Hedberg's summer reading challenge kicks off Saturday

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Anna Marie Lux
Thursday, May 29, 2014

JANESVILLE--The Hedberg Public Library wants to keep people reading this summer.

So don't be surprised to find a semitrailer in the parking lot next to the library.

The big rig does not talk like the colorful truck in the latest picture book by Janesville author Jamie Swenson.

But the semitrailer will help kick off the library's summer reading challenge Saturday, thanks to Mansur Trucking.

“The challenge invites everyone in Janesville from kids to adults to read during the summer and to win prizes,” said Sharon Grover, head of the library's youth services. “A substantial amount of research shows that kids can lose up to two months of reading skills if they don't keep up in the summer.”

In February, Disney-Hyperon published Swenson's “Big Rig” about a talking truck named Frankie. Swenson will read from the book, and copies will be for sale.

Swenson is an associate librarian, storyteller and educator who has worked in the children's room of the library for more than a decade. In 2013, Farrar, Straus & Giroux of New York published her first picture book, “Boom! Boom! Boom!”

Families are invited to visit the real semitrailer and pose for photos. They also may donate school supplies to benefit ECHO.

In addition to reading books, the library offers Tuesday programs for families beginning June 10.

“Activities will be happening all summer that may seem like just fun, but they are designed to help kids build literacy skills,” Grover said.

Free activities include singing along with musician Stuart Stotts, listening to the tales of storyteller Kay Elmsley Weeden and learning about birds.

“We're going to have activities that change weekly,” said Shannon Murphy Tollefsrud, youth services associate. “We have printed materials at the library and a calendar that shows what is happening each day.”

Grownups also are encouraged to read. Each time an adult finishes a book, he or she is eligible for a drawing.

“We have all kinds of nifty things that have been donated,” Grover said.





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