Summer Reading Incentive Programs

Free Summer Reading Programs

Kitsap Regional Library

Register at any Kitsap Regional Library location starting June 1st and receive a tracker that will help you keep track of your reading and learning. Complete 10 hours of reading to receive a free paperback book as well as a ticket to the Kitsap County Fair and Stampede (while supplies last). Read 100 hours to earn a free t-shirt.

Barnes and Noble

Participate in Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Triathalon to earn a FREE BOOK from their selection on the Reading Journal list at the store.

Chuck E. Cheese

Your child can keep track of their reading through one of their downloadable rewards calendars.
Once your child has completed two weeks of reading he or she can submit the completed Chuck E Cheese calendar for 10 free tokens

Half Price Books

Kids should read (or be read to) for at least 15 minutes a day during June and July.  Once they read 300 minutes, they can turn in their log and earn $5 in Half Price Books Bookworm bucks.  The closest Half Price Books is near the Tacoma Mall.

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

According to Scholastic’s website, “the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online program designed to motivate and excite your kids around reading books this summer. Kids can log the minutes they spend reading, play games, earn virtual rewards, and enter sweepstakes.”

Have you tried audio-books?

I am always looking for ways to maximize my time by doing several things at once.  If you’re like me you may find that in our technology-rich world it is hard to find time to sit down and read a good book as often as we’d like.  What’s the solution?


I discovered audio-books about 13 years ago when I was commuting from the north side of Los Angeles to my school librarian job way down south in Long Beach USD.  Things have changed over the years, but not as dramatically as you might think.  If you can work your car stereo and your cell phone then you’re halfway there!

Personally, I use a few methods to listen to audio-books.

1. Books on CD from the public library. (best for long car rides)

When searching in the Kitsap Regional Library Catalog (, do a typical search for whatever it is that you are interested in listening to, but limit the search by choosing “audio-book” in the drop down menu next to “limit by:”

One of the fantastic things about the public library (there are so many), is that all you need to do is find what you want in the online catalog, click the “place hold” button, and KRL will pull the materials for you.  They’ll even email to tell you that your things are ready.  Fabulous, right?

2. Digital audio-books from the public library.

Search as in #1, but choose “audio e-book” OR go to the search on the KRL Overdrive website:  You don’t even need to leave your couch to check out e-books with this method!

To listen to audio-books through Overdrive, you will need to download the Overdrive app to your phone or tablet device. Go to the Overdrive website to get started: Overdrive  Overdrive requires an additional login that ties in with your library card.

overdrive 2
The Wilson girls are currently listening to the 4th Land of Stories book.

You can also search the library collection through the app. Overdrive also gives you access to KRL’s collection of E-books (if you want to check out books to read on your phone, Kindle, iPad or other e-reader). After you check out a book through Overdrive, you will be prompted to download the book onto your device.

I like to use Overdrive to listen to audio-books through the Bluetooth connection in my car. When I turn the car off, Overdrive knows to pause the book.

Books borrowed through Overdrive can be borrowed for 21 days. After the 21 day period, they are deleted from your device.

overdrive 1If you have a library card from KRL, you may also obtain a card for the Seattle Public Library and/or King County Library System. All you need to do is take your KRL card to any Seattle or King County library branch with your ID and ask for a library card. I have one of each simply because it gives me access to a much greater selection of audio-books.

You can also search and put audio-books on hold. It’s true.


Audible is an app that allows you to buy audio-book titles and download them to your device. I typically buy 12 credits per year (it is cheaper this way) and cash them in slowly over time to buy books that I’d like to hear that the public library doesn’t own. This is good for newer titles especially. They have several sales per year, including many Buy One, Get One Free sales and they also have inexpensive (less than $2) kids titles. For example, I just bought a dozen or so “Who was” biographies for my older daughter. Audible is an Amazon company, so if you have a Kindle, the titles that you buy show up in your titles list on your device and then you download them from there.

Some of the titles I’ve purchased from

Audible also offers many things in addition to books including: newspapers, magazines, radio shows and podcasts for free. I have listened to State of the Union speeches using Audible.

I started using Audible in 2002 and I still have access to all of the books that I have purchased over the years.  My husband and I share the account, so he can listen to the titles that I have purchased on his mobile devices.


I would be pleased to help any of you navigate through this stuff if you’d like help getting yourself set up with some audio-books. Pop in and let me know or drop me an email at

Happy listening!

The Christmas Truce of 1914

xmas truceLooking for a heartwarming Christmas story? Try this historical fiction picture book about Allied and German soldiers in the trenches of France during World War I taking time out from their fighting to join together in song – “Silent Night.”  A delightful book written from the point of view of a miserable British soldier’s letters home.  A lovely story to share to put our modern lives into perspective.  Text and gorgeous illustrations by John Hendrix.  Find it at the EPO library.

I loved this book so much  that I decided to share it with my intermediate classes before winter break.  I found some great videos to go with it if you want some more visuals to accompany the story.

For a background of World War I, “The Great War,” start with this clip from Bet You Didn’t Know: World War I

For a dramatic reenactment, I found that this Sainsbury’s (a UK grocery store chain) commercial tells a nice story and leaves out the gory bits: Sainsbury’s Official Christmas Advert 2014.  Sainsbury’s also has a “the story behind” video that helps to explain some of the finer points.



Raina Telgemeier: Smile & Sisters



If there is one author that all of the Wilson girls can agree that we like, it’s Raina Telgemeier.  Watch our video review of Sisters and Smile to find out what Kai and I have to say about her fantastic graphic novels.

Kiki couldn’t put sisters down – even on the way to Disney World!

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smileSmile book trailer:

SistersSisters book trailer:

Butterbeer Showdown

Icelandic Harry PotterIMG_0775IMG_4931IMG_0810IMG_5187


This year for Spring Break, the Wilson Family is going to Florida to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  I couldn’t be more excited.  In addition to rereading the books, I have been thinking of other ways to get the kids excited.

IMG_0928This week, we’re having a butterbeer showdown.    For those of you that are not Potter Heads, butterbeer is a popular creamy butterscotch flavored drink that Hogwarts students often partake in at the Three Broomsticks on their weekend visits to Hogsmeade.  Authentic butterbeer can only be purchased at two locations in the muggle world: the Warner Brothers Studio Tour in London (where the Harry Potter films were made) and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando.  We were able to visit WB Studios during the summer of 2013 and I remember that the butterbeer was absolutely heavenly.  What better way to prepare for our Spring Break trip than to attempt to recreate the deliciousness of butterbeer?

I started out by finding two recipes on Pinterest.

AP ButterbeerThe first (“Associated Press Butterbeer”) had a lot of ingredients and involved a bit of cooking.  We combined 1 cup brown sugar with 2 tablespoons water and brought it to a boil.  After reaching 240 degrees, we added 6 tablespoons of butter, 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup whipping cream and 1/2 teaspoon salt. After the sugar mixture cooled, we added 1/2 tsp rum flavoring.  For the topping, we whipped some cream and added 2 tablespoons of the sugar mixture.  The result was a delicious rum flavored whipped cream.  The final step was to mix cream soda with 1/4 of the sugar mixture. O.M.G.  Can you say SWEET?  Yikes.  I could eat the whipped cream all day, but the butterbeer nearly made all of my teeth fall out.

IMG_0933The second recipe was much simpler.  We heated 1/4 cup butterscotch ice cream topping with 1 tablespoon butter in the microwave.  We added this mixture to 1 cup of club soda and stirred vigorously.  Although the recipe did not call for it, I couldn’t resist adding a few dollops of the leftover rum whipped cream.  This recipe seemed to watery.  If I had it to do over, I would have used cream soda.

The verdict:  Recipe #2 (made with cream soda) is the closer of the two recipes.

Stay tuned.  After we drink gallons of butterbeer during Spring Break, we will revisit these recipes and possibly add some others to help YOU create this delicious wizard concoction.

Until then… Have a magical Spring Break!





Horrible Histories

Here’s Kai’s latest review on the super awesome book series Horrible Histories from the UK…

If you know a reluctant reader that loves history (and silly/gross facts), this series is for them!


Make sure you look into the TV series, as well.  If you live in Kitsap County, I recently saw a commercial announcing that Discovery Family (channel 103 on Wavecable) will start showing Horrible Histories on April 10th.  Make sure to set your DVR for that!

Here are a few examples:


Newgate Prison Song