Friday, May 1, 2015

what i'm reading: summer reading lists for the whole family



Even though it isn't actually summer break yet, yesterday I took the kids to the library for the books we will use to kick off our summer break next week.

We checked out about fifty books, everything from new novels to classic Newberry winners, books about China and Paris, picture books, and even some graphic novels. I let them pick whatever they want (although I do check for inappropriate content by looking up unfamiliar novels on commonsensemedia.org). I also hunt down recommended books and beloved books I want to share with them. I keep my phone handy and scour book lists for their age groups.

Then I scoot out of the children's area and go in search of fiction for myself.  I am always reading several classic novels and non-fiction books at home- Bronte, Austen, Fitzgerald, as well as books about church, God, psychology, travel, etc. But the library is the best place to grab fiction that I will only want to read once.

When we leave the library, we are weighed down with several bags full of books. By the time we get home, the delicious sound of silence has wrapped around us all, and each of us has entered new worlds inside the pages we hold in our hands.

This is a slice of heaven on earth.

Libraries are so important. Reading is vital to the growth of our character, our souls, and our ability to live well. If you don't believe me, or want to know why books are vital, this article in The Guardian eloquently expresses all the reasons why we need to be readers, raise readers, and make literature a priority.

All four of our children love to read. The keys to doing this have been fairly simple: there are books everywhere in our house, we consistently read a book aloud as a family, Mr. Fantastic and I read in front of them, they bring books with them to boring places where they will have to sit quietly and wait, and we have limited their media usage.

Reading is addictive in all the best ways. If someone tells me they don't like to read, I know it's just because they haven't had the right book put in their hands yet. I believe in the joy of books like I believe in the joy of a beautiful sunset: it's always there waiting, you just need to give it proper attention.

That said, here is a list of some of our favorite books for summer reading lists. Feel free to take it with you to the library and fill up your own book bags. I hope you have a summer full of reading!

Picture Books:
Tacky the Penguin Helen Lester
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
The Day the Crayons Quit by Mo Willems
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
Timothy and the Strong Pajamas by Viviane Schwarz
Tallulah's Tutu by Marilyn Singer
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Leonardo the Terrible Monster by Mo Willems
The Book with No Pictures by BJ Novack
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh

Early Readers:
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Mr. Putter and Tabby by Cynthia Rylant
Fancy Nancy by Jane OConnor
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
Elephant and Piggy by Mo Willems

Read Alouds:
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
All of A Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
The Giver by Lowis Lowry
The Willoughbys by Lowis Lowry
Cheaper By the Dozen by Frank B Gilbreth
The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgsen Burnett

Younger Fiction:
Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
All of A Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
Hank the Cowdog by John R Erickson
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon  by Grace Lin

Older Fiction:
The Ruby Redfort Series by Lauren Child
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Dragon Keepers Chronicles by Donita K Paul
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
Johnny Tremain by Esther Hoskins Forbes
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Bud, Not Buddy by Christpher Paul Curtis
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery

Adult Non-Fiction:
Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist
A Million Little Ways by Emily P Freeman
The Angry Book by Theodore I Rubin
In Season by Wayne Jacobsen
One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
Switch on Your Brain by Caroline Leaf
Stuff Parisians Like by Olivier Magny
Problems, God's Presence, and Prayer by Michael Wells
The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
Savor by Shauna Niequist
For the Love by Jen Hatmaker
The Four Loves by CS Lewis
Love Does by Bob Goff

Adult Memoir:
A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle
Wild Swans by Jung Chang
Call The Midwife by Jennifer Worth
Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker

Adult Fiction:
What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
The Telling of the Bees by Peggy Hesketh
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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