July is Anti-Boredom Month

July is “Anti-Boredom” Month, and I can’t think of a better way to deal with boredom than spending the month with good books. Some children are over-scheduled with activities, and they still complain of boredom during the summer months. They and their parents need to be reminded that boredom isn’t an issue when there are books to spark one’s imagination. Public libraries do an excellent job of sponsoring summer programs that encourage kids to spend their vacation reading and exploring all the information that the library offers.

  •  Advertise the summer reading program as a “gift to young readers.” Introduce them to a variety of books, especially ones that challenge their imaginations.
  •  Introduce all ages to The Phantom Tollbooth (ages 7-up) by Norton Juster &)illus. by Jules Feiffer. This is a perfect book to kick off “Anti-Boredom” Month. Why is Milo so bored when he has so many toys? Ask readers to relate their own lives to Milo. Then have them make a list of all the things to do if they only use their imagination.
  • Celebrate the imagination in young children by reading aloud And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street (ages 5-9) by Dr. Seuss. Suggest that they create their own story called “And To Think That I Saw It On My Street”. Encourage them to tell their story to the group, and create a series of illustrations about what they imagine. This is also an opportunity to have teens work with younger children to create a story.
  • Sponsor an art contest that asks young readers to draw another world – someplace they visited through books, and a place that is totally foreign to them. Consider using the following books from Random House:

We Planted a Tree (ages 4-8) by diane Muldrow & illus. by Bob Staake
Ice Island (ages 8-12) by Sherry Shahan
Laugh with the Moon (ages 8-12) by Shana Burg
Shabanu (ages 12-up) by Suzanne Fisher Staples
I Am the Messenger (ages 14-up) by Marcus Zusak

  • Have children and teens read a historical novel. Then have a writing contest called “No Boredom in History.” How do the main characters make use of their time? Why wasn’t there time for boredom? What message do these characters send today’s kids? Consider the following books from Random House:

Crow (ages 8-12) by Barbara Wright
Looking for Marco Polo (ages 8-12) by Alan Armstrong & illus. by Tim Jessell
May B (ages 8-12) by Caroline Starr Rose
The Mighty Miss Malone (ages 10-up) by Christopher Paul Curtis
Hattie Big Sky (ages 12-up) by Kirby Larson
Three Rivers Rising: A Novel of the Johnstown Flood (ages 14-up) by Jame Richards

  • Many kids go away to camp during the summer. Have kids who don’t go away to think about the type of camp the following main characters may attend:

Melonhead in Melonhead and the Undercover Operation (ages 7-9) by Katy Kelly & illus. by Gillian Johnson.
Cheesie Mack in Cheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything (ages 8-12) by Steve Cotler & illus. by Adam McCauley
Brendan Buckley in Brendan Buckley’s Sixth-Grade Experiment (ages 8-12) by Sundee Frazier
Harriet in Harriet the Spy (ages 8-12) by Louise Fitzhugh
Kevin Puch in The Fast and the Furriest (ages 8-12) by Andy Behrens

  • Suggest that readers read the following books and discuss how the main characters use their imagination to occupy themselves:

Tar Beach (ages 4-8) by Faith Ringgold
Eleven (ages 8-12) by Patricia Reilly Giff
The Elevator Family (ages 8-12) by Douglas Evans
The Penderwicks on Gardam Street (ages 8-12) by Jeanne Birdsall
Flush (ages 9-12) by Carl Hiaasen
Turtle in Paradise (ages 9-12) by Jennifer L. Holm
Racing the Moon (ages 8-12) by Alan Armstrong & illus. by Tim Jessell
The Sixty-Eight Rooms (ages 8-12) by Marianne Malone & illus. by Greg Call
The Lost Songs (ages 12-up) by Caroline B. Cooney

  • Have readers make summer reading suggestions and plan an activity for the following main characters:

Junie B. Jones
Calvin Coconut
Mason Dixon
Jackson Jones
Marvin Redpost
Gooney Bird Greene
Velma Gratch
Lucy Rose
Moxy Maxwell
Anatasia Kruptik
Sammy Keyes

  • Conduct a Sunday Afternoon program for Parents and have kids share books and activities. Or, consider creating a page on the library’s website and use contributions from kids called “Not Bored in the Library.” This is a good place for kids to recommend good books they read during the summer.
Random House Teachers and Librarians