CHARLESTON, W.Va. --Lachlan Mulholland, 8, had made a soda rocket before, but he'd never launched an air rocket until Saturday afternoon.
As a volunteer helped Lachlan build a nose on his red and blue rocket, the red-head said rockets were the reason he came to the Kanawha County Public Library's Summer Library Club kickoff.
"I wanted to see them take off," he said.
Children jumpstarted their plans for summer reading during the library's event at the Charleston Town Center Mall. Activities included launching air rockets, playing games, making crafts, touring the mobile library, visiting NASA's "Journey to Tomorrow" exhibit and registering for library cards and reading club membership.
The goal of the summer's space-themed "Reading is a Blast" library club is to get kids excited about reading.
"This is obviously a theme that's going to appeal probably to boys, and boys are a tough customer when it comes to getting them to want to read," Pam May, marketing supervisor for the library, said earlier in the week.
On Saturday, Clendenin Street was blocked off outside the mall so children could construct and launch their rockets. Jess White, education specialist for NASA in Fairmont, showed the children how to wrap PVC pipe in construction paper and secure it with duct tape to make the body of the rocket. Then, the children used the tape to create a nose on the rocket.
Lily Ross, 3, was too young to build a rocket and spent some time peeking through the telescopes on display instead. She said what she likes about reading is looking at the pictures. Her favorite books are the Curious George ones because "he's silly and curious," she said.
Although she couldn't participate, Lily watched the older children send their rockets flying. Empty two-liter bottles were connected to PVC pipe, and the open end of the PVC pipe was connected to a bicycle pump that was used to fill the bottles with air. Then, the rocket was placed on that end of the pipe. Following a "3, 2, 1" countdown, the children stomped on the bottles, and their rockets catapulted down the street.
Lennon Hickman, 8, finished launching her rocket and said the experience was "fun and cool."