“During a midnight meteor shower, something mysterious falls from the sky toward Earth, but it’s not a shooting star. Two curious kids venture into the forest to investigate and find themselves mixed up with a family of visitors from another planet! Pursued by a crazy space scientist, they must risk everything to rescue the aliens and get them back to their spaceship, before it’s too late!” — http://www.sciencetellers.com/aliens

This was the story as told by ScienceTellers presenter Shara Donohue to a crowd of children at First Reformed Church in Hamburg on July 18.

The event, entitled "Aliens," was part of the Hamburg Public Library’s Summer Quest children’s program.

“They were loving it. The presenter was just so much fun and she was engaging. She told a story and then added special effects. Then, she went back and showed us all the science behind all of her special effects,” said Hamburg Public Library Youth Services Librarian Becky Hartman, of Hamburg, who brought her own boys, Liam, 5, and Everet, 2, to the program. “She had all these great experiments.”

Donohue also had a number of the kids from the audience up front and volunteering to help with the science experiments.

“ScienceTellers was probably our biggest event (of Summer Quest). We’ve had really nice turnouts for basically everything,” said Hartman.

Hamburg Public Library’s Summer Quest program continued with an author storytime at the library on July 24. Local author Sue Lowenstein of Robesonia and illustrator Maureen Boyer of Ephrata visited the library. Lowenstein read her book “My Half Birthday” and signed copies of the book. Boyer led craft time during which children decorated their own bookmark.

Lowenstein talked about what an author and illustrator do to create a book. Asking the young audience where an author gets ideas for writing a book, she told them her idea came from a conversation she had with her daughter when she was a child.

Lowenstein hopes the book helped the children better understand halves. They had a chance to figure out when their half birthday is using a chart. For Boyer, she hopes the children learn that “your art and creativity you can keep with you forever.”

Another author storytime, on July 31, features local author Theresa Cocci, reading her book “Henry the Hungry Hound.”

“I just think it’s really cool to actually see the people behind the books. We love reading books and it’s fun to see what authors and illustrators come up with but so often we don’t meet them. I think it’s great (to meet an author). It may be a career choice for some of the (children),” said Hartman. “Of course, also just to instill a love of reading, bring some excitement.”

Valarie Clark of Mohrsville brought her two kids, Lillian, 7, and Dylan, 5, to the “My Half Birthday” storytime event. Clark said it was great to have a local author visit the library, “show the kids what can be done.”

“We just like to come for the programs; it’s fun to be here. It’s a learning experience for the kids, keeps their minds active over the summer,” said Clark.

Hartman said Summer Quest is great because it is flexible and it’s exactly what parents want to make of it. Children can participate for one week or they can participate for the entire summer. Even in August, Hartman said it is not too late to sign up for Summer Quest to complete incentives and win weekly prizes, as well as enter a raffle to win bigger prizes that include Hamburg Strand tickets, Red Robbin gift cards, and Candy’s Ice Cream. Summer Quest concludes on Aug. 17.

“A lot of the prizes were donated and we’re really thankful for those,” said Hartman.

Summer Quest also included Musical Storytelling bringing stories to life with music and instruments. Coming up will be “Aesop’s Fables” presented by the Yocum Institute Teen Ensemble at First Reformed Church in Hamburg at 1 p.m. on Aug. 12.

“As an educator and now as a librarian, I think (Summer Quest) is a way for kids to stay engaged, to keep their minds busy and growing and learning,” said Hartman. “It’s also a lot of fun. We’re showing a lot of excitement for reading and hopefully that’s contagious.”


Lisa Mitchell is an editor for Berks-Mont Newspapers, covering news and events in the Northeast Berks County area.

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