It’s almost back-to-school time in New Jersey. My girls have had a wonderful summer, and are all actually eager to get back to class, see their friends, and meet their new teachers. I’ll have a 2nd, 3rd and 6th grader this year. It’s the last time they’ll all be in the same building, which seems so strange to me!
In preparation for school, we’ve spent a little time talking about the books we loved reading this summer. Teachers always seem to be full of questions about your summer – what did you read? where did you go on vacation? – and we are ready to answer! Here are my girls’ favorite books from this summer:
C (age 11, entering 6th grade)
The Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann:
Billed as Harry Potter meets Hunger Games, this series was a perfect fit for a fantasy and adventure lover. Mythical creatures, magic powers, and a dystopian society that pits brother against brother made for some late nights reading by flashlight!
Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive) in the Real World? by Helaine Becker, ill by Phil McAndrew.
This unusual twist on nonfiction reading applies real-world science to fictional monsters – making everything from biology to physics an awful lot of frightful fun!
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.
I wasn’t sure C was ready for the creepy moments in this book, but she begged to read it and could not put it down. And no nightmares. She will NOT be seeing the movie, though! I’m such a mean mom. You can read a more thorough review I wrote on this book as part of the All the Wonders Big Book Block Party series here.
E (age 8 1/2, entering 3rd grade)
Hamster Princess series by Ursula Vernon.
Where has Ursula Vernon been all my life? These books are funny, fast, and so well-illustrated! We cannot get enough. Take classic fairy tales, add rodent protagonists, glitter, and a lot of laughs. Non-stop fun reading perfect for car trips, beach days and hiding from your obnoxious siblings.
The 13-Story Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths, ill. by Terry Denton.
One of those series that appeals to both genders, a wide age range, and sneaks in surprising vocabulary with such clear textual and illustrative clues that kids don’t ever have to ask “what does this say?” Anyone who ever dreamed of building a tree fort, owning a shark, or making their neighbor’s cat fly should read these books. Added benefit: your kids will be able to count by 13’s.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.
I cannot enthuse enough about this book. neither can my darling E. She has taken it EVERYWHERE this summer, and even admonished our librarian for not having read it yet. The perfect blend of short chapters, striking illustration, and don’t-underestimate-kids plot and subtlety. When a robot is stranded on a deserted island, she learns to adapt, evolve, and even…is it possible?…love.
M (age 6 3/4, entering 2nd grade)
The Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliot.
This series features writing simple enough for kids just transitioning to chapter books. Eva the Owl is a relatable main character – as avians go – and kids seem to fall for the colorful illustrations instantly. Around 2000 words each, they make great books for young kids to bring on vacation or read a chapter (or four) each night.
A Child Of Books by Oliver Jeffers.
M has long been a Jeffers fan – she more or less memorized his Once Upon An Alphabet and slept with Imaginary Fred under her pillow for weeks. So I was not surprised when the advanced copy of his newest picture book mysteriously moved itself onto her bookcase. M (and I) love how Jeffers turned the text of classic books into the illustrations for this allegorical tale of a girl who guides a friend into the adventures to be found inside books. While it’s light on plot, it’s big on visual interest, especially for a child who has grown up surrounded by books!
A Squiggly Story by Andrew Larsen, ill by Mike Lowery.
This book is such a great read for kids just developing the skills to write on their own! In it, the main character admires his big sister’s ability to write stories, and feels sad that he can’t really make all his letters and words yet. With help from family, teacher, and class, he discovers that a “squiggly” story – made with symbols, pictures, and beginning story structure – can be just as exciting!
You can check my Instagram feed for lots of pictures of our favorite reads – and all the fun places we read them – all year round!
Let us know what your kids’ favorite summer reads were in the comments sections below – and keep up the great work #RaisingReaders!