By the editors of Weekly Reader digital and print, McClatchy-Tribune
Reading is not a seasonal sport, so why should it stop in summer? If you’re a parent who wants your child to keep reading when the temperature rises, we’re here to help. Try this list of books sure to engage readers from ages 5 to 11. We offer stories and advice books, all of them tomes we’ve spent time poring over, thinking about, and recommending to anyone who will listen. We bet your kids will, too!
“Adele and Simon in America” by Barbara McClintock (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008).
Don’t have time for a cross-country road trip this summer? Invite your children to travel with siblings Adele and Simon on their journey across America in the early 20th century. Along the way in this picture book, Simon loses a number of his belongings. Sharp eyes will find his things among the intricate and beautiful drawings. Adele and Simon is great fun, and a great way to learn a bit about geography and history.
“She’ll Be Comin’ ‘Round the Mountain” by Philemon Sturges; illustrated by Ashley Wolff (Little, Brown, 2004).
Someone special is coming, and the creatures in this Southwestern village are busy cooking up a fiesta grande to celebrate! Sturges has created a festive and compelling twist on the old folk tune, and kids and adults alike will get swept up in the excitement of party preparations, in Wolff’s fabulously rendered cast of animals, and in the great twist at the end when the visitor’s identity is revealed.
“Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book?” by Lauren Child (Hyperion, 2003).
When Herb falls asleep while reading a book of fairy tales, he finds himself stuck inside the book. And Goldilocks is not happy about it, because, well, she’s supposed to be the main character. She chases him through the other fairy tales and they cause quite a commotion at Cinderella’s house. The combination of photos, illustration, text, and flipping pages upside-down, make this a very fast-paced, funny, a bit wacky, and interactive book. While recommended for children in grades 1-3, its humor will be a hit with kids in 4th-6th grades, too.
“The Care and Keeping of YOU: The Body Book for Girls” by Valorie Schaefer (American Girl Publishing, 1998).
This is a good book for girls (9 and up), and even better for moms and daughters to read together. It’s a terrific way for girls to learn about health, nutrition, body care, and the many changes they’ll live through as they approach the pre-teen years. The book can turn a sensitive topic into great conversation starter.
“The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Middle School” by David Borgenicht, Ben H. Winters, and Robin Epstein (Chronicle Books, 2009).
This lively variation on the original “Worst Case Scenario” book is fun and has excellent, useful tips. Some of it is standard-issue advice, such as how to organize your locker, while other sections, such as “How to Challenge a Cheater,” may help kids keep the upper hand in awkward situations. All in all, it’s a useful book that will help make the transition to middle school a little less scary.
“Guys Write for Guys Read” edited by Jon Scieszka (Viking, 2005).
What’s it like to be a guy? This book answers that question in almost 100 short pieces by popular, talented writers and illustrators (Neal Gaiman, who wrote “Coraline”; Matt Groening, creator of “The Simpsons”; Stephen King, spooky-novel creator; etc). These guys write about wanting to have superpowers, wrestling, war, school, girls, acne, comic books, and much more. And if you want more, there’s lots of good stuff on the www.guysread.com website.
Weekly Reader publishes digital and print materials for students from grades K-12. Visit www.weeklyreader.com.