Reading is cool in an Igloo

The 10 MPCS students crashed into the Mt. Pleasant Public Library igloo for a photo Tuesday during a field trip. Pictured from left: Thesen Gudlberg, Shirley Ward, Kayla Dong, Donna Goeller, Karen Liu, Jacob Goeller, LilyAnn Ward, David Smith. Not pictured: Benson Lauer. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)

Mt. Pleasant Public Library Children’s Librarian Amy Willson sat down with the class to read them a story and share photos of different types of igloos. Clockwise from bottom left: Shirley Ward, Karen Liu, Kayla Dong, Jacob Goeller, Donna Goeller, David Smith, Thorsen Guldberg, Benson Lauer, Amy Willson. (AnnaMarie Ward/The Union)

MT. ENJOYABLE – The school year is fun of all kinds of learning. On Tuesday, Mt. Pleasant Christian School (MPCS) and Mt. Pleasant Public Library (MPPL) teamed up to bring some of that fun learning outside of the classroom and inside a igloo.

MPPL Children’s Librarian Amy Willson is happy to partner with local schools and is no slouch when it comes to managing a class of children.

Before becoming a children’s librarian, Willson taught for 25 years. The last 10 of them she passed as a teacher librarian.

The class of 10 third- and fourth-grade students from MPCS studied Inuit people in class this week and enjoyed the opportunity to learn more at the library on Tuesday.

Willson warmly welcomed the class and took some time to show them the fossil replica of the Deinonychus dinosaur from the library before moving on to the topic at hand.

A trip to MPPL was a perfect complement to the student’s studies as they recently completed an interactive igloo display created from gallon jugs donated by customers.

Last May, staff and an anonymous patron donated their time and talents to put together the structure of the summer reading program: Reading Beyond the Beaten Path.

According to the Children’s Department Facebook page, the igloo is large enough to accommodate a few children and one adult.

Ms. Newell’s class chose to test how many could actually fit inside the dome.

The 10 students were a bit too many to comfortably enjoy their story time inside the igloo, but they fit in well enough for a group photo.

Willson took the time to chat with the children of the Inuit tribes and read them Little bear: Inuit folk tale.

The story is a lyrical retelling of an Inuit folk tale by Dawn Casey in which a lonely old woman adopts a motherless polar bear cub.

The story highlighted the importance of Inuit storytelling passed down through generations and provided insight into Inuit culture.

“Inside, the old woman put new moss in her lamp to make it shine brightly,” Casey writes in the book, allowing children to understand how the lamps were powered in the Igloos.

“Picture books aren’t just for little kids,” Willson said as he read to the class. “I could cry at this part, but it’s OK to cry.”

The bear, raised by the woman, was injured by people who disliked the bear like the rest of the village, and the class learned more about the compassionate culture of these Inuit through folktales.

“The bear was motionless, its white fur stained red,” the book reads. “But the old woman knew he could heal. She put oil on the cut to soothe the pain, and she bandaged the bear’s injured leg.

Willson shared other handouts on the subject with the children, but mostly used the additional resources to give other examples of igloos, as the class was tasked with building their own igloo models for the unit.

Many additional resources were made available for children to explore further when the class had free time to explore the library.

They got to take a closer look at the extra books, the dinosaur exhibit, and the rotating art gallery, which featured the work of two of the classmates.

Willson showed the children the shelves of the library’s summer book sale and allowed the students to each pick up a few sale books to keep, free of charge.

“Those who had library cards were given the option of consulting library books,” Willson said.

As the students lined up to leave, they were each offered an apple from the community fruit and vegetable basket.

For Willson, her favorite part of organizing these field trips and engaging with young readers is “helping them get a taste for reading.”

Few school classes visit the library throughout the school year.

However, according to Willson, she normally sees more classes in the spring as teachers help their students prepare for summer reading programs.

“Classes are welcome to host a field trip anytime during the school year,” Willson said and encourages student interaction with the library as much as possible.

The MPPL is well used in the community.

“We have a lot of homeschooling families who use the library quite frequently,” Willson said. “We also just started story time for toddlers last week.”

While toddler storytime registration is closed until November, parents can search for spring registration in February.

Just around the corner in October, the library will begin its after-school programming for elementary school children.

For more information on the programs available at the library or to request other trips to the library, visit the MPPL website at

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