Scavenger hunt with author leads students to knowledge

Rummaging through aisles of books at the South Irving Library, students in grades 6 – 12 frantically searched for clues during the Space Runners Scavenger Hunt held on Tuesday afternoon, June 20.

Students were divided into two teams and had to work together to find clues hidden in different areas of the library.

“The scavenger hunt let them get familiar with places in the library,” said Mary Hinson, senior library assistant of teen services. “We also had a visiting author, Jeramey Kraatz, author of Space Runners: The Moon Platoon and The Cloak Society trilogy. It was a space themed scavenger hunt, and then we had a little meet and greet, Q and A session.”

This event is just one of many programs the library will host for teenagers this summer.

“During the summer we definitely hold more programs, because students have more time to be at the library,” Hinson said. “This summer we have more programs than ever, just about one a week.”

Grace Pipkins, a junior at MacArthur High School, decided to participate along with her two best friends.

“I asked both of my friends to come because I thought it looked like fun,” Pipkins said. “I love scavenger hunts. I’ve always loved scavenger hunts and I’m very competitive.”

Pipkins and her friends finished the scavenger hunt in about 20 minutes and won the grand prize, an iPod shuffle and a signed copy of Kraatz’s book Space Runners.

“It was like a rush of excitement trying to finish,” Pipkins said. “It was really fun, and we had a good time.”

Kraatz enjoys coming to events hosted by the Irving Library system, not only because they are his favorite libraries, but because he gets the opportunity to interact with teenagers.

“It’s my favorite thing to do as part of my job as an author for kids,” Kraatz said. “It’s great to be able to be here and talk to these students who are really interested in writing, to encourage them and maybe give them some advice. After this, I go back to my computer and keep working. Having just talked to these kids, I remember why I’m doing this, so it’s refreshing for me as well.”

Diego Alvarez, an incoming freshman at Jack E. Singley Academy, said even though his team lost, he still enjoyed the scavenger hunt.

“I learned how to work together in a team, got to improve on my social skills, and I learned a lot about the library because there are a lot of things that I didn’t know even though I’ve been here so many times,” he said.

Alvarez’s favorite part of the event was getting to talk to Kraatz in a one-on-one setting.

“The first time I met him, he came to my elementary school, but that was a long time ago,” he said. “I’m interested in becoming a writer when I grow up, so it’s cool to meet people like Jeramey Kraatz and other famous authors.”

Alvarez and his team did not leave empty handed. For their efforts in the scavenger hunt, they also received a signed copy of Space Runners.

“The scavenger hunt is a program that has actually been done almost every year,” Hinson said. “It’s a recurring program and everybody seems to have a really good time with it.”

Kraatz thinks the scavenger hunt is a fun way to keep teenagers engaged in the summer.

“The great thing about the scavenger hunt is that technically they’re here to win prizes, but they’re in the library in the summer exploring,” Kraatz said. “They get to find things they wouldn’t have found otherwise running through all these sections. They’re getting to explore the library and immerse themselves in books and remind themselves or learning for the first time. There’s such a world of literature and knowledge out there for them.”