SYCAMORE – The Sycamore Public Library kicked off its summer reading program with a performance by storyteller-performer Chris Fascione on Wednesday, June 5.
"I put him as the first one (in the series of performances) because he's all about reading," said the library's head of youth services, Mary Anderson. "'Juggling Funny Stories' is the name of his program."
Fascione integrates juggling, pantomime, comedy and audience participation into his performances, which he tailors for libraries to stress the importance of reading. The Oak Park resident has been touring the country for 20 years, performing about 300 shows each year.
"If I can get a couple of kids to go look for the stories that we did today, then they will be that much closer to to reading the next book," Fascione said.
Anderson tries to book performers who are entertaining as well as educational.
"I try to find somebody who will bring people through the door to get them involved in the reading program so we can get them to check out some books," she said.
Sarah Ciolino brought her daughter to the library just for the performance.
"I thought it was great. Very entertaining," Ciolino said. "My daughter was like, 'Do we have that book? Have I read that?'"
Libraries' incentive-based summer reading programs are intended to keep school-aged children engaged in reading during summer break. Anderson expects 350 children to sign up for the program this year.