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Summertime and the reading is easy

Citizen Staff Writer



Finding a cool spot to get lost in a good book is one of the best ways to survive a Tucson summer.

The “bookmarm,” as she calls herself, at A Children’s House of Books wants to connect Tucson kids with great reading to help beat the heat.

“I want to foster literacy in the community,” said retired teacher Pat James, owner of the children’s used book shop at 2624 N. First Ave.

James, who opened A Children’s House of Books six months ago, has transformed the spot into a charming, colorful hideaway, with children’s art on the walls. A brightly colored paper dragon, created by students at Miles Exploratory Learning Center, hangs from the ceiling.

There is a dress-up chest, vintage toys and about 5,000 books for children up to about age 13 to choose from. Nearly all are used. Some belonged to her children, now grown.

James wants to make it easy for children to get books. Families can trade in books or pay half the list price.

She is hosting Trading Day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 22-23. Families can trade cans of food, to be donated to the Community Food Bank, for books.

“Bring in a can of food and get a book, or bring in a book and get a can of food,” James said.

James, who retired from Tucson Unified School District in 2004, also offers teaching resources.

She wanted to spread her love of reading to kids in the neighborhood. She offers story time at 11 a.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, along with tutoring and special events.

“It’s very important for families to have books in the house and to be reading to children,” she said.


Kids, teens and adults can join the free summer reading club at Pima County Public Library, winning prizes and taking part in hundreds of educational activities.

“Be Creative @ Your Library” runs May 21 through July 18.

The calendar of events is available at all branch libraries.

Children can pick up a free “Be Creative @ Your Library” game board at any branch and use the game board to keep track of how many hours they read. They can also log their minutes online at library.pima.gov.

For every six hours spent reading, children earn prizes. All those who read 24 hours by July 18 will receive a certificate and a ticket for four people to the Tucson Toros baseball game at Hi Corbett Field on July 26. Six hours of extra reading will earn the child a pass to Breakers Water Park and a free paperback book.

The reading program for teens, called “Rock a Book,” is open to ages 12 to 18. They can earn coupons for local businesses and other prizes for every 10 hours spent reading. Prizes include a $10 gift certificate to Bookmans and a backstage pass to the “Rock a Book” band finale, where they can watch bands in the Main Library’s garage. Teens can register online at library.pima.gov or go to their neighborhood library for details.

Adults can list, rate and review books online, earning chances in weekly drawings for $5 Bookmans’ credit slips. Those who read 20 hours will earn a reusable book bag and a pass with discounts to Pima County attractions. Those who read 30 hours by July 18 will be entered into a drawing for a $100 credit voucher at Bookmans.


What: Trading Day at A Children’s House of Books. Bring in a can of food and take home a book, or bring in books to trade

Where: 2624 N. First Ave.

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 22-23

Price: free admission

Info: 822-8211

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