The Summer Wonder Prize Book Hand-Off

By Kris Vogelar, Branch Outreach and Program Specialist

One of the most satisfying experiences of Summer Wonder for staff is when we get to collect the many 30-Day Challenge completer tickets from kids and congratulate them for reaching their goal — a familiar refrain that never gets old. What better way to reward their efforts than to escort them over to the prize books and invite them to choose one to take home? There is something magical that happens in that moment. Kids cannot believe their good fortune. “You mean I get to pick out my own book and take it home for free, for keeps? Wow!” Some of our young patrons have never enjoyed the privilege of owning their own book, so for them especially, this is the most perfect reward.

Most will very meticulously peruse the array of titles to determine which one they would like to read. It is a process known well to those of us who have ever picked up a book to consider reading. They gaze at the covers, lend a critical eye to the back or inside covers, flip the pages for things like font size, word difficulty, illustrations and, well, just plain feeling a connection that tells them they’ve met their perfect match — a book which will lure them in and take them on yet another journey of the imagination. To our good fortune, we get to bear witness to it all — that
beautiful pairing of book to child and child to book.

We mark them as “complete” in our system, look them in the eye, smile, and with their book in hand, send them on their way.