Week Four: Cody Teaches Juggling

This is our last video in the Virtual Summer Reading Program 2020!

We’ll post participant photos here.
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Suggested Summer Reading Lists



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New Suggested Family Activities
are now being posted here

Have a Fairy Tale Family Dance Party to wrap up Summer Reading Program 2020! Dress up as your favorite fairy talecharacter, put on your family’s favorite music and dance the night away! Set the mood with soundtracks from the Disney movies, introduce your children to classical composers or listen to contemporary songs. Teach them to waltz, do the twist or let them teach you how to do their best moves – just have fun!

See previous Suggested Family Activities and more at

Using the story of “The Three Little Pigs” as inspiration, have your kids build replicas of the pigs’ houses. Stick to the story as close as possible or get creative and use whatever you have on hand – cotton balls, Q-tips, paper, sticks from outside, stones, or anything else you can find … the sky’s the limit!

Even if you’re stuck inside, you can play Cross the Drawbridge: Make a “bridge” out of painter’s tape or something else easily stepped across. Take turns crossing the line by walking backwards, skipping or hopping on one foot, keeping your eyes closed, raising both arms above your head or while singing the alphabet. Turn it into a game by writing out the tasks on slips of paper and taking turns drawing them out of a container.

Many fairy tales would not be complete without a castle, bridge or moat. Use objects found around your house (empty boxes, cans, plastic containers, etc.) to build your own. If you have any Lego, Duplo, or other kinds of blocks, you can also use those to build your structure. Whichever version you do (or do both!), take a photo of your creation to show us what you’ve built.

Train to be a jester yourself! Learn how to juggle or do a card or magic trick. Hoopla has several titles to help you, include Easy to Do Magic Tricks for Children and Easy to Do Card Tricks for Children. Older children and teens could also learn a new skill such as writing in calligraphy, making handmade soaps or bath products or whittling and woodwork. “How to” titles on any of these subjects are available online through Hoopla or can be requested from your local library branch.

Make a picture of Jack’s Beanstalk: Draw a tree trunk and leaves, then glue fluffy white cotton balls to the top of your paper to represent the tree growing into the clouds. Glue a few dried beans underneath the tree for the magic beans.

Many fairy tales wouldn’t be complete without a ferocious (or sometimes not so ferocious) fire-breathing dragon. Make dragon eggs out of PlayDough or a similar craft dough or decorate plain Easter eggs with paint, stickers or glitter pens. For another dragon inspired craft, make the Dragon’s Breath Blowers included with this week’s Summer Reading Program packets at your local library branch.

Another “Jack and the Beanstalk” suggested craft project is to use beans (lintel, pinto, lima, black, red, etc.) and seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, etc.) to make artwork. Have your child draw a picture, thinking of the colors of beans and seeds you have available. Use a small paint brush to lightly coat small sections of the drawing with glue. A small spoon will make it easier to place the beans and seeds in each section before moving on to another section. Let the painting lie flat until it is dry.

Make your own Beanstalk to go along with Jack’s story: Use a long cardboard tube from a paper towel roll as the tree trunk. Cover it with brown paper and a vine and leaf design. Glue a white paper plate to the top and glue cotton balls onto it to make the clouds. Draw or print out a picture of a castle and glue into the clouds. To make it into a game, use dried beans as weights. Roll a die and add that many beans to the plate. The person who topples the Beanstalk wins!

For a simple gardening craft, help your child grow a bean in a cup. Read a version of “Jack and the Beanstalk” while you’re waiting for it to grow! Draw or print out a picture of a castle in the clouds and tape to the end of a wooden skewer. Insert it into the cup to illustrate the story. Don’t forget to take a photo and send to us at

Read Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess, available online from Hoopla and from our public libraries. Cut out a shirt shape from a brown grocery bag to be like the girl in the story and have your children decorate it with crayons, markers, stickers, glitter, paint, or whatever you happen to have on hand. Don’t forget to take a photo and send to us at

Read a version of “Cinderella” and make a craft version of her shoe: Draw the outline of a shoe on a piece of paper or print out a template from the internet with your’ parent’s help, of course. Decorate the shoes with markers and crayons. For added flair, glue plastic gems all over the shoe. Don’t forget to send a photo to

Magic swirls and moves through all fairy tales. To make a magic wand of your own: For the base, use a wooden skewer, dowel rod, leftover wooden chopstick, plastic straw or even just a long stick. Tie curly ribbon, glue tissue or crepe paper streamers or even glue an artificial flower to one end. Older children can use a low temperature glue gun with adult supervision to cover a wooden skewer, rod or chopstick with hot glue. Once dry, paint the wand brown, silver, gold or copper.

Previous Suggested Family Activites are available on our website at

Make a life-sized castle for your children to play in by using a combination of empty cardboard boxes, tables and chairs covered with blankets and quilts. Make if comfy with pillows and more blankets or throws. Have Story Time of your own inside (reading a fairy tale or tall tale, of course!) and send a photo to

Previous Suggested Family Activites are available on our website at

Fairy tales and tall tales often have a moral that can be learned from them.  Talk to your children about the moral of the stories you read this week, whether it is the benefit of hard work, being kind to all, having good manners, being well behaved, not being vain or not being a bully. 

Since fairy tales first began being told, storytellers, authors and illustrators have each put their own mark on the version they choose to tell. Hoopla alone has 17 different versions of “The Three Little Pigs”, 11 versions of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and 14 versions of “The Princess and the Pea.” Read several different versions of a fairy tale and talk with your child about how each version is the same and how it is different. Write down your family’s thoughts or have your children draw a picture inspired by the versions you read.

Previous Suggested Family Activites are available on our website at

Make the Fairy Godmother’s magical wand to use as a reading pointer so that you don’t lose your place while reading: Use colored craft sticks from a dollar store and attach a star on one end that you cut out of paper or craft foam. Use stickers or colorful plastic gemstones to decorate the rest of the stick. Voila! Instant magical wand! Don’t forget to send pictures to us at

Pick your favorite fairy tale and rewrite it as if you were the main character (little ones can tell their stories to an adult to be written down). What would you do differently if you were in the story? Would it still take place in the same setting such as a castle or would you move your story to your own house or apartment? Would you make up an entirely new setting? Will you keep your ending the same or can you think of ways to make it better? Send pictures to

If you love to do craft projects, check out Kathy Ross’s book Crafts From Your Favorite Fairy Tales, available online through Hoopla or from your local library. You’ll learn how to make puppets of your favorite characters using household items as well as how to use an egg carton to make a bed for the Seven Dwarves and much more! Learn more at

If you don’t have a jar or cup available, use an empty shoe box to make a diorama. Using the same method described above, decorate your shoe box to make a fairy scene or gnome home. Or take inspiration from the tale of “The Little Mermaid” and make an ocean inspired scene with aquarium gravel, colored sand, small seashells, sea creatures and mer-people. Don’t forget to send pictures

While you’re on a walk looking for Enchanted Forests, keep an eye out for things to use for things to make your own fairy or a gnome garden. Gather small stones or rocks, leaves, flowers, acorns and twigs while you’re out. Back at home, find a clear plastic cup or jar to use as your container. Place your found objects inside and draw a fairy or gnome figure and cut it out to “live” in your garden. If you have a small fairy or gnome toy to stick in, even better! Don’t forget to send pictures!

Fairy tales are often set in, near or around Enchanted Forests. Take a walk around your neighborhood with your family and look out for things that would be right at home in an Enchanted Forest – wildlife such as squirrels, raccoons and birds; beautiful flowers and shady trees; water features such as creeks, brooks, streams and ponds. Take photos of the wonderful things you see or draw a picture when you get home to show what your Enchanted Forest would look like! Send pics to us at

Why not have a Family Game Night or Medieval Tournament? If you picked up a SRP packet, you’ll find a list of suggest games to play. You could also build Card Castles using decks of playing cards. See who in your family can build the highest castle before it all comes crashing down. Or you could play classic board games such as checkers or chess. Whatever you do, send us a photo!

Summer in the South is a great time for gardening! There are lots of food references in fairy tales (poisoned apples, magic beans, peas in the mattresses). Read a fairy tale involving food then show off your family’s gardening skills by posting a photograph, short video, drawing, painting, short story or some other representative of your garden space. Don’t have a green thumb? No problem! Post a photograph, drawing or painting of your favorite food instead. Suggested gardening titles from Hoopla include Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens, Pinkalicious and Emeraldlicious by Victoria Kann and Let It Grow by Cynthia Stierle (based on the Frozen movies) but feel free to use titles you find anywhere else. Hoopla has over 80 gardening books aimed at children alone so check out those how-to titles this summer!

Read a version of the story of “The Tortoise and the Hare,” then place racing games to see who in your family is the fastest. If you have a brother or sister at home, one of you can wear paper rabbit ears and one can wear a paper tortoise shell to act out the race. Or you can draw a picture of a tortoise and a hare and cut them out to use as characters for the race. You can even make a racetrack by marking off the floor with colored painter’s tape and putting lines down every foot or so. To play a fun game with your track, each player could even roll a die to see how many spaces they get to move. The first one to the Finish Line, WINS! Send pictures to

A Tall Tale is a long and exaggerated story that is difficult to believe. Famous American examples include stories featuring Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, Davy Crockett and John Henry. Younger children can make up their own Tall Tale and draw a picture of it while older children can write out their version. We further challenge you to write one called “Why I Couldn’t Return My Library Book!” and turn your tall tale into the library by the end of Summer Reading Program 2020. Send pictures to

Rock painting remains a fun and popular craft activity that is fun for the whole family. Have a “My Story Rocks” painting day with your family and paint lots of fairy tale themed rocks with illustrations such as castles, mermaids, dragons or poisoned apples. With an adult’s help, hide them around your community for others to find. Don’t forget to keep your social distance from anyone around you though! Don’t forget to send pictures to

All fairy tale princesses, princes, kings and queens need a crown. Make your own crown by printing out a template online or asking an adult to help you draw your own version. Decorate your crown with crayons, markers, glitter, stickers, plastic jewels, or any other items you have around your house. Don’t forget to send us a photo at 

Fairy tales are often filled with imaginary kingdoms, complete with castles, moats, mountains, forests and all sorts of magical creatures. Draw a map of how your own personal imaginary kingdom would look like or use your favorite fairy tale story for inspiration. For a variation, you could also draw a detailed design of how your own castle would look. Send us a picture and we’ll share it online!

Summer Reading Program Summary

Our libraries are still closed but that doesn’t mean we’ve given up on Summer Reading!  We invite you to join the Northeast Regional Library and our 13 branches this summer as we journey through the worlds of fairy tales and enchanted forests, learn about mystical creatures, such as dragons, unicorns and narwhals, become knights and princesses, visit castles and more as we celebrate our imaginations during the 2020 Summer Reading Program – “Imagine Your Story.”

Even though we can’t have our normal schedule of programming in our libraries, we will be hosting four weeks of virtual programs, beginning with a performance by Magician Bentley Burns from Baldwyn.  Each virtual program will only be available for one week so Bentley’s performance will be available on our website,, from Monday, June 22 until Sunday, June 28.  Then on Monday, June 29, we will upload “Imagine Your Story: Folktales & Mythology” by the Outreach Educators from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson.  Debora Waz, a yearly favorite at our NERL branches, will present a section on black bears of Mississippi.  She’ll be joined by Sabrina Cummings, who will explain why leaves fall from the trees and why Native Americans use animals in their calendar system; Jackie Henne-Kerr, who will read another Native American story and Jean Aycock, who will tell about the red-tail hawk.

Our third week of virtual programs will be available from Monday, July 6 until Sunday, July 12, and will feature a Tooth Fairy program by staff at our Iuka branch.  For our final week of programming beginning July 13, we will have a variety of Storytime activities and book readings by NERL staff, including a juggling demonstration.

During all four weeks, we will also have bonus craft project demonstrations and Storytime book readings by library staff so check back often for new surprises!  On our website and our social media outlets, we will also post daily suggestions for fun family activities that fit into our Summer Reading Program theme.

In addition to our virtual programs, we will be handing out weekly packets of coloring sheets, activity sheets, craft projects and free giveaways at our branches.  These packets will be available for pick-up during our Curbside Delivery hours each week.  Packet pick-ups will kick off the week of June 15.

Our libraries’ Summer Reading Programs are a great way to help children combat the dreaded “Summer Slide,” where they lose some of the valuable skills they have learned the previous year.  This year, with schools being forced to abruptly move their learning online instead of in the classroom, it is more important than ever to keep children’s minds’ sharp during the summer months.

Our Summer Reading Program 2020 may look vastly different than in years’ past, but your local libraries remain committed to providing the best possible services we can during this difficult time.

For more information about SRP 2020, please contact us at, visit our website at or call your local branch.