Summer Reading? It’s in the bag.

Summer Reading? It’s in the bag.

We hit up the library last week, an activity that has become much more highly anticipated since Little Man has been reading on his own.

I love the library for a few reasons. One being that there is a book for everything – and everyone. For an eclectic gal, like myself, that is very satisfying. I can feed my curiosity of palm reading, the world’s religions, origami, inappropriate comedy, and heartfelt memoirs all in one visit.

The smell of the library is inviting. There is a hint of old in the paper pages of the books. Some dismiss the old and some embrace it. I was surrounded with celebrated, repurposed treasures and fixtures of old my whole life, so I find them charming and alluring. It’s the sap (and my mother) in me. I like to imagine what the treasures have seen, what they’ve heard, how they’ve served and the stories they hold. I should mention this is within limit. I’m not one to embrace old upholstery. Some things can hold a little too much, ya know? I’m also opposed to most true ‘antiques’ and their price tags. I tip to the junker side of the treasure-hunter scale.

I’m a book holder. I like to hold a book in my hands, granted I’ve never really tried the electronic reader thing, nor am I an early adopter. I like the feel and the sound of turning pages. I like to collect books that have changed me on my shelves as a reminder of their lessons. I like to close the book and take a quick peek at the depth of my bookmark into the stack of pages just before surrendering to heavy eyelids. It’s gratifying. Books carried me through my hardest days. They are therapists, teachers, and salty friends who make you laugh.

Finally, I love the satisfaction of being in a place where my kids beg for things and I can effortlessly respond, “Yes, anything you want – it’s yours!”

Little Man has a goal to read 100 books this summer. We started a notebook journal to count and record the books he reads, and maybe interject a little covert summer writing practice.

When we left the library after our last visit our joint book bag was bulging at the seams with the load they scored. We decided individual bags are in order going forward.

Our needs sparked a new project – a customized book bag with a summer reading record.

I’ll call this project: Summer reading…it’s in the bag.


  • Plain Canvas Totes (available at craft stores or re-use a shopping tote)
  • Acrylic Paints (optional)
  • Paint brush
  • Fabric Markers or Sharpie

The project can be done in phases.

First, customize the bag by painting one side. We brought our supplies outside to paint under the sun. You could also decorate the bag with fabric markers. Put some music on in the background for inspiration and set them loose!

Let the paint dry overnight. You can layer acrylic paint if you dry between sessions. This is a way to add detail for faces or landscapes, etc. I was surprised that Little Man and Little Lady chose similar scenes. Rainbows never tire.

The opposite side of the bag will serve as the record for the books you have read. Use a fabric marker or a Sharpie marker (fyi: permanent) to add the titles, and authors if you wish, that you read to your list. If you use permanent markers for this step, place a magazine in between the layers of the bag to prevent the marker from bleeding through. Encourage them to do as much of this part as they can on their own. Make sure to have them add their name and year if you plan on hoarding it, like me, in a keepsake box into their adulthood.

I think the bags will looks amaze-os filled with their novice script, a time capsule of their smallness. The bag will serve as a tangible reminder of their accomplishment.

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go. –Dr. Seuss


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  1. Anonymous says

    Ijust love seeing the kids do their thing…the creativity is so wonderful…so you …another good one.., nanni

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