Sarasota author Amy Diamond with her sons, Mikai Bridges (11, left) and Paxton Bridges (5)

As part of its popular “Rock Your Summer Reading” initiative, Music Compound presents Sarasota author Amy Diamond, who will host live reading sessions at Music Compound’s downtown location at the Bazaar on Apricot & Lime (821 Apricot Ave., Sarasota) on Saturday, June 5, at 10:15 a.m. and again at 11:15 a.m. Diamond will read two of the books from her children’s book series, “The Adventures of Splash & Shelly: The Lost Octopus” and “A New Friend.”

“The Adventures of Splash & Shelly” follow a host of fun and charismatic ocean characters around their home on the coral reef. The series was born in 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Diamond began telling her two sons entertaining “brain stories” at night to help calm their worries and fears associated with the pandemic and their sudden recent move across the country, from Los Angeles, Calif. – where she had lived for 16 years – to Sarasota, where she has immediate family.

Diamond’s books grew from the bedtime stories she told her 11 and 5-year-old sons. The ocean characters developed from her lifelong passions for the underwater world and education: she has a Bachelor of Science in Marine Biology and a Master’s in Education.

With “The Adventures of Splash & Shelly,” Diamond has merged her two loves of the ocean and motherhood; her hope is to help other families not only develop basic coping strategies for tough times but to also raise awareness of current challenges we face in our world – all told through age-appropriate, fun, and educational ocean stories.

“As we continue with ‘Rock Your Summer Reading,’ we are thrilled to feature an author whose message is so timely,” says Music Compound owner Jenny Townsend. “Over the past year, children have had to contend with unprecedented levels of stress. Amy’s books offer strategies for parents and children to ease their anxiety, discuss important issues in kid-friendly ways, and simply bring joy, while reading together as a family, which we know supports healthy brain development and bonding.”

Associated Rock Your Summer Reading events are being planned with last year’s featured author, 9-year-old Sienna Alfano, and local children’s book author Richard Bergman, who will donate books as well as do a live reading.

Music Compound is committed to educating all year long, especially when school is out for the summer. In addition to hosting an in-person Summer Camp, Music Compound launches the Rock Your Summer Reading initiative each year on June 1. Music Compound has again partnered with area businesses to provide special treats, one-of-a-kind experiences, and cool items as prizes; area youth have an opportunity to receive prizes for every five books they read. The goal is to inspire children to read while simultaneously continuing to drive people back into area businesses.

“It’s a win-win for everyone,” says Townsend. “Our business partners have been very generous in providing prizes, and we know the participating families will be introduced to new products or experiences that they will continue to enjoy in the future.”

As the number of books a child reads increases, the value of prizes he or she can earn grows. The Grand Prize this year is a party for up to 20 people at Music Compound’s Cattlemen Road venue, known as Studio 32. Karaoke, pizza, bounce house donated by Let’s Jump Rentals, and cool treats donated by Kona Ice are included ($600 value). The Grand Prize winner will be announced on September 13th on Music Compound’s “Music Monday” Facebook segment.

Participants can download a reader passport by visiting RockYourSummerReading.com. Each participant is requested to complete the form after each book to inform prize partners; participants are required to complete and submit the completed passport in order to be entered into the Grand Prize drawing.

For additional information, contact us: [email protected] or 941-379-9100. There is also a Rock Your Summer Reading Facebook group, with live reading events and plentiful inspiration to keep those pages turning.