One example of a Creature Feature activity was on display July 25 at the Pittsburg Library as part of the 2006 Teens Read Summer Program.
Teenagers Erika So, left, and Adrienne Mims admire their Monster Fun creation.
During this project, kids grades six through 12 entered the Monster Construction Zone in a contest to determine which team could build the best monster from a shopping bag full of recycled junk. Building material consisted of plastic water bottles and other discarded scrap. Kids could only use duct tape to hold parts together.
Construction Zone supervisor Pat Jeddy, a library assistant and Team Reading Coordinator, said it was all part of the Summer Reading Program of the Contra Costa Library sponsored by Friends of the Pittsburg Library.
"It's truly amazing what kids can do with a pile of junk," Jeddy said, adding that the activity also gives them "a much-needed break from sitting in front of the TV set and playing video games." Still other advantages of the program, according to Jeddy, are that it saves the kids from boredom and gives them a good opportunity to use their imagination.
"It felt good being able to really create something from scratch," said ninth grader Adrienne Mims.
Another teenager, Alex Lash, who helped put together a monster he named The Vector, said, "I had a feeling of power putting together a real low-cost beast, especially one that can't harm anyone."
In addition to naming their monsters, kids were required to tell how their monster came into existence, what special powers it possessed, and to describe the coolest thing the monster ever did.
One team consisted of young girls who were actually babysitting while building, and which did not complete its monster before the 45-minute time limit. They said, however, the coolest thing their monster, named Sally, ever did was to save them from boredom.
Other activities featured over the summer were contests to design a custom picture frame from a CD jewel case. And one of the more difficult projects was to build and decorate a working clock.
During each creative session, kids received free food, a new paperback book, a temporary tatoo and entry into a countywide drawing for more prizes. The program, which started June 12, will end Aug. 2l.