On June 25 I donned shorts and flip-flops and traveled to Bethlehem, NH to visit Copper Cannon Camp (CCC) located on 128 acres adjacent to the White Mountain National Forest. CCC has thick woods, views of distant mountains, and the Gale River running through the property. It provides a tuition-free, week-long camp experience to under-served youth of New Hampshire.
I give lots of CLiF’s Summer Readers presentations, and so do several awesome professional presenters like authors David Martin (pictured above at CCC in 2012) and Marty Kelley, poet Marv Klassen-Landis, and storyteller Simon Brooks. We visit groups of low-income and at-risk children at summer camps, food programs, Boys & Girls Clubs, and many other venues. Presenters share their love of words, reading, and writing, talk about many books, tell some stories, and then each child selects two new books to keep from a wide-ranging selection of hundreds of inspiring titles.
It was my seventh visit to CCC, and I always enjoy seeing my friends there. There were 60 boys and girls from 9 to 13 years old who hailed from many towns across New Hampshire. Some children came from Lisbon where they had just enjoyed dozens of literacy events through the 2013-2014 CLiF Year of the Book at Lisbon Regional School, while students from Bethlehem had participated in activities through their Rural Libraries sponsorship.
I gave a typical Summer Readers presentation, and then I had the pleasure of showing campers $2,000 in new hardcover children’s books CLiF gave to build a library in the lovely reading area of the camp’s new dining hall.
“This is always one of our favorite events of the summer!” said CCC Executive Director Peter Christnacht. Mine too. After the presentations and storytelling the children came up and selected their new books. I asked some young readers about their choices:
“I like animals and I want to learn about how to track them, and what they eat, their bones and structure and all that. This book looks really cool.”
“I’ve seen all the Goosebumps movies and I want to finally read one of the books. And I chose this book because I’ve read lots of the I Survive books and I love them.”
“I’ve read this type of book before and I really like it because it makes it feel like vampires are for real even though they’re not.”
“They say ‘don’t judge a book by its cover,’ but this cover looks awesome. I like adventures and fantasy books. I got some other books I really liked when you came to my school this year.”