Summer Reading continued July 10 and 11 at the three libraries in Atchison County.

Tiffanie Gaines and her helper, Stevie Gaines, read to the group of 3- and 4-year-olds at Summer Reading in Rock Port.

Chord Christians, Cora Hirner and Madison Pankau enjoy painting space pictures during Summer Reading in Rock Port after reading The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon.

Rock Port

Tiffanie Gaines began the three- and four-year-old session by reviewing what they have learned about the sun, moon, Earth and solar system. Today’s lesson focused on stars. The children learned that stars are giant balls of hot gas, and the stars form constellations. The children sang “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” and then Tiffanie read the book with the same title by Iza Trapani. She read How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers and Zoo in the Sky by Jacqueline Mitton. The group made their own constellations with pretzels and marshmallows. The children made beautiful night-sky pictures with black background, a foil moon and colorful, puffy star stickers. They all worked on decorating the spaceship playhouse. Tiffanie read the books Oliver & Hope’s Adventure Under the Stars by Meg Cadts and Time for Bed by Mem Fox, and the children munched on star crunch treats. Constellation lacing cards and pencils were their prizes from the library this week. Tiffanie was assisted by her daughter, Stevie.

Courtney Meyerkorth’s group of five- and six-year-olds began the hour by playing “Moon, Moon, Rocket.” They played a bean bag game of trying to hit the various craters of the moon. Courtney read A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin. The children participated in an activity that showed the phases of the moon. This activity utilized a source of light representing the sun and a ball representing the moon. As the child held the ball and turned, the light on the ball simulated the phases of the moon. Another activity with Oreo cookies allowed the children to nibble the cookie to show the phases of the moon. Courtney finished the session by reading Here in Space by David Milgrim. She sent a bag of “moon sand,” made of flour and baby oil, home with each child. The children received a foam glider as a prize from the library. Mackenzie Dougherty and Mackenzie Lager assisted this week.

Katey Kroeger read Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing by Dean Robbins to the first and second grade group. (This is a great juvenile biography of female scientist Margaret Hamilton. She worked for NASA, was instrumental in the U.S. space program and became a hero during the Apollo 11 mission.) The children were given access to an assortment of materials, and they each built their own vessel for their “egg astronaut.” The objective was to keep the egg astronaut from breaking upon re-entry from space! Re-entry was enacted by dropping each child’s egg astronaut in the constructed vessel from a standing position on the table. We had at least three successful re-entries! The children sampled “astronaut food” (dried fruit) as they worked on their project. The children took home alien splat balls and sticky stars as the prizes from the library.

Dixie Teten read Blackout by John Rocco to her group of third and fourth graders. The lights were out and there were glow sticks in the room to create “night light” as Dixie read. The kids enjoyed creating their own constellation by painting glow-in-the-dark stars on a wooden background. The children received space scratch art sets and sticky stars as prizes from the library. Dixie was assisted by her daughter, Emma.

Lance Lambert and Bennett Peregrine enjoy their cupcakes (with candy corn as sunrays) at the Tarkio Library Summer Reading session Wednesday morning, July 10, 2019.  (Carol Riley photos)

Brooke Walton reads to the Tarkio Library Summer Reading students Wednesday, July 10, 2019. (Carol Riley photo)


The three- and four-year-old group began by singing “Hello, Neighbor!” Instructor Jayne Martin read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker. The group discussed the solar system, and the children used models of the planets to put in position in their order from the sun. Jayne led the children in decorating chocolate cupcakes with frosting and candy corn to look like the sun. They ate the sun! The children listened to The Napping House by Audrey Wood and Good Night Owl by Greg Pizzoli. The group discussed facts about the moon. The children ended by singing “Rocket Ship Run” and playing in the spaceship playhouse. Each child received an astronaut squeeze toy as a prize from the library.

The five- and six-year-old astronauts blasted off into reading about stars with the book My Journey to the Stars by Scott Kelly. Leader Brooke Walton also read Fancy Nancy Sees Stars by Jane O’Connor. The group talked about constellations and created their own constellations with a craft. The children took a picture walk through Curious George Discovers the Stars by H.A. Rey. Each child took home a sheet of space stickers.

Judy Henson’s first and second grade group focused on moon facts. Several facts about the moon were found in The Moon by Kelly Doudna. The children learned that the moon is a satellite of Earth, and the moon is our closest companion in space. It is the only identified moon without a scientific name, as early astrologers thought there was only one moon. The group discussed how the moon’s light is reflected sunlight. Judy showed pictures of how we see part of the moon during its different phases. The children had soft sugar cookies covered with chocolate frosting. The students nibbled off the phases starting with the waxing crescent, first quarter and each stage through the full moon. The waning phases were discussed. The children checked out books and took home space slap bracelets as their prize for the week.

The third and fourth grade group read about different kinds of rockets from the books Rockets by Gregory Vogt and Rockets and Spaceships by Karen Wallace. They focused on how rockets are fueled and how they work. The children assembled rocket straws from two different kinds of straws, paper and tape. After assembly, the objective was to land the rockets on an inflatable moon. There were lots of challenges as distance and angles were varied! Whitney Martin led this group, and she provided treats of moon pies and air heads. The children received sticky stars as their library prize.

Whitney Schebaum reads to the students at the Fairfax Library Summer Reading session Thursday morning, July 11, 2019.


Sarah Osburn read Mail Harry to the Moon by Robie Harris and Aliens Love Underpants by Claire Freedman to the three- and four-year-olds. The children had fun painting the rocket ship playhouse. They launched straw rockets that they had made previously. They had fun creating aliens out of clay. Constellation lacing cards were given as a prize to take home.

The five- and six-year-old group read Aliens Love Underpants by C. Freedman and Aliens by Sarah Tieck. Leader Sarah Osburn read excerpts from The Far Planets and The Near Planets, both by Ian Graham. These books were used as references as the children made a realistic coloring/painting of the different planets. For a snack, the children enjoyed the solar system on a plate! This was a fruit plate with different sized fruit to model each planet’s size. What a difference in Mercury and Jupiter! Cups were given as a prize from the library.

Whitney Schebaum read Look to the Stars by Buzz Aldrin, If You Decide to Go to the Moon by Faith McNulty and some excerpts from The Moon by Ian Graham to her first and second grade group. The children discussed how craters are formed and performed a crater experiment. First they made hypotheses as to what would make the deepest crater, and then they dropped objects into a container of sand. There were several items to choose from, including a small rubber football, a golf ball, marbles, a ping-pong ball, a quarter, etc. The children varied the height of the drops by holding the items at waist height, shoulder height, and extending arms over their heads. They discussed gravity and what it would be like to live on the moon. This group took home constellation flashlights for their weekly prize.

Crystal Schieffer led the third-fifth grade group by reading Planets by Aaron Deyoe. The art activity consisted of creating your own planet with paint and paper plates. This group played “Guess What?” by asking yes or no questions about a hidden item. Sticky stars and a space mobile were the library prizes to take home.