Sunday, May 20, 2012

Kid's Summer Reading List: Part 1/4

Summer is just around the corner, so I thought it was time for my summer reading recommendations.  This will be a four part post to give you enough books for those plane rides, car trips and lazy summer days.  That, and I realized that many of you might see summer reading from different perspectives.  I thought I would start with the most serious summer readers first:

Tiger Mom List

This list is for mom's who want to keep the academics going over the summer.  No rest for the weary!  Summer is an opportunity to get ahead of those other pesky kids in the class and show them who's boss.

For this list I a have selected only Newbery winners or honor books because aren't they the best of the best?  But do not fear, while these are award winning and librarian approved, they are also the books that fit best with summer days and heightened imaginations!  The Newbery is filled with books kids should like but really don't, and I hope this list pulls out the gems that are both innovative and exciting to children.

So get out there and read a book.  And make it a Newbery, because don't you want your kids to get smarter over the summer?  Oh come on, you know you do!

Title:          Holes
Author:      Louis Sachar
Target:       Grades 4-6
Series:        No
Newbery Medal Book
What this book is about:
Stanley’s family is cursed.  It started with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great grandfather and it haunts him to this day.  When Stanley gets wrongly sent to the juvenile detention center, Camp Green Lake, he quickly discovers this is not camp and  there is no lake.  Instead the boys must go out everyday and dig a hole, 5’ by 5’ in the blazing hot sun.  But this punishment is not as random as it seems.  Apparently the Warden is trying to find something and Stanley may hold the key to its discovery.
Why I love this book:
This is just a great, well written story.  Throughout the book Stanley’s situation is intertwined with stories from the past that all tie back to his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing great-great grandfather.
It is wonderful to see Stanley evolve and navigate the other kids at “camp.”  There is a real happiness in the book as Stanley discovers he likes himself and who he has become.  And of course there is plenty of suspense as the boys fight against the Warden, and Stanley discovers the purpose of their digging!
Who this book is for:
Great for all kids.  
Final thoughts:
Sacher takes a difficult situation and adds history, humor and suspense to create a wonderful novel.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Holes  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog.

Title:          Turtle in Paradise
Author:      Jennifer L. Holm
Target:       Grades 3-6
Series:        No
Newbery Honor Book
What this book is about:
It’s 1935 and times are tough.  When Turtle’s mother gets a housekeeping job and Turtle is not allowed to live with her, she is shipped off to her aunt in Florida (who, by the way, is not expecting her!)  She is confronted with a set of young cousins and relatives who initially give her the stink eye, and won’t let her into their “business.”  That business would be the Diaper Gang,  a group of boys who take care of unruly babies and have invented a diaper creme that mothers think is miraculous (weren’t expecting that one were you!)  Turtle struggles to fit in and open herself up to family.
Why I love this book:
Oh, come on, a group of hoodlum boys who run a Diaper Gang, what is not to love about that!  Turtle is one tough cookie, and she is so realistic about life at such a young age that you can’t help but root for her.  This is a wonderful period piece and the author has taken facts about her own relatives to write the book.  Kids will get a nice overview of what is was like to live during the depression.
Who this book is for:
Kid’s who enjoy historical fiction, but there is also some good action in the book when they go in search of pirate treasure.  The main character is a girl, but she is not particularly girly so boys may warm to the book as well.  However the cover is so feminine it may take some work to get boys to open it up!
Final thoughts:
The feelings of Key West in the summer, ice cream trucks and buried treasure make this a nice summer read for kids.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Turtle in Paradise  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog.

Title:          Savvy
Author:      Ingrid Law
Target:       Grades 4-7
Series:        No, but there is a sequel, Scumble
Newbery Honor Book
What this book is about:
Mib has a distinctive family.  When a family member turns thirteen, they discover their savvy, or their unique magical talent.   Mib’s mother does everything perfectly, one brother can control electricity with his body, the other brother can create weather storms with his moods.  Sadly, Mib’s father is in a serious car accident the night before her thirteenth birthday, so Mib is left to find her savvy with none of her support system around her.  In an attempt to get to her parents, Mib finds her way onto a bible selling bus with her remaining siblings, the preacher’s children and a sweet but meek salesman.  Her journey will forever change her life, and theirs.
What I love about this book:
I just loved the idea of savvy. - magic that brings out one unique ability in a person that makes them distinctive or special.  I think that every person has a savvy and that is what makes the story magical and accessible.
The cast of characters is wonderful, and every child will realize that all families have a little crazy in them.  As Mibs discovers her savvy, I felt the heartbreak as she hoped it would be able to help her father, and then the understanding it gave her.
Who this book is for:
Both boys and girls should enjoy this book.  My older son read it and said he couldn’t get it out of his head.
Final thoughts:
Wonderful book that shows what people are on the outside is not necessarily what they are on the inside.

To purchase this book, go to your local bookstore or click here to connect to Amazon: Savvy  A portion of each purchase goes back to support this blog.

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