Kids’ Book Corner: Read for Fun This Summer

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“Books and summertime go together. ” ― Lisa Schroeder

I hope your children’s summer overflows with books­­––not those on a teacher’s reading list––but books that your kids choose for themselves: cookbooks, how-to books, books about cars, sports, fashion, shells, trees, birds, bugs, rock stars—whatever interests them.  Summer is the time to read for pleasure, the time for library cards, and piles of books to explore just for fun.

Studies show that this kind of reading pays off—bolstering academic skills, and strengthening the reading habit. Below are a few summery books to get you started.  Enjoy these with your kids. Have fun.

DownloadedFileLiza Gardner Walsh’s Fairy Garden Handbook is a whimsical, magical gardening and garden-project guide that older children can explore for themselves and parents can share by reading aloud. The photographs are wonderful and feature young children, boys and girls. Walsh covers gardening basics and offers step-by-step guides to a variety of charming projects: butterfly gardens, garden forts, making a homemade birdbath, miniature fairy gardens, indoor gardens, tea parties and mud pie parties, each filled with fairy lore.

DownloadedFile-2Boy Made: Green & Groovy Crafts by Laurie Goldrich Wolf is a project guide for “handmade toys and stuff for boys” which includes craft sticks, duct tape, fishing line, fake fur and googlie eyes, as well bright and appealing book that will appeal to boys 6 and up. The book is printed on recycled paper and begins by reminding kids to recycle trash for projects, to treat animals with kindness and respect, to work with natural materials.  There’s also a friendly list of useful supplies and simple tips (“Don’t rush. Read directions through once, completely, so you know what’s what.”). Terrifically fun projects include cardboard, foil and duct tape armor, swords, shields and helmets; swords and sabers, a catapult, slingshot, a clubhouse made from cardboard wardrobe cartons and tape; a tent, a kite, sliding saucers and flying flats; twig signs and terrariums; bird feeders, fishing rods; craft projects, games, slime and monster hands and feet. This is a book to last all summer.

DownloadedFile-4Laurie Goldman’s Into the Field Guide: A Walk on the Beach: A Hands-On Introduction to Cool, Common Critters, Shells, Plants and More is small enough for little hands to hold while on a trip to the beach, but full of fascinating information that will engage the whole family. So much is covered–– rocks, sand and wind to crabs, dolphins, birds jellyfish, shells and trees ––easily accessible with bright photographs.  The guide includes Instructions for making simple underwater viewers for tide pools. 6 and up.

51K6x9HZbaL._SY300_Chris Grabenstein’s Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library is a perfect summer mystery for tweens, an incredibly clever and literate story of 12 sixth-graders locked inside a very special library and their quest to escape first and win a prize.  Mr. Lemoncello is a puzzle-master and game-creator extraordinaire, who uses his talents to create the most amazing, high-tech library imaginable—complete with holograms, an IMAX theater and hover ladders that lift patrons right to the book they seek.  Puzzle-and adventure lovers 9-12 will love this brilliant and clever book and so will their parents.

51PN1RZN2VLSummer is the perfect time to share your childhood favorites with your kids. Mine include Wilo Davis Roberts’s The Absolutely True Story of How I Visited Yellowstone Park with the Terrible Rupes (8-up); Daniel Pinkwater’s The Artsy Smartsy Club (8-up); Suzy Morgenstern’s Secret Letters from 0-10 (9-12); E.L. Konigsburg’s The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place (10 and up); Edward Bloor’s Tangerine (10 and up); Meindert de Jong’s The Wheel on the School (8 and up); Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle, The Trolls, and The Canning Season; Eva Ibbotson’s Journey to the River Sea (9 and up); and of course Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.

Jo Perry has a Ph.D. in English, taught literature and writing, and worked as a college administrator and as a television writer and producer. She is a reviewer for and is an ongoing contributor to kidsLA Magazine for which she writes about the city, children’s books, and conducts interviews. For two years she wrote the Kids’ Book Club column for the L.A. Times’ Kids’ Reading Room page.


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About Karen Young

Karen Young is the founder of My Daily Find.

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