Chippy the Chipmunk helped Kutztown readers dig into reading last week.
Author and photographer Kathy Miller brought along her friend Chippy Chipmunk to Kutztown Community Library on Aug. 1 to share with children how they too can create their own books taking photos in nature and writing a story about what they see.
A person-sized Chippy greeted the children and offered furry high fours. Then, Chippy, Miller and the children acted out how Chippy and other chipmunks dig into the dirt to burrow into the ground, creating a tunnel. Then they climbed an oak tree, stuffed acorns in their mouths and then headed back to the burrow to store their nuts.
Miller, of New Ringgold, is the author of “Chippy Chipmunk: Parties in the Garden” and “Chippy Chipmunk: Babies in the Garden.” She hopes to inspire the children to use their nature observations to make their own stories.
“There’s such a nature deficit today that we really want kids observing nature in their own backyard as a place to start. Hopefully the gadget is the camera that gets them outside taking pictures,” she said.
Then, she hopes they take those photos and observations to write stories.
Using a slide show of her photographs of nature, Miller showed the children how she created a story based on photos she took in nature, including Chippy Chipmunk in real life.
“I hope all of you can see you can do this,” said Miller.
The children got out their imaginary cameras and took photos of two toy birds Miller helped fly around them. Then, she took them through the process of creating their own stories.
Miller shared with the young photographers and writers how to take better photos, observe nature, learn about science and create their own stories. Her presentation was part of the library’s Digging into Reading Summer Reading Program.
“All of our programs tie into digging underground, things like caves, gardens and animals,” said Lisa Nuss, Kutztown children’s librarian. “Chipmunks are obviously animals that burrow under ground so it was a good fit.”
Other Digging into Reading programs have included digging for gold, ancient Egypt, caves, gardens and other digging themes. The Summer Reading Finale for all ages takes children on a Dinosaur Expedition with paleontologists Mike and Roberta Straka at 10 a.m. on Aug. 16 at the Kutztown Park Bandshell.