Endings and Beginnings:

As the Summer Reading Program Ends, It's Time to Start Looking at What's Next

Sunrise, sunset…” “Every ending is a new beginning…” The most ear-wormy music lyrics reflect what most parents know: kids are constantly ending one stage and beginning another.

Babies go from the “Just put them on the blanket” phase to the “Oh, they can crawl off the blanket and bite my toe now!” phase. Preschoolers are notorious for moving quickly from letting you do it to “No, me do it!”

You may want to hold them back – just for a moment! – at every stage, but of course it’s a joy and a pleasure to watch your child grow into everything they will become, shedding endings and embracing beginnings as fast as you can recognize them.

And so we are looking at another ending and beginning at the Tulsa City-County Library.

This year’s Summer Reading Program ends on August 3, and the school year begins not many weeks later. This ending is just the next step to the next beginning, of pre-k, or kindergarten, or first grade and beyond.

Give Summer a Proper Send-Off with “World in A Box Day”

One way to give a proper send-off to the summer (and the Summer Reading Program) is to attend the World in A Box Day at the Central Library on the last day of the Summer Reading Program: Saturday, August 3.

In this fun come and go experience (from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.) sponsored by Tulsa Global Alliance, families are invited to stamp passports and visit cultures from around the world. Enjoy live performances and free hands-on activities for all ages.

Books for Beginnings & Endings

And I wouldn’t be a proper librarian without offering a few book suggestions related to endings and beginnings that you can share with your children.

To make it more interesting, my suggestions are all illustrated by the great Christian Robinson:

The Dead Bird by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Christian Robinson

This is a new edition of an older book by the writer of Goodnight Moon and The Runaway Bunny and, as the title suggests, it confronts death in the form of a bird that a group of children discover in a park. You will want to preview this for yourself before sharing with your children, but many reviewers find it to be a refreshingly direct yet sensitive portrayal of questions children have about death.

The illustrations are particularly lovely, as the Booklist review notes: “Robinson’s painted and digital compositions (also emphasizing life-affirming green) home in on diverse, expressive faces and pull back to show enchanting woodland scenes; these perspectives similarly help readers engage with and find relief from the emotional content.”

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson

This Newbery-winning (and Caldecott Honor) book has multiple endings and beginnings – that is, people getting off and getting on a bus, and the stories and lives they represent. A grandmother shares her keen perception of the world as a beautiful place, worthy of attention, with her young grandson as they travel from church to volunteer at a soup kitchen.

Even if you zip around town with your children in a car, this book is a good reminder that beautiful beginnings and endings are all around us, and to stop for a moment and take a look around.


School’s First Day of School by Adam Rex, illustrated by Christian Robinson

Ah, but I saved the best (or at least my favorite) for last! In a charming twist, this book features a world where there is more than one new entity on the first day of school: the actual school building! Just as nervous as the children who enter its doors, School is hoping it will make a friend on the first day.

As School Library Journal insists, it’s “a perfect first day read-aloud” designed to ease your child’s anxiety as the beginning of the school year looms ahead. Booklist is especially delighted by Robinson’s illustrations (as am I): “Robinson’s blocky, naive-style paintings set just the right tone, and the subtle faces on all the buildings hint that School’s not the only building with feelings.”

Christian Robinson happens to be the 2019 Books To Treasure illustrator – he will be at the Hardesty Regional Library for a public presentation on Friday, November 15 at 7 p.m.! Learn more at https://www.tulsalibrary.org/ kids/books-to-treasure.

Categories: Books and Literacy