Cicada Summer: Dig into Reading

Respectfully submitted by Colleen Semitekol

In the summer of 1989, my mom sent me and my sister to stay with my aunt and uncle in rural Illinois where we spent two weeks at a Girl Scout camp in the middle of the woods.  I had two awesome experiences that summer:

  1. Poison Oak.
  2. Cicadas. 

After the poison oak cleared up, the cicadas came. 

CicadaGrowing up, my mom was a biology teacher and studied the mating rituals of psociads. We had all kinds of skeletons in the house, such as frogs, snakes and various skulls. My toys were microscopes and slides; some of my earliest tween memories were of enthusiastically making slides to view under the microscope lens. She also had a tremendous collection of bug carcasses that were kept under glass, which my sister was afraid to touch, I was not. Bugs were not frightening for me -- actually they were pretty cool. Cicada Summer was an awesome experience.

Despite the crimson red eyes, orange wings and black bodies, cicadas are a fascinating insect species. They are harmless to humans; they do not bite or sting, the life cycle is 17 years and there are 170 species of cicada in North America. Cicadas begin their life as little rice-shaped eggs that the mother deposits on tree branches. When the egg hatches, it feeds on tree fluids.  When the branch breaks and falls to the ground, the cicada digs into the ground until it finds a tree root to live off for the next 2 to 17 years, depending on the species. Afterward, the cicada emerges from the ground as a nymph and climbs up the tree to shed its exoskeleton, expose its wings and the new exoskeleton harden. Adult cicadas spend their short life, 2 to 4 weeks, looking for a mate to begin the life cycle again. The cicada lives above the ground from June-August. 

Cicadas spend their lives digging into and out of the ground.  This summer, June to August, along with the cicada, let's do a bit of our own digging and “Dig into Reading.” This summer, as readers, we can take a cue from our temporary visitors. We can make the most of this summer! Go explore, probe, turn inside out, leave no stone unturned, and dig up and into something new. 

To help you get started, I recommend these books.

neverbelieve soul searching into the unknown
The Land of Neverbelieve 
by Norman Messenger
Soul Searching: A Girl's Guide to Finding Herself
by Sarah Stillman
Into the Unknown: How Great Explorers Found Their Way by Land, Sea, and Air, 1st U.S. ed. 
by Stewart Ross
explorer extradonaire This book made me do it Boy Scouts of America
Explorer Extraordinaire!
by Jane O'Connor
This Book Made Me Do It: Cool Things to Make, Do and Explore
by John Woodward
Boy Scouts of America 
by Robert Birkby
What's Looking at You, Kid? Mountains Around the World Let's Explore Science series
What's Looking at You, Kid? 
by Patrick J. Lewis
Mountains Around the World series Let’s Explore Science series
Colonial People series Protecting Our Planet series Daring Book for Girls
Colonial People series Protecting Our Planet series Daring Book for Girls 
by Andrea Buchanan
Celebrations in My World Unbored  
Celebrations in My World series Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun by Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen  


(Cicada photo by Pete Lounsbury / Flickr)