Summer Reading


It has been a hot, breezy weekend and it seems like we moved out onto the porch overnight. The living room is looking forlorn and bare as the books, magazines, and games have drifted outside. Along with porch living comes another favorite summer activity--reading out loud.

I've begun my yearly list of books I want to try. In doing so, I stumbled on Amazon's "Summer Reads for Kids and Teens" and was appalled at the quality of the books they had chosen--especially for young adults.

Here are some of our recommendations based on successful summer reads over the past few years. Of course, the books are mainly suited to girls and to Lou's (and my) old fashioned taste.

From Lou's shelf (which has completely shifted from picture books to chapter books):


The summer between 1st/2nd grade we read every single Betsy book that Carolyn Haywood ever wrote. Lou and Helen both loved them. B is for Betsy is the first in the series. It's a sweet story about a young girl's adventures in first grade.

Last summer, between 2nd/3rd grade, three books that both girls really enjoyed are:

The Secret Language This story is about two friends learning about friendship while off at boarding school. I think the girls are around 8 or 9 years old.

No Flying in the House Both girls LOVED this story of a little girl (who turns out to be a fairy) and her guardian--a teeny tiny dog who speaks.

Miss Hickory
This is a lovely story about a woman who is made out of an apple twig and her adventures finding a home in the forest.

Hels, of course, also has stacks of books. She has read a few winners this year, most set in Medieval times.


Every Tamora Pierce book (her favorite author)
The Outlaws of Sherwood
Crispin

Crispin might be good read to out loud. The others she just recommends as good summer reads.

On the list for this summer:

Betsy-Tacy I've tried these with Lou before without a lot of success, but I'm going to try again.

Famous Five
books by Enid Blyton

Five Little Peppers and How they Grew Hels listened to this book on tape years ago. She absolutely loved it so I'm going to pull it out again. This poor, dear family goes through many trials and tribulations.


Little Women
by Louisa May Alcott. This is my beloved copy, illustrated by Tasha Tudor. I loved Alcott's books when I was about Hels' age. I thought we'd give it a try and then go to Concord to see her childhood home, Orchard House. In the meantime, I'm going to try March again (I couldn't get into it the first time I tried it).




Of course there are many other books that the girls at this age have loved including:

the Little House Books
Ramona (which I LOVE on tape --read by Stockard Channing)
All-of-a Kind Family series
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle
Pippi Longstocking

I mention these because I think it is hard to find chapter books for 8 or 9 year olds that feature young characters. So many of the "middle reader" books in the bookstores these days are either fantasy or feature children in their early adolescence. I want stories of children having good old-fashioned fun!

Happy Reading! I'm always looking for good books!

margaretha  – (June 8, 2008 at 5:09 PM)  

Your girls have just reached this wonderful age when you can get totally absorbed in a book. I miss it, as it doesn't very often when you get older.
I too, loved "Little Women" — but I liked "Eight Cousins" and "An Old-Fashioned Girl" by L. M. Alcott even better.
I also loved Wiggin's "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm" which also takes place in your part of the world. And so does Pollyanna.
Have you read M. E. Patchett's books about her childhood in Australia with her Dingo Ajax and many other animals? I don't know how many times I read them. And Edith Nesbit's books. Oh my, I better stop before the list gets longer!
Margaretha
P.S. Don't forget that Astrid Lindgren wrote many more books than Pippi!

Lisa Anne  – (June 8, 2008 at 5:19 PM)  

Amelia is an avid reader, I am probably one of the few mothers that nags "you read too much, go outside!"

I ordered the Famous Five series for a summer read from our library, Amelia devoured them all before our "official" summer break. She went through a Tamora Pierce phase this winter. Ms. Pierce came to a "comic" book store in Ithaca this winter for a signing. She has a series of graphic novels, but I do not think they are geared to young readers.

Amelia is enjoying the Redwall Series by Brian Jacques right now. She read Mossflower a couple years ago, but they seem more appropriate now, they have a medieval theme although all the characters are animals.

A book that has been following Amelia everywhere is "The Daring Book for Girls". It is surprisingly good and it has inspired Amelia to try many things on her own outside. This book also has a good reading list in it although we are not able to find many of the titles, luckily we have made good friends with our YA librarian. Happy Reading!

I just read "Crow Lake", which I thought was rather good.

I smiled at a lot of the books for Lou as they bring back fond memories of books we have read together. We don't read together as much any more, but we always delight when we do.

Lisa  – (June 8, 2008 at 5:58 PM)  

Thanks for that, some more to add to our list! We love Famous Five and are reading the copies that were mine!

Dawn  – (June 8, 2008 at 7:24 PM)  

I love so many of those books you mentioned. No Flying in the House was a real favorite of my daughter's. I would love to see Tasha Tudor's illustrations in Little Women. My daughter is starting on the Anne of Green Gables series this summer.

Tara  – (June 8, 2008 at 8:44 PM)  

We read Mrs. Piggle Wiggle together last year. I was afraid it would be too young for Tess but she really enjoyed it and usually had some sort of discussion about child-rearing or babysitting after every chapter. I miss the days of getting lost in a book. I'm hoping I can "schedule" a few long reading afternoons in over the summer. I just finished The Saffron Kitchen, which moved me to tears. Not a read for children by any means but a great book for adults.

Cadi  – (June 8, 2008 at 9:18 PM)  

Farmer Boy is still a favorite in our house. Noah also read The Hobbit this year. Heidi is one of my personal all-time favs. :-)

Maymomvt  – (June 9, 2008 at 5:38 AM)  

Margaretha--I loved Alcott's other books more than Little Women as well. Also loved Rebecca and Pollyanna. Hels loves Edith Nesbit's books, but Lou hasn't read them yet. Might add that to the list.

Lisa anne--Lou carries her Daring book everywhere. Hels has read a few Redwalls.

Dawn--good luck with Anne of Green Gables. I had to read it to Lou--the vocabularly was tricky.

Tara--I'm adding Saffron Kitchen to my list.

Jen  – (June 9, 2008 at 10:47 AM)  

Have you read "Baby Island" by Carol Ryrie Brink? I loved it as a girl, and now I've read it to my daughters. Two girls are shipwreaked on with four babies; a great adventure with good values. Another great summer book is "Mandy" by Julie Edwards. An orphan finds a hidden cottage and plants her own garden, so good.

Hmmm...I've been meaning to blog about my favorite children's books...need to get around to that soon.

Lisa  – (June 9, 2008 at 11:38 AM)  

What fantastic books.

I love the Ramona books when I was younger. Her spontaneity really appealed to me.

Sounds like summer is well underway for you. I hope you have settled into your rhythm now.

denise  – (June 9, 2008 at 12:06 PM)  

What a wonderful porch space! I would definitely move out there for the summer. Ahhh.

What a great list of books. I love summer reading. (And winter cozy reading. And rainy day reading. :))

Jessica  – (June 9, 2008 at 8:47 PM)  

It looks like you guys will be reading some wonderful books this summer! I feel like I've moved out onto my back porch as well. I loved reading Ramona when I was a girl..especially getting Ramona Quimby, Age 8 on my 8th birthday. I realized this year I never read any Little House books...and I have no idea why. So here I am in my twenties checking them out of the library and devouring them in a night.

Simmy –   – (June 10, 2008 at 6:41 AM)  

Amber loved the Betsy Tacy books and claims to have read some of them over ten times. Ditto Little Women and she liked Five Little Peppers too.

I'm collecting books to bring over for you in the summer although I'm mindful of the fact that we might not even get north of Darien, CT in which case I'll have to post them to you.

I'll email you as soon as we have an itiniery.

Lisa Anne  – (June 10, 2008 at 7:39 AM)  

Amelia and I were remembering some of our favorite summer readings and we remembered the book "Worry Week" It is great fun to read a loud and perfect summer reading!

Suzanne  – (June 10, 2008 at 9:14 AM)  

Thanks for some great suggestions! Your right it is a hard find for the 8-9 yo age. I was really appalled when I went to BN and saw the summer reading for schools. Trash or substandard writing in my opinion. A few good ones but not many, truly sad what passes for literature.

Kate The Great  – (June 10, 2008 at 1:28 PM)  

I will have to check out your recomendations, thanks... My daughter, 10, is doing a book club this summer and the first book is A Wrinkle in Time... I just love all the Madeline L'Engle books...

Tanya  – (June 10, 2008 at 6:18 PM)  

Nice Blog you have! I loved THE BORROWERS as a child. My 9 year old loves to read and my 16 month old already loves books too. We must be doing something right!

Tanya :)

Leah  – (June 11, 2008 at 5:51 PM)  

Great lists! Thanks for sharing. Looks like some of your readers have lots of favorites too. Good times all around.

Jennifer –   – (July 19, 2008 at 7:15 PM)  

Great list! I was just pondering whether to begin Little Women this fall. I had no idea Tasha Tudor illustrated an edition - what a treasure. We haven't read Anne of Green Gables yet. I think we must look for the same things in children's books. Thanks for posting your list.

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