If your family is anything like mine … summertime equals binge-reading time! In May my 9-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter always sign up for our library’s summer reading program and spend the next couple of months trying to meet their goals. Unfortunately, it’s too easy to let children’s recreational reading time slip once the pace of life picks up with school and homework. As you approach the busy school year, I want to share some of our favorite summer reads along with the books we plan to read this fall.
Favorite Summer Books to Add to Your List
Poppy by Avi
My daughter couldn’t put this book down! Poppy is the story about a mouse’s struggle against a tyrannical owl, Mr. Ocax. Fast-paced and at times terrifying, my daughter claimed that this was one of the best animal books she has read in a long time.
War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Rich in historical detail, this is a powerful World War I story about a boy, Albert, and his beloved horse, Joey. After Albert’s father sells Joey to an army captain, the novel follows the horse’s relationships with various owners and other horses throughout the devastation of the War. Both heartbreaking and beautifully-written, War Horse was one of the most memorable books we read all summer.
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
The winner of the 1986 Newberry Medal, Sarah, Plain and Tall is about a grieving widower who advertises for a mail-order bride to help raise his children and manage the farm. One of my favorite books in elementary school, I had no objections when my children wanted to read it.
The Gold-Threaded Dress by Carolyn Marsden
This is the story about a young girl from Thailand, Oy, trying to fit in at her new American school. When a popular girl wants Oy to bring her special Thai dancing dress to school, Oy must decide what she’s willing to do to be accepted. The novella provides a great springboard to discuss many childhood issues including bullying and the struggle to make friends at a new school.
What’s Next This Fall…
The Expeditioners by S.S. Taylor
My kids and I are halfway through this book, and we’re loving it! A steampunk adventure, The Expeditioners tells the story of group of orphaned siblings pursued by the government after the death of their explorer father, Alexander West. Following a map smuggled to them after their father’s death, the children make their way through hidden canyons in the American West with government agents always one step behind.
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
A Newberry Honor book and National Book Award finalist, this story follows the friendship between a dog and a cat and her kittens living under the house of a cruel owner, Gar Face.
Baby by Patricia MacLachlan
A one-year-old baby is left for a family with a note explaining that her name is Sophie, she is good, and her mother will return for her one day. By the same author of Sarah, Plain and Tall, the premise of this book intrigues me, and I can’t wait to read it with the kids.
Mockingbird by Kathryn Erkine
A National Book Award Winner, this story follows an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s after she loses her older brother in a school shooting.