Tucumcari's Austin Kinkel was just one of the hundreds of kids who dove into books with the library's summer reading program — and the cake and ice cream at the library program's finale on Wednesday at the Elk's club. Sun photo: Ryn Gargulinski
The tots and teens of Tucumcari are having a busy summer, amassing nearly 1,400 hours reading 5,346 books for the Tucumcari Public Library Summer Reading Program, according to Assistant Librarian Dainetta Kroeker.
Library records show 247 children enrolled in the annual gig, with more than 100 of them showing up for the library’s grand finale celebration on Wednesday at the Elk’s Lodge on East Robinson.
“There’s cake and ice cream,” Kroeker said. “Who wouldn’t want to come?” In addition to the delicacies, kids were entertained by musicians Don and Victoria Armstrong and treated to prizes in a drawing. Kroeker said the turnout was about average in the 15 years she’s been with the library.
Attendees ranged in age from a year to early teens, with an equally vast variety of books they favored throughout their summer reading stint.
Brianna Molinas, 9, said she particularly enjoyed reading the “Grey Nosed Kitten” –– but not as much as she enjoyed making crafts in the program or the prizes she received for meeting her reading quota, like the sticky hands or stamps she stamped on her TV.
Her brother George Molinas, 6, who said he read about 30 books over the summer, was especially enamored with a book titled “Shark in the Park,” about a puddle with a shark in it.
Dad B.J. Molinas knew the book well, as he had read it aloud to his son; it was the third time his children participated in the library’s summer reading program.
“I think it’s great,” B.J. Molinas said, “It gives the kids incentive to read to get little prizes.”
Another parent who spoke fondly of the program was Kerri Kinkel, who attended the finale with her 1-year-old daughter Autumn Kinkel and 5-year-old son Austin Kinkel. This was her children’s first time around in the program and she said they would surely participate again.
“Reading enhances the children’s brains, gives them a chance to do something good, to be in another world – a fantasy world,” Kerri Kinkel said.
Although reality seemed to be sitting just fine with Austin Kinkel as he described his favorite book – “Who Hoots” – and dined on chocolate ice cream.