This year, I decided to participate in the Charlotte County Libraries and History’s Reading Challenge in order to put some variety into my reading. I have noticed lately that I tend to read much of the same genre or author, especially if they write a series that I enjoy, and I wanted to challenge myself. I belong to a book club and the same idea applies there. In the book club, there were some books that spoke to me or were engaging, but there were others that I chose not to finish or didn’t like because of difficult subject matter or simply poor writing. Whether positive or negative, I found that I learned as a result of all these experiences. This is what I hope to accomplish through the Reading Challenge.

If you want to participate, it is not too late. This challenge is taken at your own pace, you can read books in any order, and you keep track of your own progress. The challenge lists 24 prompts which you match to a book and notate on the form. At the end of the challenge, you would have read 24 books. You can go to the library and pick up a form that has the various book prompts listed as well as download the form from The Charlotte County Libraries and History Facebook page or the library website. The social media pages also offer some book suggestions in case you need some hints as well as updates about the challenge. When you’ve completed the list, bring it in to the library anytime; you don’t have to wait until the end of the year, and receive a prize.

Here’s to reading more books!



Reading Out Loud by Sara Benson
Re-printed from The BOOKMARK May 2002

My mother was a reader. Now that in itself is probably no big deal, but the impact it had on me is one of the finest gifts she ever gave me. I must have been pretty young, maybe 10 years old when she took me to the main library for the first time. It was a “huge” building with great columns in the front and lots of steps leading to the entrance. The double doors were very heavy and it took a lot of effort on my part to swing them wide open. Once inside I can remember feeling quite overwhelmed when I saw all the shelves containing nothing but books. Well, we went to the young reader area and she very carefully I ntroduced me to Nancy Drew. What a meeting! Nancy and I were to form a relationship that would last for many weeks that summer. I got to know all about her and accompanied her on every adventure that she went on. We had the best time.

Well, as the year went on, my mother decided that she would finally fulfill her fondest dream and bought a small bookstore. It was located in a corner of a very trendy street in Montclair, California and it was wonderful. Besides being a store that sold books, it was also a lending library (of sorts). My mom was in her element and customers came from all around to talk about what they had read or wanted to read. You see, my mother has a wonderful memory and could dredge up all kinds of things about books she had read many many years ago. She had a great time in those years that she owned that shop.

My mom is now eighty years old and can no longer read. Her eyes are not what they used to be and she finds that words blur after only a short while. So now she listens to her books. There she sits in her chair, the earpieces gently in place, eyes half shut and a far off dreamy smile on her lips. She is reading. She is s ti ll e njo y ing those wonderful books that she introduced me to many years ago. She “reads” novels, biographies, and is just starting the bible for the third time.

I tell you all of this because I know as a Friend of the Library you can relate to the joy of finding just the right book, no matter what the subject material. Isn’t is a wonder to walk into our small library and see all those shelves filled with information and entertainment for all ages? I encourage you to visit. And, if you find that you are not able to see those words like you did before, just ask the desk. I know that one of our staff will be glad to point you in the direction of our audio books. Find yourself a comfortable chair, put in those earpieces and enjoy the wonderful world of “books on tape.” You’ll be glad you did.


Friends Presented 2022 Literary Luncheon Featuring New York Times and International Bestselling author Kristin Harmel

The Friends were pleased to host New York Times best-selling author Kristin Harmel at our annual Literary Luncheon at the beautiful Isles Yacht Club. Kristin gave an insightful and candid presentation and answered questions from the audience. In addition to the raffle baskets that are always part of our fund raising event, we want to thank Linda Bauman for creating and donating a beautiful book-themed quilt that was won during an auction by our Literary Luncheon Sponsor Judi Roth.

Literacy Outreach

Brenna Thummler Day in Punta Gorda

Brenna started her day at Punta Gorda Middle School where she held the 6th grader’s attention for over an hour with an engaging and interactive (including asking three kids to draw pictures of her) talk about her journey from middle schooler to working writer and artist all because she picked up a book at a used book store.

She then worked with a select group of middle schoolers, teaching them to create character pages and design work in order to create their own graphic novels. The Friends purchased copies of Brenna’s award-winning book Sheets for the students who participated in this part of the outreach and Brenna signed them all and drew a ghost on the inside for each of them.
In the afternoon, Children’s Librarian, Liz Lee, led a program with Brenna at the library.

That evening, Brenna went to independent bookstore, Copperfish Books for a meet and greet session with the community.

Thanks to the generous donation of the Shively Foundation and with the support and dedication of the Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library, the 2022 Literacy Outreach Day with Graphic Novelist Brenna Thummler was a smashing success!

Youth Literature

From Classics to Graphics by Director Tony Farina

We all have some blind spots in our reading lists. Some people have never read Moby Dick and others have avoided reading Pride and Prejudice. Often people miss out on these classics because they think they know what the book is, or that it is too long or they think the language will be difficult. These may be valid reasons for missing out on some great literature, and as adults, there are no repercussions for never filling that void. However, for some younger readers, they don’t have any choice in the matter. They are given some of these tomes as assignments and for them, that task is even more daunting as they are packed with activities and short attention spans.

While there is nothing one can do about how long a book is (Melville sure did love to write run-on paragraphs) there is one tool that parents and teachers can use, early on, to help young readers get over the fear of some of those epic books. The answer is illustrated adaptations.

In 1941, Comics Publisher Albert Kanter understood that he could get kids to read comic books, but he could not get them to read the “classics.” Thus, he launched, Classic Comics (later renamed Classics Illustrated) a comic book retelling of classic tales. The first issue was the often seen, but little read masterpiece, The Three Musketeers. He understood that if the story could be demystified, later when they were teenagers and assigned some of these “heavy” books, they wouldn’t be afraid because they understood the gist of the story.

Thummler, broke into the comics scene by illustrating a graphic novel version of Anne of Green Gables for Andrews McMeel Publishing. This book won critical acclaim and became a bestseller introducing Anne and her adventures to a new group of young people who, most likely, will go on and read the full series without fear.

The idea is so good that the company Manga Classics, a Japanese Manga publisher has emerged with a vast array of titles from Austen, to Shakespeare to Fitzgerald and most everything in-between. These Manga editions open these classic stories to the world. Each year, roughly 2 billion unique Manga comics are sold worldwide. Of course, not all of those are classics, but the art form is popular enough that readers are willing to give almost anything a try.

Remember, comic books are for everyone so maybe you should wander into the Mary Knowlton Teen Room or check out the adult graphic novel selection in the library or on Hoopla Digital so you can fill in some of those blind spots or just experience these stories in a new, and engaging way.


Legacy Gifts for the Friends

As a member of Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library (“Friends”) we know you value reading. Friends members also share the mission of promoting use of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library (the “Library”), being a community advocate for the Library and providing financial support to augment and maintain the Library collection and provide for Library improvements.
You can ensure your values live on by making a gift to Friends, as many other members have done and continue to do.

If you would like someone to contact you regarding possibly making a gift, either directly or through your estate plan,contact us.

Thank you, Sarah Davis by Director/Bookstore Manager Katie Mazzi

Sarah Davis has decided that the time has come to step away from volunteering in the Friends Bookstore. She has been actively involved with the Friends and this library community since 1999 and we want to acknowledge and thank her for all she has done for us.

Eight years ago, this publication featured Sarah in her own words. We are going to share her story again:

“From the time I was a little girl growing up in a village in Ohio, I have loved libraries. After I married, one of my priorities when we moved was to get a library card.
Shortly after I retired from teaching, the Punta Gorda Library was renovated, and our bookstore was added. Nan-cy Vuic, who organized and recruited volunteers for the new bookstore asked if I might be interested and I agreed. If you love books and enjoy talking about them with the patrons, this is the place to be.

A few years ago, there was an opening for a volunteer in the library itself, which I filled. It provides a different
experience from the bookstore, but it is just as rewarding. The employees and the patrons are a pleasure and I look forward to being there every week.”
Sarah served on the Friends Board of Directors as Secretary from 2000-2002. She also served on the Honorary Board. After Nancy Vuic served as bookstore manager, she turned the job over to Sara Benson who in turn handed the job of Bookstore Manager off to Sarah Davis in 2005.

After a few years, Sarah decided it was time to pass the volunteer bookstore manager on to someone else, but she continued to volunteer in the bookstore. You could count on Sarah being in the bookstore on Tuesday mornings unless she was off traveling or being with family.

Sarah also continued volunteering in the library for many years. You never knew when you would see Sarah pushing a cart around the library shelving the books for the next patron to check out.
This past November Sarah called me and said that the time had come for her to stop coming into the bookstore as a volunteer. I understood but it was hard to think about coming in on Tuesdays and not finding Sarah behind the sales counter as it was Sarah Davis who was my mentor and sounding board. We both agreed that being around people who loved books was the best way to spend time away from home.

An era has ended with Sarah’s “retirement” and I know you join me in saying, Thank You, Sarah.

Friends of the Library Business PatronsShare this information with your business friends and encourage them to become a Friends Business Patron.


Amberg Insurance Center
Andreae Group at ReMax Harbor Realty
Animal Medical Clinic of Punta Gorda
Avant Construction, Inc.
Bayfront Health Punta Gorda
Bayfront Health Port Charlotte
Bohall’s Total Comfort, Inc.
C&R Graphics
Chapman Insurance Group
Charlotte State Bank & Trust Punta Gorda Charlotte State Bank & Trust Port Charlotte Comfort Keepers of Port Charlotte
Copperfish Books
Don Gasgarth’s Charlotte County Ford
Farr, Farr, Emerich, Hackett, Carr & Holmes, P.A. Florida Cancer Specialists
F.M. Don’s
Friendly Floors
GFWC – Punta Gorda Woman’s Club, Inc.
Gould Family Trust
Graddy Insurance Group
Gulf Island Sails, LLC
Michael P. Haymans Esq.
Hometown Title & Closing Services
Isles Yacht Club
Jeffrey Joffe, DMD, P.A.
Jim Koinis, Edward Jones Investments
Joyce Vein & Aesthetic Institute
Landsberg Bennett Private Wealth Management McCrory Law Firm
Mike Martin Agency-State Farm Ins. Punta Gorda Nix & Associates Real Estate LLC
Nolan Family Insurance
Olsen, Lynch & Wright, CPAs, P.A.
Pineapple Storage
Presley Beane Financial Services
Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce
Punta Gorda Downtown Merchants Assoc.
Punta Gorda Symphony
Rivera Professional Plaza
Sanchez, George DMD
SandStar Homes, LLC/SandStar Remodeling Towles Corp. of SW Florida
Twin Isles Country Club
Village Fish Market & Restaurant
Webb, Lorah & McMillan, PLLC