more than two days in a row, I immediately demote it to my least favorite season.
But this summer is different…even triple digit temps will not get me down. Why, you ask? Because the 2022 Summer Reading Program is kicking off at A.K. Smiley Public Library, and it promises to be awesome.
Our 2022 theme —“Read Beyond the Beaten Path”—has an outdoorsy, summer camp feel (another great thing about summer), which is cool for obvious reasons, but the sentiment is exciting too. What could help you survive these long, hot days better than reading something out of the ordinary, something that backpacks you out of your sweat-filled life and expands your perspectives in unexpected ways?
If you’re looking for more than mind-opening reading, we’ve also got free events up our sleeves for teens, including “The Hunger Gang,” a cooking workshop with local chef extraordinaire Lee Burton (which, fingers crossed, unlike “The Hunger Games,” everyone will come out of alive), and an anime drawing workshop with professional artist Carlos Nieto III. On top of that, there’s an amazing line-up of teen reading challenge prizes on the line, like a day pass for you and a friend to scale the walls at Flowstone Climbing here in Redlands, a pint of gelato from Happy Camper Creamery, and many more.
I must mention one last element of our summer reading program: the competition. This summer, it’s the literary version of “Capture the Flag,” with kids and teens taking on adults to see who can read the most pages. Of course this is a friendly competition, but it would be very fun to amicably dominate the adults. We can’t do this without you, teen reader.
Alright, alright, I’m reconsidering my position on summer, as there is another big thing summer has going for it: the glorious month of June…Pride Month! Teens, if you are looking for books that feature LGBTQIA+ characters and experiences, we’ve got them. In fact, we have a whole blog post dedicated to helping you find them if you’re interested. You can check that out at www.akspl.org/teens, and of course, this article would not be complete without at least one YA book recommendation (and our library community would not be complete without you).
Erik J. Brown’s “All That’s Left in the World” requires nerves of steel from its readers. The setting? The U.S. after a deadly pathogen has swept through the country, annihilating most of the population. For some, this plot will hit a little too close to home, but if you can stomach it, here’s the set-up: teenagers Jamie and Andrew somehow survive the pandemic, but are barely scraping by in its aftermath. Each is alone, facing dangers both from the raw, natural world and other desperate survivors.
Their paths cross and they team up to take on this new and treacherous reality, where threats, including the secrets they are keeping from each other, lurk around every corner. It’s the kind of post-apocalyptic/survival/friendship/love story that makes you wonder how you might redefine yourself if everything you knew to be real and important was suddenly erased.
Teens, we’d love for you to come read beyond the beaten path with us this summer. We’ll be having so many good times, with so many good books and events, that maybe, just maybe, we won’t even notice those triple digit temps…
The “Read Beyond the Beaten Path” Summer Reading Program isn’t just for teens! Toddlers, kids, and yes, okay, even adults are encouraged to join in on the fun. Visit A.K. Smiley Public Library for all the details.