On Tuesday, June 20, the Mint Hill Library welcomed a very special guest: Charlotte Hornets mascot Hugo and the Hornets Book Bus!
Fly Ty, DJ Buzz and, of course, Hugo the Hornet, travel all over Charlotte and the surrounding areas to libraries, schools, after school programs and summer camps. “Last year we visited over 200 schools, spoke to 65,000 students and traveled 7000 miles encouraging kids to read!” bragged Fly Ty.
The crew performed before a packed house in the library’s Community Room. Their presentation focused on teaching the children about Hugo’s P.L.A.Y. Book. The acronymous P.L.A.Y. Book takes a 21st century approach to getting kids interested in reading.
The “P” in P.L.A.Y. Book stands for “Practice makes perfect.” Fly Ty encouraged all the kids in the audience to pick a book and practice reading every day, just like the Charlotte Hornets practice basketball every day.
The “L” is for “Let’s take a ‘shelfie!’” The portmanteau of “shelf” and “selfie” motivates children to take a “selfie” with their favorite books and post it on social media with #shelfie. Fly Ty showed the children “shelfies” of Hornets players and other local celebrities and gave the group a chance to take their own #shelfie with Hugo and his portable bookshelf.
“A” for “App” also takes a modern look at reading. Fly Ty showed the children a video clip that introduced them to the Overdrive App, which allows library card holders to check out digital copies of library books to read on their phones, tablets or other digital devices.
“Y” stands for “you.” Hugo encouraged each and every child to pick a book they like and find a special place in their house where they can spend quiet time reading every day.
At the end of the presentation, students raised their hands and took Hugo’s reading pledge: “I promise to read every day for one hour because reading can help me at school, at home, and in my future. This is my reading pledge.”
After the presentation, Hugo led all the children to the library parking lot where they boarded Hugo’s Book Bus and each chose a book to take home with them. They also had a chance to take pictures with Hugo and give him hugs and high fives.
Adults who attended with their children enjoyed the positive message of the presentation. “I love when the messages I try to instill as a mom are reinforced by the fun role models like Hugo,” said Tori Potts, mom of four who attended with her daughters Tessa and Thea. “My kids had a great time!” Eight-year-old Tessa’s favorite part was going on the book bus and choosing from all the books. “I got the perfect one for me,” she said. Noah’s favorite part was the Book Bus, too. “I’ve never seen a library on a bus before,” he said. Six-year-old Thea said her favorite part was getting to yell in the library!
“My favorite part about it is just seeing the excitement on the kids faces,” said Fly Ty, who has been with the Book Bus for four years. “Where they not only get a free book, but it inspires them to spend time in a book every day. A lot of times there’s so much technology and so many options that’s going on in the world today. Sometimes our youth, our future generation, gets away from reading, so we try to encourage them to pick up a book every day.”