Knox Oswald and Mack Smith were excited for the “Adventures in Space” Summer Reading program at the Atchison County Library Fairfax Branch on Thursday, June 20.

During the Rock Port branch’s program, Madison Pankau, Emma Teten and Isabella Kroeger held rocket ship races using balloons and fishing line for propulsion. 

Tarkio Summer Reading explored the universe by creating constellations with pretzels and marshmallows. Students included (above, clockwise from top left), Maddox Pearson, Brody Wennihan, Jax Peregrine, Chase Pearson, Finn Hurst, Macy Stepp, and Beth Clark.

Summer Reading programs have begun at the libraries in Rock Port, Tarkio and Fairfax. This summer’s reading program is “The Universe!”


The 3- and 4 year-old class had eight children, and they were led by Tiffanie Gaines and daughter, Stevie. They observed the mural of our solar system that was painted by the library’s own Bob Simpson! They read Good Night, Sleep Tight by Mem Fox, and they recited several of the nursery rhymes in the story. Tiffanie gave several facts about the moon. She read Lights Out Night’s Out by William Boniface. This is a beautiful picture book about nocturnal animals. The next book, Bear Feels Scared by Karma Wilson, included a hedgehog character. Tiffanie shared some facts about hedgehogs, and then the kids had fun making their own hedgehogs with Playdough and uncooked spaghetti pieces for the quills. Tiffanie ended by reading Goodnight, Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and handing out a coloring sheet and homemade mini moonpies. The children left with the items already mentioned, “A Universe of Stories” book bag and a squeeze astronaut.

The 5- and 6-year-old group was led by Courtney Meyerkorth and assisted by Makenzie Dougherty. Fifteen children began the class by finding an alien frozen in an ice cube! Their job was to try to free the alien. They tried warming the ice cube with their fingers, sprinkling salt on it, and squirting the frozen alien with a vinegar solution. They made crazy alien headbands that they could wear, decorating with fuzzy pipe cleaners, fuzzy balls, googly eyes, stars, etc. Courtney read Another Day In The Milky Way by David Milgrim. The kids ended the period by making colorful “galaxy bottles” by adding oil and glitter to water bottles. The children took home “A Universe of Stories” book bag, a wind-up astronaut robot and the items they made.

First and 2nd graders were hosted by Katey Kroeger and Shelby Garst. They began by reading Do You Really Want To Visit The Moon? by Thomas K. Adamson. Do you? Because the moon has no air! So humans can’t breathe, and no sound can be heard without air. The children conducted rocket ship races using fishing line and taping their rockets to balloons for propulsion. The kids made “moon rocks” by using different mineral ingredients, and they talked about actual moon rock content. The six attendees received “A Universe of Stories” cloth bag and a foam glider. 

Dixie Teten and her daughter, Emma, led the 3rd and 4th grade group. Dixie read Galaxies, Galaxies by Gail Gibbons. The children made galaxy slime that was very colorful! They began working on a solar system mobile craft that they took home to finish. A video entitled “Exploring the Solar System” was viewed. Emma taught a planet song that helps students remember the names of the planets in their order from the sun. 


Brooke Walton had four children in the 3-4 year old group. They blasted off into “A Universe of Stories” by reading How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen. They enjoyed singing songs, and the children made a puzzle featuring the letter “R” for Reading! The group ended by doing an interactive reading of Froggy Goes to Bed by Jonathan London and checking out books. Each participant took home a theme bag and a bottle of bubbles.

The 5- and 6-year-old group began the summer reading theme of “A Universe of Stories” by learning about nocturnal animals as they read While the World is Sleeping by Pamela Duncan Edwards. The children made puppets and constructed rockets with Playdough or Legos. They ended by reading Froggy Goes to Bed by Jonathan London. This group received a book bag and a foam glider to put together. Brooke Walton taught the class this week. 

Judy Henson led the 1st and 2nd grade group as they talked about the theme, “The Universe.” The universe is the collection of all the things that make up space, such as the planets, stars, moon, and sun. The children had space alien activities, including making up rhyming alien names for themselves, decorating name tags and reading Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman. The children received a book bag and a splat ball.

Whitney Martin guided the 3rd and 4th grade group as they began their session by reading Stars by Sue L. Hamilton. Topics discussed included the Sun (Earth’s most important star), white dwarfs (small very dense stars that are typically the size of a planet), nuclear fusion and nebulas (interstellar clouds of dust, hydrogen, helium and other ionized gases). The next topic for discussion was constellations. Focus was on Ursa Major, commonly called The Big Dipper. The children made models of Ursa Major with pretzels and marshmallows, and they made models of Ursa Minor, The Little Dipper. The children were intrigued by the many stars that went into making a constellation. They read the book Space Exploration by Kelly Doudna and focused on the information it contained about stars. The seven children in this group made an edible model of one more constellation, The Great Bear, and The Great Bear was eaten! The children received a cloth book bag and a space mobile to construct.


Shelby Hurst and her group of 3- and 4-year-olds read a lot of books together at Summer Reading! They read: A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin, And if the Moon Could Talk by Kate Banks, Moonstruck: The True Story of the Cow Who Jumped Over the Moon by Gennifer Choldenko, Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes, and I’ll Catch the Moon by Nina Crews. The children worked on foil moon paintings. Six children finished the session by eating moon cookies and playing with squishy astronauts. The children took home book bags, the squishy astronauts and “A Universe of Stories” cups.

Rockets and the moon were the main focus of Sarah Osburn’s group this week. The 5- and 6-year-olds learned the different phases of the moon. They tried to recreate each phase with Oreo cookies, and they enjoyed this snack while listening to Meet Me at the Moon by Gianna Marino. They listened to Mail Harry to the Moon by Robie Harris and Michael Emberley, and they made rockets with Legos to help them get to the moon like the characters in this book. Before leaving, they listened to Robert and the Rocket by Leesa Waldron. They built their own rockets using straws, balloons, and construction paper, and they shot their rockets into the air to see whose could fly the highest! The children in this group received a book bag and a foam glider.

On Thursday, Whitney Schebaum read Stars Beneath Your Bed: The Surprising Story of Dust by April Pulley Sayre and The Birth of the Moon by Coby Hol to her seven children in the 1st and 2nd grade group. They explored the library, looking for dust to catch with pieces of tape. They discussed where dust comes from, how and what it’s made of, and how dust travels. They also made moon sand. Each child got an astronaut word search to work on at home, a cloth book bag and a foam space glider.

Crystal Schieffer will be reading Star Jumper : Journal of a Cardboard Genius by Frank Asch each week to the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade readers. This group played a space edition of Would You Rather? They colored rockets before cutting them out and attaching them to straws to help them fly. The rockets were shot across the room and measured to see whose went the farthest. They also read excerpts from How to be a Space Explorer: Your Out-of-this-World Adventure by Mark Brake. Seven children in this group received a cloth book bag and a splat alien ball.