Summer is the perfect opportunity to spend a few hours curled up with a good book (or books, as is the case here in my house, as all of us are usually immersed in two or three books at a time).  And if you’re anything like I am, you’re always looking for new suggestions.  So, over the next several weeks, I thought I’d share a few lists with you – what the kids are reading, their favorite books, what’s on my wish list for them.  Hopefully it’ll help you find some new books for your children, or remind you of an old forgotten favorite.  This week: What We Are Reading Right Now

 Jacob, 13 years old

  • The Book of General Ignorance  (John Mitchinson, John Lloyd) – Two hundred and eighty-eight pages of fact busting information – a perfect topic for teenagers.  One tidbit my son recently shared with me, “Bet you didn’t know that a chicken can actually survive up to 2 years without his head!”  He then went on to read the explanation (somehow the axe missed the jugular vein and there was enough brain stem left for the bird to survive!”  The sort of information I probably didn’t need to know, but my 13 year old loves to read about!
  • Chasers (James Phelan) – In my son’s words:  “Everyone is dead except for Jesse and his three friends – and a whole slew of Zombie-like predators who drink everything in sight, including solids, liquids and gases” Not exactly a synopsis that would enthrall me, but 13 year old boys are a whole other story.  He can’t wait to read the sequel.
  • Heat  (Mike Lupica) – A baseball story, and so much more: Michael Arroyo leads his team to the Little League Worlds Series, yet even in this triumphant time, must deal with being newly orphaned after his family escapes from Cuba and the possibility of being separated from his only surviving relative, his 17 year old brother.  I love the fact that he probably doesn’t even realize he’s learning a bit about another culture – as well as difficulties that kids his age face.

Sophie, 10 years old

  • Matilda (Ronald Dahl) – There’s the movie, and there’s the Broadway show – but even before that, there was the book. And as all Ronald Dahl books, this story of a talented, mysterious, likeable 5 ½ year old girl, is entertaining and funny – and will have you rooting for Matilda to conquer the evil no-gooders around her.  In my opinion, most books trump movies or shows any day.
  • The End of Infinity: A Jack Blank Adventure (Matt Myklusch) – This is actually Book Three of the series, which says it all: if you are still interested in reading by Book Three, it must be good.  In this book, Jack Blank is gearing up for his final battle, and will learn whether his destiny is as a hero or villain.  A page-turner.
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (Wilson Rawls) – A classic about the wonderful relationship between a young boy and his two coonhound dogs.  I found my daughter crying as she read the end; it’s a definite tearjerker, but one of those great books that is truly well-written, and can show kids that not all books need to have non-stop action to be enjoyable.

Carrie, 8 years old

  • Little House on the Prairie (Laura Ingalls Wilder) – What young girl hasn’t devoured the entire series and fallen in love with Laura, Mary, Baby Carrie, and Ma and Pa Ingalls as they begin their life anew on the Prairie.  This one is a read together book simply because I love it now as much as I did as a child!
  • The Night Fairy (Laura Amy Schlitz) – Fairies books are big-ticket items for little girls, and when Flory’s, a night fairy no bigger than an acorn, wings are accidently damaged, she must learn to survive without them.  The illustrations are equally as entrancing as the story.
  • Magic Tree House (Mary Pope Osborne) – These chapter books were the first my 8 year old was able to read solo – and she hasn’t stopped reading the books since.  There are over 50 books (and counting) – and they are a wonderful blend of adventure and education (without the kids really knowing they are learning!).  Each book takes Jack and Annie to another time or country where they need to solve a mystery.  There are also more in-depth resource books that cover a variety of the topics touched upon in the fictional stories.

Reviewed by Jenny Tananbaum