Our “summer read” suggestion for this year is “City of Ember” by Jean DuPrau. This story about an underground city gives us a glimpse of what life could be like if supplies run out. This is one of a four-book series, and these books have appeal for a wide age range of readers.

“Steampunk” could describe the lifestyle in City of Ember. Steampunk came into being in the 1980s and is a mix between the Victorian era and the Industrial era. Think about books by Jules Verne or Mary Shelley, and you have an idea of the type of style that “steampunk” encases.  

Our teens joined us for a class on “Steampunk Goggles.” We kept items from our “deconstruction” classes and let the teens dig into our springs, screws, and lenses to make their own goggles. Pictures of the teens modeling the goggles are on our web site. The teens enjoyed digging into our “recycled items,” and Cyndi and I enjoyed the finished products, which showed each person’s own personality.

We will be doing a “Steampunk Jewelry” class this week. Gears, watch parts, keys and chains are a big part of the look. Starting with a leather bracelet, they will add items from our stash and embellish to their heart’s content.

At the end of this month, we will celebrate both reading and steampunk with an “Underground Party.” This will be for both or teens who participated in the steampunk classes and the children who read “City of Ember.” We will discuss the book, watch the movie, and eat snacks.

Leanna Heth is a librarian in the children’s department at the Ottawa Library.