HANNIBAL – Children attending the July 27 grand finale of the Hannibal Free Public Library's Summer Reading Program took home free books, along with prizes won in drawings during the afternoon.

HANNIBAL – Children attending the July 27 grand finale of the Hannibal Free Public Library's Summer Reading Program took home free books, along with prizes won in drawings during the afternoon.

“We had an awesome summer,” Assistant Librarian Caitlin Greathouse said. “They (children) read over 15,000 books and the adults read 2,000 books.”

As director of the reading program, Greathouse reported a total of more than 700 children and adults participated.

The goal was 12,000 for the combined total of books read to preschoolers and hours spent reading by the older children and adults. “We are at 15,000,” Greathouse said.

Because the children reached their goal, they had the opportunity to celebrate in one of two ways. They voted whether to have Greathouse doused with whipped cream or silly string.

The children voted for the whipped cream, and after the prizes drawings were completed, Greathouse met them on the parking lot for this fun event, as the children were served ice cream.

As she presented the prizes, Greathouse said the library did not have to buy any of them, because local organizations and businesses donated $2,400 for the prizes. She added that, “A good portion of the Summer Reading Program's funding is given to us by a grant from the Missouri State Library.”

For the prize drawings six names of readers were drawn from each age division - preschool, elementary students and teens. If the child was present, the gift was presented. Winners who were not present will receive their prizes later.

In the preschool group, Rowan Miller was happy to receive a talking telescope. Additional prizes for the preschoolers included talking books, a space puzzle, pillow playmat, and a Scribble and Write tablet.

In the elementary group, Maggie Gibbons won a space set. Additional elementary prizes included Shuttle Legos, a preloaded Nintendo and a Leapfrog tablet.

Teen winners included Brea Cozen, who won a Java Jive gift card. Books and theater tickets were among the teens' prizes.

Also, a number of door prizes were presented to the children attending. Greathouse reported the door prizes were donated by the Ralls County Christian Home School Group.

Before the prize drawings, youngsters enjoyed playing in the children's room.

Three brothers posed with some reading signs, then shared some of their favorite books. Tanner Allen, a sixth grader, likes Harry Potter books and Percy Jackson fantasy books.

His twin brothers, Keith and Henry, fourth graders, also enjoy reading. Henry likes the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and Keith likes Harry Potter books.

Henry Smith, 4, was building with blocks as his family explained he likes “Hot Rod Hamster and Monster Truck Mania.” He also likes nonfiction about snakes and dogs. His sister Hanna, 7, likes the Mr. Putter and Tabby series.

Alison and Peter Barbre brought their three children. Ansley, 2, played with toys, while his sister, Violet, 5, was coloring. Her mother said she likes princess books. She later was among the preschool winners, receiving a Leapfrog learnng item.

Their brother August, 6, is already reading, and likes Dr. Seuss books, especially “Green Eggs and Ham.”

Their parents said August is in first grade at Holy Family School and reads chapter books. He likes “Geronimo Stilton and the Lost Treasure of Emerald Eye.”

See photo gallery for more pictures of the celebration.

bdarr@courierpost.com