Summer months are for outdoor adventure, water play and family fun – but hopefully you’re squeezing in a few moments a day to read!  Last week, I offered a list of books my three children are reading right now, hoping to spark a few new ideas (or remind you of a couple of old classics).  This week I asked my kids to give me their short list of all-time favorites.  Some of them may be on your child’s top ten list – but hopefully there are at least one or two new titles to get you inspired!  Happy reading!

Jacob, 13 –

  1. The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins, Scholastic) – By now, I’m sure you’ve heard of the Hunger Games Trilogy – and although it’s officially a young adult novel, I, like many other adults, devoured the series, and nearly entered my own Hunger Game battle with my son when the third book came out.   Each book follows Katniss Everdeen as she battles her way through a survivor sort of 'game' in a post-apocalyptic America.  It is a true page-turner.
  2. Percy Jackson Books  (Rick Riordan, Puffin)  - A series that begins with The Lightening Thief, where our hero, Percy Jackson, learns he is a demigod and must battle mythological monsters.  There are five books in the series, and all are equally exciting and engaging.
  3. Warrior Cat Series  (Erin Hunter, HarperCollins) – Most 13 year old boys enjoy a good battle – and my son is no different - and this series (which is really four series in all and totals more than 3 dozen books, written by three different authors known collectively as Erin Hunter) offers battles and wars – fought by cats.  The talking animals are divided into clans and good must fight evil. 
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Jeff Kinney, Amulet Books) – Originally published online at, the diary entry book follows Greg Heffley as he begins middle school – and humorously chronicles the ups and downs of his life. 

Sophie, 10

  1. The Last Hope  (Erin Hunter, HarperCollins) – Another Warrior Cat book.  My son’s obsession of these cat books quickly snagged my middle – and she ran through this series barely putting her book down to eat or sleep.  I'm not sure why she chose this particular as her favorite – but I think it’s safe to say the Warrior Cats is a huge hit in the 10-13 crowd.
  2. The End of Infinity: A Jack Blank Adventure (Matt Myklusch, Aladdin) – This book was actually on her ‘Reading Now’ list last week – but it obviously made a big impression.  It is Book Three of the series - here, Jack Blank is gearing up for his final battle, and will learn whether his destiny is as a hero or villain. 
  3. Day of Doom: A 39 Clues Books (David Baldacci, Scholastic) – Another series, this time the 39 Clues Books, written by a handful of successful writers including Rick Riordan, is actually two series (and growing). It starts with the Clue Hunt books then moves onto the Cahill vs. Vespers and follows Dan and Amy as they race around the world searching for 39 clues that will help them find out what really happened to their parents.
  4. Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls, Random House Children’s Books) – Another book that was on her reading now list last week, but obviously also really impressed her. And it’s a good one, a real classic, about the relationship between a boy and his dogs.  There’s a lot less action in this book than in the other battling ones she listed, but equally as good.
  5. Sign of the Beaver (Elizabeth George Speare, Dell) – This is one I actually hadn’t heard of – but was excited to see she had read it (in school, I believe).  It tells the story of 12 year of Matt, who must survive on his own in the Maine Wilderness in the 18th century as his father heads south to bring back the rest of his family to the new homestead they have built.  Alone, Matt learns about himself and the Native American culture as he builds a friendship with a Native American chief and his grandson.

Carrie, 8

  1. Knuffle Bunny (Mo Willems, Disney-Hyperion) – Mo Willems is a well-known children picture book author (Don’t let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, among others), all of which my daughter loves – but this one (and the subsequent two sequels) is her favorite.  The drawings and language are simple, but heartwarmingly funny as we watch Trixie, her dad and her beloved friend, Knuffle Bunny on an outing – only to read she has left him behind at the Laundromat.  No one does it better than Mo Willems!
  2. Geronimo Stilton (Geronimo Stilton, Scholastic) – Editor and newspaper writer, Geronimo Stilton is a talking mouse living in New Mouse City on Mouse Island and is constantly off on another great adventures.  True, some people will say the plots are, well, cheesy, and the writing is equally as stinky – but in my opinion, even with the animated typeface (words are often different sizes and colors and emphasis the plot) and the simple story line, these books are winners.  They engage young readers and are perfect for kids just getting into chapter books.  There are dozens and dozens of books in this series.
  3. Thanksgiving on Thursday: Magic Tree House (Mary Pope Osbourne, Random House Children’s Books) – Jack and Annie are off on another adventure, this time back to the first Thanksgiving.  As with all the Magic Tree House books (and there are a ton!) this is both fun and educational, introducing young readers to a bit of history, scientific facts and adventure.

Reviewed by Jenny Tananbaum