Rochester reader nets a statewide reading prize

Oct 03

Blake Gagne wasn't quite sure why he was headed to Plumb Library after school on October 2. His mother had simply told him there was a surprise for him there.

"There's a prize here for someone who reads a lot and always has a happy face when he logs his hours," Plumb Library Program Assistant Lisa Fuller told him. "Do you know anyone like that?"

"Yes, me," Blake said with a shy laugh.

Blake had, in fact, been selected as a winner in the statewide Summer Reading Program, in which Plumb Library participates. Over the summer, children are challenged to read books, participate in library programs, and log their hours.

At the end of the summer, the librarians from every library in the program select five names per age group (ages 5-7, 8-11 and 12+) to enter into a prize raffle. Random names are then selected to receive prizes.

The statewide program works in coordination with the Boston Bruins, who offer up a number of prizes for winning readers in the three age groups. Readers have won rides on the Zamboni at team games, front-row seats and autographed items, amongst other prizes.

Blake's particular prize, as a member of the 8-11 age group, turned out to be a Bruins hockey puck, signed by player Brad Marchand. When Fuller approached Blake with his prize, his eyes grew round. "This is awesome!"

He attributed his victory to many hours spent reading the "Harry Potter" series, which he listed as his favorite books.

Blake's mother Michelle said her son is a voracious reader. "Sometimes I pick up his backpack and there are about twenty books in there," she said. "It's like, yes, you are definitely my child!"

Blake's younger brother Zach eyed the prize with interest. He apparently had the most logical use for the puck in mind. He suggested a novel idea to his mother and brother. "Maybe when we leave here, we can go buy sticks and play with the puck?"

"Maybe a different one!" Michelle Gagne said with a laugh.