Children find escape in the world of books

By Lynn R. Parks

McKenna Longo loved reading "The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg," a novel, set in the Civil War, by Rodman Philbrick. There is one part, where Homer is very thirsty, that is particularly effective, McKenna, 9, of Bridgeville, said. "He can't speak because he doesn't have any water and when I was reading that, my throat started getting dry," she said.

"I liked how Homer dressed up as a pig," added Joseph Heiston, 10, of Seaford.

But Kerrigan Dashiell, 10 and of Seaford, had some criticism for the book. "I thought that it was kind of flat in the beginning," she said.

McKenna, Joseph and Kerrigan are all members of the Kids Reading Club at the Seaford District Library. The club, headed up by children's librarian Christina Poe, meets monthly and is for children in the second through fifth grades.

"The purpose of the club is to get kids to read some good literature and to encourage them to try other books," Poe said. Ten children are registered for the club, which started in September. About five regularly attend.

"This is a very positive thing," Christina Fishburn of Seaford said. Her daughter, 9-year-old daughter, Marley, is a club member.

"Marley loves it," she added. "She has loved all of the books they have read."

During February's club meeting, Poe, with the assistance of volunteer Barbara Hinz, led the children in a discussion of characters and what they mean to a novel. "I really liked Homer," Poe said. "I liked the way he talked and the fact that he tries to tell the truth but likes to tell stories.

"Characters are important," she added. "Without them, you wouldn't have a story."

Poe also led a discussion about symbols. At the end of the discussion, the children used crayons, markers, decorated paper and stickers to create their own flags, symbols of themselves.

Marley's flag featured hearts. McKenna's had hearts and peace signs on it.

Kerrigan's had pictures of members of her family. And Joseph had used stickers with stars on them to form the number 493. That was because, he told Poe, there are 493 characters in the Pokemon series of video games.

"I love Pokemon," he said. Pointing to the flag, he added, "This is my personality, right here."

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