Vacation reading is often considered a respite from required texts for teaching, staff development, or advanced degree study. Many books commonly recommended for young readers are in fact delightful diversions for adults.
Here's a sample of a few recent and newly reissued books that I recommend for summer reading.
For Young Children
Covey, Sean. (2008). The 7 Habits of Happy Kids. New York: Simon and Schuster. Covey adapts the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People developed by his father Stephen to a series of children's stories that are excellent for group work with a wide range of readers.
Cowen-Fletcher, Jane. (2010). Hello, Puppy! Cambridge, MA: Candlewick. The ultimate book of puppy love. The joyful mood and lovable pastel illustrations of a youngster and pup create a happy learning experience for young readers—and puppy lovers.
MacLachlan, Patricia. (2010). Word After Word After Word. New York: Harper. This new novel from the beloved author of Sarah, Plain and Tall encourages readers to discover their voice as writers and find ways to express their hopes and fears to those they love.
Staake, Bob. (2010). The First Pup: The Real Story of How Bo Got to the White House. New York: Feiwel. The fulfilled promise to the daughters of the First Family brought Bo from a Texas farm to the White House. Timely and delightful!
For Middle Grades and Young Adults
Bodeen, S. A. (2010). The Gardener. New York: Feiwel. A boy longs to see the father he only knows through a voice on a DVD reading a children's book. The author of this gruesome tale of laboratory experiments on teenagers is acknowledged as a master of teen suspense.
Coy, John. (2010). Eyes on the Goal. New York: Feiwel. Eyes on the Goal depicts the friendship of four boys at soccer camp during the summer before 8th grade. An easy, fast-moving read and a good choice for reluctant readers and boys going into middle school.
Mazer, Anne, & Potter, Ellen. (2010). Spilling Ink: A Young Writers Handbook. New York: Roaring Brook Press. With humor and succinct direction, the writers have created a delightful and readable text. Spilling Ink is useful for writers, would-be writers, teachers, and school librarians looking for great additions to their collection.
Silverstein, Shel (2009). A Light in the Attic, Special Edition. New York: Harper. This new celebration edition includes several never-before-published poems. The humorous poems and drawings in this collection are a treat for all ages.
Don't forget about the classics that you can find at your local library. Beloved series such as the Maisy books by Lucy Cousins and the Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain still have appeal for readers of picture books, and the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books remain popular with readers of chapter books. The lists below feature books old and new that kids, educators, librarians, critics, and others have recommended.
Lenore Sandel is professor emerita in the Department of Literacy Studies in the School of Education and Allied Human Services at Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, and the editor of Teaching with Care: Cultivating Personal Qualities That Make a Difference (International Reading Association, 2006). She founded ASCD's Language, Literacy, and Literature Professional Interest Community.
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