Keep Kids Reaching For the Stars All Summer

My kids love to visit the library all year, but they are especially excited to go in the summer when it’s time for the annual summer reading program. This year’s theme for Grand Rapids Public Libraries is A Universe of Stories!

They have a lot of fun events scheduled for your kids this year, plus some cool mascots to cheer you along.

Read on to discover all the ways GRPL is helping you blast off to a great time.

Five Reasons GRPL’s Summer Reading Challenge is the Best

1 – The Reading Challenge is for Ages 0 – 99

Ages 0-4: The littlest kids can participate in the program by completing fun game boards with their parents. Complete activities like playing with blocks, singing songs and reading books; mark them off on your child’s game board as you finish and turn in completed boards for prizes.

Ages 5 – 11: Choose your summer reading team! Teams are represented by an alien mascots: Fiery Force, Splash Squad, Team Terra and Wind Warriors. 

After selecting their team, kids then set their own reading goals for the summer. Each time their goal is met, kids can bring in their reading log and get prizes. Plus get starter and finisher prizes, too!

Teenagers ages 11 – 18: Read books and write reviews to earn raffle entries for prizes like an Oculus Go VR set, Kindle Fires and gift cards. Sign up here or in person at your local branch.

Ages 18 & Up: Adults can have fun this summer, too, by participating in GR Reads: Summer Reading All Grown Up. Librarians have selected ten books for adults to enjoy this summer. Each book this year features space – outer space, a space to go and more. Get the list of books and coordinating events at GR Reads 2019.

2 – Free Weekly Events Make Kids Anticipate Library Visits Even More

Plan your visits for more books in conjunction with some of the fun events at GRPL this summer. Get the full list of events and times here.

Some events include:


Eating in space presents unique challenges for astronauts. At this fun and educational exploration, find out how astronauts eat among the stars.


Experience exotic and familiar creatures up close and learn about their natural habitats, diet and more.


Celebrate the comic books you love, and geek out about films, TV shows, and science fiction/fantasy books. Meet Jeffrey Brown (author of the Jedi Academy series) and enjoy hands-on-activities, cosplay costume contest, and a zine making workshop.         

Reginald Pettibone’s NATIVE AMERICAN DANCE and Cultural Program

Reg Pettibone is a champion powwow dancer and Native American. He will introduce audience members to his nation’s cultural past and provide a better understanding of true Native American culture through dance, song, stories and more.


On July 27, show your GRPL card and get free admission to the Public Museum and kids get a free ride on the carousel. Stop by the library stations for snacks and space crafts.

3 – Kids can set Their Own Goals

Some kids love to read, some kids don’t. GRPL understands this and wants all children to feel successful and enjoy their summer reading.

When children register, they set their goal as either a set number of minutes or a set number of books. Kids who love to read might choose to read 90 minutes a day while those who don’t might choose to read ten books throughout the entire summer.

The choice and goals are completely up to you and your child.

4 – Read and Play All Summer at Storytime

Grand Rapids Public Library is running three different types of storytime sessions this June and July.

  • Babytime: Caregivers and children 18 months and younger learn through music, movement and language. Babies will hear a story and learn songs and rhymes. Babytime runs at the Main Library and Yankee Clipper Branch.
  • Pajama Time: Bring a favorite stuffed animal or blanket and listen to stories, sing lullabies and get out the wiggles before bedtime. Pajama Time runs on Mondays at 6:30 PM at the Main Library.
  • Summer Storytimes for Families: Kids ages 18 months through five years will learn through stories, songs, fingerplays and an art activity. This session meets at multiple times and locations.  
  • Let’s Play: 4 week program in August for children 0-5 and their parents or caregivers and focuses on child-driven play. Children will explore different types of play.

For more information on storytime sessions, visit GRPL’s website.

5 – Be a Boss: Build an App with Junior Achievement

While not an official part of the summer reading program, GRPL is offering a very cool weekly camp this summer. Middle and high school students can participate in an 8 week “Be a Boss” Camp with Junior Achievement.

Students will solve a problem in the community by launching their own start-up business app. Snacks will be provided. Co-ed and girl only sessions are available. Hurry and register today (or call 616-988-5400).

There are many more things to do at Grand Rapids Public Library this summer. Visit their website or stop in to your local branch to learn more about their summer offerings. Happy reading!

Various Locations Throughout Grand Rapids

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | EMAIL | 616-988-5400

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