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Summer is a Time for Reading

What would summer be without reading? This year, Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library will offer summer reading from June 1 – July 31 in the theme of Tails and Tales.

Perfect for fans of furry, four-legged friends, the summer fun for all ages includes reading challenges, live virtual events featuring animal experiences and animal-themed booklists.

Read books to win prizes in this year’s reading challenge. Sign up at and track your reading progress online through the library’s digital platform, Beanstack, or on the Beanstack tracker mobile app. Earn digital badges for reading and for participating in summer activities. Participants of all ages will be eligible to win prizes including books, digital cameras and hover boards.

You and your family can attend a variety of live virtual events from the comfort of your home. Featured events that include animal acts, magic shows, science programs and storytellers, both educate and entertain. They are offered on a regular schedule of every Tuesday at 2 p.m., every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. and every Thursday at 11 a.m. during the summer.

Visit to sign up for events and classes including the upcoming “Summer Reading 2021 Kickoff Event” on Tuesday, June 1 at 6:30 p.m. or watch the recorded session on the @TampaHillsLib YouTube Channel. Learn about virtual animal encounters, earning digital badges, photo challenge and all the ways to get wild this summer with the library.

In addition to enjoying stories, the Library’s summer reading program aims to curb the “summer slide.” Research shows that reading 20 minutes a day throughout the summer can prevent students from losing progress made in the previous school year. Reading over the summer supports children’s educational gains.

How It Works:

  1. Visit
  2. Register early and track your reading starting June 1.
  3. Attend and participate in live, online events.
  4. Spread the word – summer reading is for all ages!

Summer also is the perfect time to get a public library card for yourself or a family member. It is easy to start the process with the library’s online registration form at

Hillsborough County Public School students can use their student ID number as a public library card for instant access to public library books and resources. Learn more at

Animal-Themed Book Lists for All Ages

Here are a few recommended animal-themed reads to borrow and enjoy this summer:

summer readingFor Preschoolers: “Cuddly Critters for Little Geniuses” by Susan and James Patterson. 

Ever heard of a potoo? What about the pink fairy armadillo? In this age-appropriate nonfiction book young readers can learn facts about unusual animals. Ages 3 and up.

More for Preschool:

summer readingFor Kids: “Jane Goodall: A Life With Chimps” by Anita Ganeri 

This junior biography of primatologist Jane Goodall is part of the Trailblazers nonfiction series. Young readers can learn about both chimpanzees and the remarkable woman who made many discoveries about them.

More for Kids:

For Teens: “A Man and His Cat 1” by Umi Sakurai 

This touching story about a homely cat who is overlooked in a pet store is the first in a manga series. When he is finally adopted by an elderly man, they both hope they find what they have been looking for in a tale that is sure to pull the heartstrings of pet owners.

More for Teens:

For Adults: “The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird” by Joshua Hammer 

This true crime tale is one-part adventure, one-part detective thriller, and one-part conservation story. The stranger-than-fiction story follows the National Wildlife Crime Unit (UK) as they fight to stop an illegal global falcon egg trade.

More for Adults:

Share your summer reading adventures with us. Tag us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @TampaHillsLib #813Reads #HCPLC21Summer.

Summer reading is presented in partnership with ZooTampa at Lowry Park, Hillsborough County Pet Resources Department, Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department, Friends of the Library of Tampa-Hillsborough County, Inc. and Tampa-Hillsborough County Children’s Library Foundation.

All photos provided by Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library.

Originally Published in June 2021

Amanda Jones
Amanda Jones
Amanda Jones is a Learning Experiences Consultant with the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library. Amanda is passionate about public librarianship and its role in building community. Amanda is bilingual in English/Spanish and one of her professional goals is to use this skill to help develop and promote the library system’s bilingual programming for youth and adults.

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