Wacky opening act helps libraries tout summer reading in Clallam County
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Keeth Apgar, left, and Nala Walla of the Harmonica Pocket, will kick off the series of "Make a splash!" summer reading program events at Clallam County's public libraries next week. -- Photo by Tim Rounds

By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News

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Performing pigs, pirate talk and hula-hooping are on the way because at last so is summer -- as of next Monday, officially.

And that means zaniness at and around the local libraries, no matter how loud.

"Make a Splash -- Read!" is the theme of some two dozen free events, ranging from live music to tricky porkers, now into August at libraries in Forks, Sequim, Port Angeles and Clallam Bay.

And while the events that start next week are for younger children, teenagers also will find that they can jump in by writing reviews of what they're reading and posting those on the North Olympic Library System's "Make Waves" blog, http://nolsreads.blogspot.com.

The reviews can be written or videotaped by youth in seventh through 12th grade.

And "everything is free" in the summer reading program, promised Susan Price, youth services assistant at the Port Angeles Library, the main branch for the North Olympic Library System, which also has libraries in Sequim, Forks and Clallam Bay.

Harmonica Pocket

Kicking off the series of events for kids and their folks is the Harmonica Pocket, a duo from Port Townsend who mix ukulele, acoustic guitar and something called a "jaw harp" with another thing called hula-hoop art.

Keeth Apgar and Nala Walla are the two halves who make the Harmonica Pocket a whole.

They play music, and "Nala is an amazing hula-hoop artist as well," Apgar said.

The Pocket's 45-minute show is "super interactive," he added.

"Come sing with us. Make some noise in the library . . . use your opportunity."

The Harmonica Pocket will perform twice next Wednesday, June 23: at 10:30 a.m. at the Sequim Library and at 2 p.m. at the Port Angeles Library.

"We're going to do an imagination game," Apgar added, "with the 'ball of nothing.'

"It's not a song; not a dance. We show people how it works, and then throw the ball of nothing around."

The Pocket party is all about imagination and play -- and the same can be said about the summer of reading, book-inspired activities and prizes to be presented at the four Clallam County public libraries.

"There's an educational component," said Price, but that doesn't stop kids from having fun with reading and related activities including the events.

The program aims to stop "summer slide," a phenomenon in which youngsters lose up to a month of learning from the previous school year, said Paula Barnes, director of the library system.

Read a half-dozen books -- or have them read aloud by a parent or other caring adult -- and that slide tilts upward, lifting the reader toward the new school year.

Read for prizes

Kids who read or are read to for three hours qualify for prizes each week, Price said, such as toy cars, yo-yos and other goodies.

Those who complete 15 hours of reading by early August will be entered into a drawing for the grand prize, a gift certificate from Port Book & News, 104 E. First St. in Port Angeles.

The finale of the summer reading program is the "Take over the pool" party at 4 p.m. Aug. 7 at the William Shore Memorial Pool, 225 E. Fifth St., Port Angeles.

Meantime, a self-styled pirate and pigs will take over the stage in both Port Angeles and Sequim.

On June 30, Cap'n Arr, aka Won Israel of Seattle, will teach kids how to walk, talk and laugh like a pirate, starting at 10:30 a.m. at the Sequim branch and at 2 p.m. at the Port Angeles Library.

A lucky day for fans of Valentine's pigs will be July 7, when the porcine performing troupe will entertain at 10:30 a.m. at the Sequim Library and at 2 p.m. at the Port Angeles Library.

The pigs have appeared on television with Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey, according to their website, www.ValentinesPerformingPigs.com.

On the West End, the public libraries are hosting free summer reading program events, such as a show by magician Jeff Evans on July 21.

He portrays "Aquifer Man" this summer, in a water-themed party at 4 p.m. in the Forks Library and at 7 p.m. at the Clallam Bay branch.

Crafts, poetry, the water cycle and rainfall that made Forks famous are also featured in homegrown activities at the Forks and Clallam Bay libraries.

Port Angeles, Sequim

Evans will also work his magic at 10:30 a.m. in Sequim and at 1 p.m. July 21 in Port Angeles.

For the complete schedule of free events and details on how to enjoy the summer reading-related activities, visit the library system website at www.NOLS.org and click on the "Kids/Teens" bar near the top of the home page.

The free performances by the pigs, Harmonica Pocket, magician Evans and others are funded by each library's support group. The Friends of the Sequim Library furnished $4,900 this year while the Friends of the Port Angeles Library contributed $6,000 to youth programming, said Margaret Jakubcin, assistant director of the library system.

The Clallam Bay and Forks branches also have friends, Jakubcin said; the West End Youth and Community Club, West End Seniors and the Clallam Bay-Sekiu Chamber of Commerce also supplied funding.

Information about the friends groups and about the "Make a splash" summer reading activities can be found at the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.; the Sequim branch, 630 N. Sequim Ave.; the Forks Library, 171 Forks Ave. S.; and the Clallam Bay Library on state Highway 112.

The Port Angeles Library can be reached at 360-417-8500, Sequim is at 360-683-1161, Forks' number is 360-374-6402 and the Clallam Bay library is at 360-963-2414.

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Sequim-Dungeness Valley Reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-681-2391 or at diane.urbani@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 15. 2010 11:02PM
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