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Big Ryan Wraps Up Summer Reading Program

Aug 25, 2015 11:43AM, Published by Marjorie Turner Hollman, Categories: Life+Leisure, Today, Community, Schools


Jean, Jason and Jamie Costello model raffle prizes Jason won, which were donated by Bellingham’s Friendly Neighborhood Comics


Gallery: Summer Reading Program Finals [2 Images] Click any image to expand.



story & photo by Marjorie Turner Hollman, Bulletin Contributing Writer

The Bellingham Library summer reading program finished off the season by filling the program room with lots of belly laughs as parents and children enjoyed stories and silly songs with Big Ryan’s Tall Tales. The storyteller, Big Ryan, true to his name, brings a huge presence into the room, coupled with the sensibility of a little kid. Starting his program with mischievous puppets that did things like snoring, having a hard time falling asleep, and more, Big Ryan had the children rolling in the aisles. From the very beginning, everything he did sent the audience into fits of laughter.

An experienced entertainer, Big Ryan finished off the program with a silly popsicle song, suggesting terrible-tasting flavors like pizza popsicle, or mustard-flavor, then asked kids to suggest a terrible or favorite flavor. He handled the inevitable disappointment of not choosing everyone by having the children line up at the end of the program to provide an opportunity to tell him personally what their favorite (or awful) flavor was. This also allowed him to let each child be heard, a true gift from a wise performer.

The Big Ryan performance was the culmination of the entire summer reading program, and the theme, “Every Hero Has a Story” offered great opportunities for superhero programs, adventures at Friendly Neighborhood comics in Bellingham, and introducing children to local heroes such as police officers, nurses, and even the people who work at the local Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. The library offered in total 115 programs during their summer reading program, and readers in Bellingham registered 105,500 minutes of reading. Children sent over 100 thank-you notes to our troops, who are true superheroes in real life. Summer reading program participants donated 7 large bags of food to the Loaves and Fishes Food Pantry. And 4450 people participated in the various programs that were offered throughout the summer.

Each child who attended a summer reading program had been given a raffle ticket each time they came to a program. At the closing program, numerous raffle prizes were offered and names were drawn. Big Ryan helped Mr. Steve with this task, and when names were drawn there were some pretty excited kids.

Some raffle prizes were donated by Friendly Neighborhood Comics. Tickets were donated by the Big E; the USS Constitution donated tickets to their exhibit as well. As always, the Friends of the Library supported the summer reading program and provided many of the additional raffle prizes that were awarded.

Next year’s summer reading theme will be “Ready, Set, Read,” and Mr. Steve noted, “This will have an Olympics kind of feel to it—we’ll have lots of opportunities for kids and parents to compete. It will be great fun!”

The events of this summer were hard to compete with, but it looks like Mr. Steve and the entire Bellingham Library staff is ready for the challenge. To everyone who participated—congratulations!



Big Ryan's Tall Tales Mr. Steve


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