From the first week of June through the second week of August, Emily Flaming, age 8, of rural Goessel read at least one book a day, sometimes two. While she is not quite sure of her exact summer reading total — she guessed it could be more than 75 books — it was more than enough to earn recognition from Gov. Sam Brownback and an invitation to join him on Saturday for a picnic.
“I really like the American Girl Collection of books,” Emily said. “I’ve read all of them at least once and some of them twice already.”
Emily participated in the Kansas Read Program and kept a log of books checked out from the Goessel City Public Library. For every five books she read, she received a prize, and with each prize she earned a chance to be part of a statewide raffle drawing to recognize top readers.
Last week, 20 top readers from communities across the state of Kansas were invited by letter to eat lunch with the governor in Topeka. Goessel public librarian Laura Dailey said it was surprising two children from the Goessel community were picked for the award.
“Both Emily Flaming and Brooke Nafziger received invitation letters from the governor,” Dailey said. “It’s really an honor for those girls and their families.”
While Brooke was unable to attend the award luncheon due to family vacation plans, Emily planned to attend with her parents, Pat and Amy Flaming, and younger brother and sister.
“I will get to meet the governor and there will be mascots there too,” Emily said.
According to Flaming’s invitation, mascots from several top Kansas universities would be on hand to entertain the reading winners.
“My brother wants to see a Jayhawk and my dad wants to see the Wildcat,” she said.
Emily said several people told her they wanted her to give the governor a special message when she met him.
“A lot of them said to tell him we need more money for schools,” she said.
Emily will be a third grader at Goessel Elementary School starting Thursday. She said reading and writing were her favorite subjects. She was not a big fan of reading aloud, however.
“I just like to find a quiet place, like behind the big dirt pile in the back yard, and read to myself,” she said.
Emily’s other favorite reading places were a front room chair by the big picture window, and on top of the lofted bed in her room.
She said that even with school starting next week, she would continue to read a book a day.
“I just like to read,” she said.