Summer fun


I’m just a summer kind of gal. I love the sun. I love the heat! I love the beach at Greenwood or Poe Valley State Parks. I love reading!

I used to be directly involved in kids’ reading for fun. And I miss it.

Like one summer when our theme was outer space. Each week for story time, we did space stories; aliens, the planets and being an astronaut. My stories were about the space shuttle and life on the International Space Station. When I asked the kids, “Who wants to be an astronaut?” all of them raised their little hands.

We talked about how you have to do well in school and exercise and be strong in order to be an astronaut; all of them said they could do that. Then we pretended we were the astronaut. I had pictures of what the suit looks like, how being in the space shuttle was like being in a car and you had to wear a heavy-duty seat belt. The whole idea of “no oxygen” was hard to understand but I think the older kids got it. And that is why you have to wear a helmet.

Next, I asked the question, “What do you do if you have to go to the bathroom?”

Everyone just looked at me. So I got out my picture of the astronaut and stripped off his suit, the flame-retardant under suit, all the way down to his diaper!

Yep. Astronauts have to wear a diaper like a baby because once you are strapped in and the rocket boosters launch, there is no way to go to the bathroom! Once the shuttle gets to the space station, there are bathrooms. But no gravity. You can take something like a shower but it’s more like a sponge bath.

My next question was, “What if you have to poop?”

Silence and big round eyes were my answer. Yeah, it is sort of like a vacuum and it sucks it out and seals it in a baggie. I even had a cartoon picture of the tube, as well as the toilet with the straps to keep you on it. You know, there is no gravity.

One boy, about age 9, said disgustedly, “I don’t think I want to be an astronaut anymore, Miss Susan.”

One other summer, years and years ago, we made a giant papier-mache dragon out of cardboard and newspapers. All of the children helped until our clothes were stiff with glue.

Another year, our theme was cowboys and the Wild West. Whenever I said, “Howdy, partner,” you had to reply, “Howdy, Sheriff,” or else you got “arrested.” The children who responded received a free movie rental from the library (as we rent out movies for a small fee).

Summer at the library is so much fun!

You’re not too late to read and get prizes. You still have a week. Miss Kelly has great prizes still. And the children’s department is offering Camp Wonderopolis the week of Aug. 13. Camp Wonderopolis is a program filled with fun, interactive science, math and literacy-building topics boosted with Maker activities. Make your own pan flute or thumb piano.

I’m a summer kinda gal. Hope to see you before this summer is over.


Susan Miriello is the acting library director of the Mifflin County Library. She is currently reading “The Word is Murder,” by Anthony Horowitz.