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Young readers Shipwrecked at St. Albert library

Annual Summer Reading Game sets sail for an island adventure June 27
NEEDS MORE FAIRY — St. Albert Public Library summer reading game programmer Irys Miciak paints a set for the 2024 Summer Reading Game. Miciak said she was a huge fan of the reading game growing up in St. Albert. KEVIN MA/St. Albert Gazette

St. Albert readers can get shipwrecked at the city library later this month in search of fun, adventure, and prizes.

The St. Albert Public Library’s 43rd annual Summer Reading Game launches June 27. The game encourages kids, teens, and adults to read books during the summer for a chance at fun activities and fabulous prizes. Last year’s game saw roughly 2,500 youths read for nearly 1 million minutes, library children’s services co-ordinator Ashley King said.

This year’s youth game is called Shipwrecked and tasks youths with completing a magical quest on an uninhabited island, said summer reading game programmer Irys Miciak, who grew up playing past editions of the summer reading game in St. Albert.

“The children were on a boat tour when a massive storm hit and they washed ashore on a mysterious island,” Miciak said.

Players soon meet talking animals such as Pam the Platypus, Honey Shimmer the Unicorn, and General Harper the Hummingbird (whose name might be a reference to a former Canadian prime minister), Miciak said. The animals tell the players they can help them get home if they reassemble the shattered Tablet of Power to restore magic to the island.

Players will have to brave six exotic adventure zones, complete challenging mini-games, and read books to find the pieces of the tablet and go home, Miciak said. Each zone will have different challenge each week. As players read, they will colour in reading trackers they can complete for a chance to win various prizes.

Teen readers can play the Extinction Expedition game on the library’s second floor, Miciak said. In this game, players are intern paleontologists who end up stranded on a secluded island. By solving escape-room type puzzles and learning about extinct animals, players will discover more about a mysterious and very large creature on the island that might not be entirely extinct.

Adult readers can take part in the usual super summer reading challenge, which sees players complete trivia games and other challenges while reading books for chances to win prizes from local businesses.

Magical sets

Miciak and other library staffers were putting the finishing touches on the youth game’s elaborate sets earlier this week. Miciak was responsible for the Woods of Wonder — a lush location of giant flowers, tiny fairy houses, and puffy bumblebees.

“My favourite things to do in the summer were running through the woods and playing this [reading] game,” Miciak said, and this setting aimed to capture the magic and fun of both.

Miciak said other adventure zones in this year’s game include a desert with hoodoos, a swamp with an alligator, an active volcano, and a kingdom in the clouds. Keep an eye on the bird’s nest atop the hoodoos in the desert zone, she added — the eggs in it will hatch into birds that will grow as the game advances, and might sport tiny graduation caps as the game comes to a close.

King said any youth or teen that signs up for the reading game will get a free book courtesy of the McCoy Foundation.

The Summer Reading Game runs from June 27 to Aug. 18. Visit for details.

Kevin Ma

About the Author: Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.
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