Brian Mazurek / Peninsula Clarion                                 Liam McCloud, right, and Josh Bolling, center, throw pies in the faces of Kenai Librarians Bethany McMilin, left, and James Adcox outside the Kenai Library on Wednesday. McCloud and Bolling won the right to throw the pies for participating in the library’s summer reading program, which went virtual this year.

Brian Mazurek / Peninsula Clarion Liam McCloud, right, and Josh Bolling, center, throw pies in the faces of Kenai Librarians Bethany McMilin, left, and James Adcox outside the Kenai Library on Wednesday. McCloud and Bolling won the right to throw the pies for participating in the library’s summer reading program, which went virtual this year.

Oh, the places they’ll go

Librarians take pies to face to celebrate end of summer reading program

This year’s summer reading program at the Kenai Community Library didn’t end with a big raffle for the participants like it normally does, but a couple of lucky kids did win the opportunity to thank their local librarians on Wednesday with a pie to the face.

Josh Bolling, 11, and Liam McCleod, 7, both read over a hundred books this summer while participating in the reading program, which awards prizes to local kids who read at least 10 books or for a total of 10 hours while out of school. For every hour or book read after that, the kids get to enter a ticket with their name on it into a raffle for prizes ranging from books to Lego sets to camping gear. The more books they read, the better chance they had of their name being drawn for a prize.

Normally the prizes are given out during a big gathering at the end of the summer with of all the kids who participated. The library couldn’t organize an in-person gathering this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The entire reading program went virtual for the first time, but librarian James Adcox said on Tuesday that they still wanted to be able to give a few of the kids something to celebrate for their hard work.

“One of the additional prizes was gifted out yesterday. The Kenai Fire Department went to South Forest Park and delivered a bouquet of balloons to a family there and some Kenai Community Library canvas bags with some books in it,” Adcox said. “And then today we’ll have two patrons that are claiming their prize, which is that they get to throw a pie in our face.”

Bolling and McCleod had lost track of exactly how many books they read this summer, but their parents attest that it was well over a hundred each.

Neither were picky when it came to their selection of books, saying that they just love to read. Bolling mentioned the “Percy Jackson” series as one of his favorites. McCleod said he really liked the “Magic Tree House” series.

The Clarion asked Bolling how he felt about getting to throw a pie in the face of his local librarian.

“I just hope I don’t miss,” Bolling said.

McLeod was asked why he enjoyed reading so much at 7 years old.

“Because they have fun pictures, and I just want to get better at it,” McLeod said.

McLeod’s mom, Val McLeod, said that Liam took to reading very quickly this summer, especially on his own.

“Reading more independently was a new thing for him and so we did a mix,” Val said. “He did a lot of independent reading and then at night his dad read ‘Magic Tree House’ to him every night. And they were probably reading two or three of those a week.”

Bolling’s stepdad, Nikiski Fire Chief Bryan Crisp, said he was impressed at how fast his son could go through a book.

“He blows me away. I can’t even believe how much that kid reads,” Crisp said. “He’ll read a 300-page book in a night.”

When it came time to throw the pies at the Kenai librarians, Adcox and Bethany McMilin stepped up to volunteer.

Bolling and McLeod each grabbed a pie — made mostly of whipped cream and sprinkles — and took aim.

Bolling played it safe and brought the pie right up to Adcox’s face without actually throwing it. McLeod took his chances and let it fly at McMilin. Luckily, he was right on target.

Reach reporter Brian Mazurek at bmazurek@peninsulaclarion.com.

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