Readers hit the books for annual summer challenge

Deputy chief officer in the Ministry of Education Tasha Ebanks Garcia awards Kyan Okoli for writing the best book summary in his age group, Director of the Cayman Islands Public Library Service Ramona Melody looks on.

In this year’s Summer Reading Challenge, young book-lovers read 701 books and logged 583 hours of reading time, according to Cayman Islands Public Library officials.

The selected genres for the competition were fantasy and science fiction.

At the end of the six-week challenge, four readers’ names from the group of 24 were randomly drawn to each win a prize. Daniel Suicio, 7, Sarai James, 6, Thomas Sevik Jr., 12, and Harper Barrowman, 10, each received a Kindle HD at an awards presentation at the George Town Public Library last weekend.

“There are so many wonderful books within these genres, from H.G. Wells and Jules Verne to J.K. Rowling and C.S. Lewis, books written in times when technology and other worlds had not even been conceived,” said Paul Robinson, deputy director of the Cayman Islands Public Library Service.

“We were very impressed with the enthusiasm of all our readers and their love for books, evidenced by the number of hours they spent reading over the summer. I hope that the students that participated were truly inspired to become our future scientists, conceptual thinkers or perhaps authors themselves.”

Mr. Robinson said this year’s challenge took a slightly different format as students not only had to meet the minimum required reading hours, but also explain in a 50-word summary which book they enjoyed most and why. Kindle HDs were also presented to Frank Williams, 14, and Kyan Okoli, 8, who were judged to have written the best two summaries in each of the age groups. Each child who participated also received a certificate of completion and an educational prize.

Harper Barrowman read 83 books over the summer, and says her favorites were all of the books in the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mystery series.

Harper Barrowman, who read 83 books over the summer, enjoyed the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries most.
Harper Barrowman, who read 83 books over the summer, enjoyed the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries most.

“I got so into them that it was hard to put the books down,” said Harper, who also participated in last year’s Summer Reading Challenge.

“I wrote my summary about one of the Hardy Boys books. I couldn’t decide which one, so I just picked a random one because they were all my favorite,” she said. “I read a lot of books every summer anyway so it was easy to do the Challenge.”

Tasha Ebanks Garcia, deputy chief officer in the Ministry of Education, presented the certificates and gifts to the students, as their parents looked on.

“Our lives would be fundamentally different if we could not read,” said Ms. Ebanks Garcia. “I encourage you as parents to make sure that your kids read, not just for reading’s sake, but also to understand what they have read, and be able to think critically and analyze as that is the difference between a literate society and an understanding one.”

Taking part in the 2016 Summer Reading Challenge were: Arianna Leann Ebanks, Frank Williams, Amber Ebanks, Matthew Gayle, Thian Bodden, Hunter Babb, April Ebanks, Carson McField, Seane R. Curry, Osin Curry, Darius Whittaker, Thea James, Sarai James, Harper Barrowman, Deiondre Donovan Williams, Ethan Knowles, Kyan Okoli, Thomas James Sevik Jr., Sean-Douglas Valentine, Tad McFarlane, Belen Scott, Daphne Scott, David Scott and Daniel Suicio.