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Cool Reads for Hot Days

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Smack in the middle of summer, Clover’s got some “Cool Reads for Hot Days.” While away the afternoon lost in story as you lounge on a blanket in the backyard, or sip lemonade on a porch swing, book in hand. Our July books are sure to charm you —get set to meet outer space beings, a librarian with a big heart and a clever time-traveling cat. Bee a Book Buddy! Page On!

The Community Literacy Foundation, with support from it's sponsors, provides these books to 37 school and public libraries in Washington, Union, Pacific, St. Clair and surrounding communities. Learn more at

Youngest Read

Zany and clever, kiddos will want to share “Strange Planet: The Sneaking, Hiding Vibrating Creature” with adults in their lives. All are sure to enjoy a laugh and love the creative word play of author Nathan W. Pyle.

The action begins when “lifegiver,” a young outer space being’s mom, wakes her child with “criss-cross floppers,” known to us humans as waffles. She then shares a hushed secret with her offspring. “There is a creature prowling around our home! It is covered in thousands of soft fibers and its mouth stones are sharp!”

This creature is a cat, a foreign-being to them — one they are determined to learn more about. The two launch their investigation, peering through binoculars to gather information and making notes to track the felines every move in their “observations document.”

Wacky situations ensue as they “study its behaviors” in their quest, one the cat isn’t even aware of. The fun extends at the end of the book with Pyle offering a glossary of terms he creates for “commonly observed objects” included in the text.

Middle Read

“Dear Librarian,” is a tribute to librarians by Lydia M. Sigwarth, herself a librarian. This heartwarming story is based on Lydia’s experiences of being homeless when she was a child, and the place where she found solace and a book lady who really cared.

Lydia’s family had to move from Colorado to Iowa when she was young because her dad needed a new job. The girl missed her “sunny backyard with lots of space to run and play.”

In Iowa, Lydia and her parents, five older sisters and Lydia’s baby brother, had to move from place to place because there were too many of them to stay with one family member or friend for very long. Each host house had its positive points, and nice things, but none of them felt like home.

Then Lydia’s mom took her children to the library. The visit opened up a new world—there Lydia and her siblings found lots of space to spread out, a cozy spot to read and a librarian with “… kind eyes, a gentle face, and a laugh like bubbles.”

“Dear Librarian” is Lydia’s tribute to Debra Stephenson the librarian, a lifelong inspiration to a little girl. This lovely book illustrated by Romina Galotta shows one person can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Oldest Read

The intriguing time-travel tale, “DaVinci’s Cat” has a dual storyline that connects Bee, a curious girl from modern times with Federico, an aristocratic 11-year-old from Rome in 1511.

Author Catherine Gilbert Murdock weaves her intriguing narrative by creating a fantastical closet the two step into, using it to move back and forward in time and place, allowing the characters to experience one another’s worlds and ensuing adventures.

The time travel begins when Federico discovers the closet, a large box-like structure, near his villa with a kitten inside he names Juno. Federico needs a friend, having been separated from his parents and held hostage in Pope Julius II’s residence.

The action then shifts to Bee’s home in Brooklyn where the girl is despondent because she was supposed to be on vacation in Italy with her grandparents. That opportunity fell through but another door opens when Juno suddenly appears, a cat that belongs to the old lady next door who lives in a spooky-looking house. When Bee goes to return the feline to the home, the action jettisons into high gear.

The author interjects famous artists of 14th century Italy into her story, revealing fascinating information about Michelangelo, Raphael and others, which add to the atmospheric flavor of this page-turner.

It’s the first of many surprises the closet offers to both Federico and Bee. Both experience curious happenings not easily explained as the tension mounts and real-life artists are introduced.

Written by Chris Stuckenschneider. Copyright 2021, Community Literacy Foundation. Reprinted with permission.

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