Reading Takes You Places: The 2024 Summer Reading Challenge

Children entering grades 1-6* may register for our Summer Reading Challenge at the Root Beer Float on Thursday, June 13, 1-3pm (held at the Library, 30 Martin St.) or by stopping by the Library anytime we are open. Using the log sheet we provide, keep track of the hours you read over the next 8 weeks.

Visit the Library to collect prizes for every 5 hours completed. All participants who complete 25 hours of reading and submit their log sheet to the Library by August 9th will receive tickets to the Topsfield Fair!

*Children entering grade 6 may choose to do the Grade School Challenge OR the Teen Summer Reading Challenge.

Questions? Email:

Join us for Summer Events. Spaces are limited, sign up early!

Travel the World Storytime & Craft

Tuesday, June 18, 3pm (3rd Floor Auditorium)

Kids! Ages 5 and older, join us for stories from around the world and a craft. 


Animals of the World-Meet & Greet

Wednesday, June 26, 10am-12noon

Meet a variety of exotic animals from around the world with presenter Matt Gabriel of Animal World Experience in his most popular program ever! Children get to truly “experience” mammals, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates like never before.  This program includes a info session followed by time to meet the animals up close. 

This program will be held on the library lawn or in the case of inclement weather, on the 3rd floor of the library. The event is not suitable for children under 3.


Coloring Contest

July 1-5. Drop in anytime we are open.

Drop in anytime during operating hours the week of July 1-5 (Mon & Wed 1-7, Tues & Fri 1-5) and pick up a coloring sheet. Color at the library or at home and return by July 12th to enter your completed masterpiece to be judged and for your chance to win a special prize! No registration necessary.

AGES 5-12

Hula Hoop HOOPLA

Tuesday, July 9 , 1:30pm.

Kids! Ages 7 and up (or 5 & 6 with an adult to assist) get your hoop on! Kat Suwalski of Wildkat Hoops is BACK!  Kat will demonstrate and get you hooping with laughter and fun! Hooping promotes exercise, exploration, expression, movement, and dance. We’ll learn basic hooping moves while increasing hand-eye coordination, strength, balance, and agility in an hour packed with silly fun. 

This program will be held outside on the library lawn. In the event of inclement weather, we will call the event 24 hours prior and it will be held in the gym at Essex Elementary School.


International Games Gala

Tuesday, July 16, 3pm

Kids, 5 and older (adults too!), join us for International BINGO, MEMORY and more! We’ll have a selection of games with a travel theme or from another country for you to play with your friends and/or family. No registration necessary.

World Fair

TUESDAY, JULY 23, 10am

Kids, ages 5 and older, reserve your ticket now for our World Fair at the Essex Library! Check in to receive your passport and visit our various international stations to meet guests from around the world, make crafts, sample foods, play games, enjoy our photo booth, and more!

In case of inclement weather, this event will be held on the 3rd floor of the library.



Word Travelers & the Taj Mahal Mystery

Children entering grades 2 & 3, join us for an international mystery! Register to have a copy of the book reserved for you and pick it up at the Library anytime after June 13th. Read it and enjoy a discussion and party with friends at the Library on Thursday afternoon, July 11th at 4pm. 

It's a Super Saturday sleepover! That means best friends Eddie and Molly-Jean (who prefers to be called MJ) are going to play outside, create obstacle courses for MJ's newts, and watch their favorite movies―and then they'll travel to India to solve a mystery and help save a school―all before bedtime!


Measuring Up

Children entering grades 4 & 5, register to have a copy of the book reserved for you and pick it up at the Library anytime after June 13th. Read it and enjoy a discussion and party with friends at the Library on Thursday afternoon, July 18th at 4pm. 

Cici has just moved from Taiwan to Seattle, and the only thing she wants more than to fit in at her new school is to celebrate her grandmother, A-ma’s 70th birthday together. Since she can’t go to A-ma, Cici cooks up a plan to bring A-Ma to her by winning the grand prize in a kids’ cooking contest to pay for A-ma’s plane ticket! There’s just one problem: Cici only knows how to cook Taiwanese food. And after her pickled cucumber debacle at lunch, she’s determined to channel her inner Julia Child. Can Cici find a winning recipe to reunite with A-ma, a way to fit in with her new friends, and somehow find herself too?


Amal Unbound

Teens entering grades 6, 7 and 8, join us for what author Jacqueline Woodson writes is “A beautiful and moving story….Amal…and the many people we meet in it are so thoughtfully and deeply rendered, I remain haunted by their struggles and changed by their journeys.” 

Register to have a copy of the book reserved for you and pick it up at the first session on Monday, June 24th, 4pm. We’ll meet weekly (June 24, July 8, 15 and 22) to discuss our reading and enjoy snacks and themed activities. 

Twelve-year-old Amal’s dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village’s ruling family. As punishment, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate. She summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s increasing awareness of the deadly measures the Khan family will go to in order to stay in control. It’s clear that their hold over her village will never loosen as long as everyone is too afraid to challenge them–so if Amal is to have any chance of ensuring her loved ones’ safety and winning back her freedom, she must find a way to work with the other servants to make it happen.


Find KADI THE KANGAROO, Our Summer Reading Mascot

Kadi will be visiting a different local business each week from June 24 to July 26. When you spot her, contact the Library to report where. We’ll add your name to our weekly raffle for ice cream cones donated by WOODMANS of Essex. 

QUESTIONS? Email April at

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