SYCAMORE – Chloe Buzzard learned so much about hamsters from reading a book that she was able to take care of some of her own.
Chloe, 10, of Sycamore was one of about 450 children whose reading efforts were celebrated at a beach-themed party Friday at the Sycamore Public Library. The party featured a live band, balloon animals, hula hoops and more to end the library's summer reading program. Chloe said she spent about 14 hours reading this summer, and her favorite book was "The World According to Humphrey," which tells the tale of a hamster that has just become a classroom pet. It was shortly after Chloe read the book that her mother's friend surprised her with two hamsters of her own.
"It took me a while to read it," Chloe said. "But I like animals. I learned that hamsters like to play in mazes, and you shouldn't bother them in the morning, you should wait until the afternoon."
Her mother, Natalie Buzzard, said the librarians were very helpful throughout the summer, and Chloe's two brothers participated in the program, as well.
"It's a good way to be part of the community," Natalie Buzzard said of the summer reading program. "It keeps their brains active."
Evelyn Lorence, head of youth and teen services at the library, said the program was split into sections for children and teens, but both had a science theme, with many science-themed programs throughout the summer, such as science shows and math and engineering-geared activities. She said participants logged how many hours they read during the summer, whether it was five, 10 or more. She said the main goal was to just get kids and teens reading even when they weren't in school.
"It's a good way to keep [the children] engaged throughout the summer," Lorence said. "It's fun for us and the families."
Makenzie Kozar, 12, spent some of her summer reading "The Fault in Our Stars," a popular young adult novel by John Green that was recently made into a film.
"It was interesting," she said. "I really liked it."
For more information about upcoming Sycamore Public Library events, visit sycamorelibrary.org or call 815-895-2500.