An educational, informational, recreational, and possibly life-altering combination of programs is coming to the Tamaqua Public Library on Saturday, May 1.

The fifth year of the Pennsylvania One Book, Every Young Child program at the library will be combined with a program by the New Ringgold author of "Chippy Chipmunk Parties in the Garden," Kathy M. Miller.

This year's book selection for Pa. One Book, Every Young Child (a state-wide program whose primary initiative is to promote early literacy development) is Jane and Will Hillenbrand's book, "What a Treasure!" The theme of the book is one of discovery in the natural environment.

Kathy Miller's book theme is also one of discovery and connecting with nature close to home. In a series of extraordinary and visually delightful photographs taken over a span of two years, Ms. Miller chronicles a day in the life of a common woodland/meadow/backyard creature, the chipmunk.

The combination and celebration of these two wonderful stories presented during the day's programs will hopefully inspire all children who participate to more actively engage in activities that take them out-of-doors.

Research and the literature records the multitude of benefits gained from spending time outdoors in "green" areas, especially for children. The positive outcomes gleaned are both general and specific, as stated by Oliver Pergams.

"The replacement of vigorous outdoor activities by sedentary, indoor videophilia has far-reaching consequences for physical and mental health, especially in children. Videophilia [i.e. playing video games, surfing the Internet and watching movies and TV] has been shown to be a cause of obesity, lack of socialization, attention disorders and poor academic performance." [Oliver Pergams and Patricia Zaradic (2008). Evidence for a fundamental and pervasive shift away from nature-based recreation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Online Early Edition for the week of February 4-8, 2008].

Other proponents of the movement, Leave No Child Inside and those concerned with the "nature-deficit disorder" have found very specialized benefits to spending time outdoors including a dramatic reduction in symptoms for children, ages 5-18, who were diagnosed as having ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and a significant decrease in the risk of becoming myopic (near-sighted) with increased time spent in outdoor activity.

And with Earth Day just celebrated on April 22, it is of great concern that less interest in the exploration of nature will most likely translate into future generations being less interested in support for national parks and conservation, as a whole, which cannot be good for our continuing stewardship of the Earth.

The day's programming specifics are as follows:

9:30 a.m. – PA One Book, Every Young Child program for children aged 2-5

10:30 a.m. – Chippy Chipmunk program and book purchasing/signing

11:30 a.m. – PA One Book, Every Young Child program for children aged 2-5

1:30 p.m. – PA One Book, Every Young Child program for children aged 6-12

To register for the events, please call the library at (570) 668-4660.

A free, soft-covered copy of this year's PA One Book selection, "What a Treasure!" will be given to each participant (as supplies last) through a generous sponsorship by Sovereign Bank of Tamaqua.

Hardcover copies of Chippy Chipmunk will be available for purchase and author signing.

Kathy Miller's visit and program are being generously sponsored by M & S True Value of Tamaqua. A percent of the proceeds from the sale of Chippy Chipmunk will be donated to the library.