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Books to keep the kids busy 

Avast, me hearties!

Deep in the remote history of this planet where we keep all our stuff, a young librarian named Hunh sat on a small rock behind a big rock piled high with stone tablets. Under the hot summer sun (between endless ice ages filled with school and more school), cave-lings scampered hither and yon, raving like yet another generation of Neanderthals. Occasionally, the wee ones would collapse from exhaustion and whine, "Uggamuggabugga boo" ("There's nothing to do").

Cave-parents looked to the helpful Hunh, who would dislodge a stone tome from the pile and lob it heavily in their general direction. More often than not, the tablet shattered, leading to the invention of marbles. Yet one day, miraculously, the tablet remained whole. A tired cave-let examined the flat rock closely. "Hey, there's words on here!" And so the library summer reading program was born.

Now in its 50,000th year (give or take a millennium), the New York State Summer Reading Program'stheme is Books: A Treasure! Generally speaking, children sign up at local libraries and receive prizes for reading over the summer. Libraries across the area are getting into the spirit with a wide variety of activities and displays.

Highland has a magnificent pirate ship filling the children's area. Gates has "A Pirate's Life for Me!" on Thursday, July 20 (ages 5-10). Pittsford has a hidden pirate alcove. Maplewood is letting children make a treasure chest on Wednesday, July 26. The list truly goes on and on and on, with every library filled with buried treasure.

The website for the State Reading Program is www.summerreadingnys.org. The Monroe County Library System provides links to local events calendars at www.libraweb.org.

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