If the temperatures over the last week (and the ones to come this weekend) hadn’t announced the arrival of summer, the 2021 Seattle Arts and Lectures Book Bingo cards showing up in our bookstore mail certainly did!
The tradition of SAL Book Bingo always brings me back, as I suspect it does for many, to the joys of participating in whatever summer reading program our local library cooked up. My elementary school years were spent in Santa Barbara, and many, many summer hours were invested browsing in the kids section of the downtown public library. I remember how cool it felt in the building, walking in from the summer heat, and the daily newspapers on these wooden rods, and riding the escalator up to the floor where the kids section lived. There was always the distinctive aroma of books that have been touched by numerous hands and carpet meant for hard wear. Each summer there was some program or other to encourage kids to read, not that I ever needed any encouragement. But I was happy enough to go on and on to the children’s librarian, Bea, about the plot of whatever book I’d written down to earn my sticker. The prize, which I’m pretty sure was a bookmark, was beside the point. I wanted the bookmark, sure, but I also wanted the feeling of a task completed. All the lines filled in, all the stickers in their little spots.