by Katie Peterson, Fort Leavenworth Lamp – More than 90 children and parents gathered at the Ike Skelton Combined Arms Research Library to watch Drum Safari perform as the summer reading program came to an end July 27.
This wasn’t the first time that Drum Safari from Kansas City, Mo., performed at CARL.
“We got a significant amount of good feedback from patrons and staff about the group (in the past),” said Dan Barbuto, CARL library technician specializing in children’s literature. “Plus, since Drum Safari features percussion from around the world, we thought it would fit nicely into the themes of travel, exploration and learning.”
During the performance, Drum Safari musicians Josh Conner and Erik Gunderson taught the children ways to incorporate music and rhythm into reading and learning by rapping “Oh, the Thinks You Can Think” by Dr. Seuss, and teaching them rhythms for different animals around the world like a jaguar, a toucan, a crocodile, a wombat and an orangutan.
The children also got a chance to play mini djembes, a tar — a North African frame drum — castanets, cowbells and other instruments to try the rhythms themselves.
“It was fun (and) really cool,” said 10-year-old Lucy Harris about Drum Safari. “I like the musical and the learning and the safari technique of playing the drums.”
During the event, children also received goodie bags and raffle tickets for chances to win prizes during the event.
In all, during the eight-week program, 358 readers logged more than 150,000 minutes of reading. While the number of minutes is down by about 4,000 minutes from last year, there were 40 more registered readers in the program, Barbuto said.
“I think it went well this year,” he said. “I am happy with the number of readers and minutes.”
Nine-year-old Kaela Dwyer said her favorite thing she read this summer was the “Little House on the Prairie” book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
“That’s pretty much all I read,” Dwyer said. “I like things that are very detailed and it’s very detailed. It’s talking about old stuff and how they used to do it and I like that, too.”
Harris said she liked reading “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle.
“It’s probably going to be my new favorite (book),” Harris said.
Dwyer and Harris agreed that they like the journey reading takes them on.
“If I’m sad, I’ll just read because I go into another world,” Dwyer said. “I just pick up the book and start reading and you’re a person or you’re someone who observes in the book.”
“I like it when (reading) can just take you in the story and you can really go into it,” Harris said.
Throughout the summer, not only was the reading program going on, but there were several special events that took place as well, including Lego Club every other Saturday and two evening pajama storytimes.
“Lego Club has been so successful it’s officially a long-term program,” Barbuto said. “Pajama storytime will certainly happen again, but not anytime soon. It was a great program, but I don’t want it to become something mundane so I plan to only have it for special occasions.”
The next Lego Club session is at 2 p.m. Aug. 4. Lego Club will meet every other Saturday, except when the library is closed. There will be a hiatus in December and January. For updates, visit the CARL Facebook page.
Barbuto said there were several people responsible for making the summer reading program a success.
“(We) couldn’t have done this SRP without the help from the (Command and General Staff College) Foundation. They are the reason Drum Safari is here, they are the reason we have gift cards to raffle off in the drawings we’ve done. They are essential to our program being as good as it is,” he said.
“(Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation) is also a huge help, as are library staff whose normal duties don’t entail any requirement to help me, but they volunteered to do so because they are awesome.
“We have some great (volunteers) who also have been instrumental in getting SRP to the point it has, and I am always looking for more volunteers,” he said.
To volunteer, visit myarmyonesource.com, search “Ft. Leavenworth CARL.”
Regular Wednesday morning storytime will resume at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 5. CARL’s Talk Like a Pirate Day is Sept. 21.
Editor’s Note: This story appeared in the Aug. 2 edition of the Fort Leavenworth Lamp.