Summer is almost here! We’re looking forward to sunny trips to the beach, tall glasses of homemade iced tea, and chasing fireflies at dusk. We’re also looking forward to spreading a blanket in the cool shade of the backyard and reading a stack of good books. This year, we’ve chosen five novels to read aloud together. It’s a little ambitious but worth a shot. We’ve heard great things about these books, and we can’t wait to get lost in them.
Here’s our summer book bucket list:
1. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy
By Jeanne Birdsall / Yearling
The four Penderwick sisters and their parents spend the summer at a rental cottage on the sprawling grounds of Arundel estate. There, they make friends with Jeffrey, the owner’s son, and enjoy a summer filled with mishaps and adventures. Winner of the 2005 U.S. National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.
By Beverly Cleary / HarperCollins
Fed up with his timid mother and uncle and his squirmy little cousins, Ralph hops onto his toy motorcycle and zooms down the road to summer camp. It turns out camp is not all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fun. A strict watchdog, a mouse-hungry cat, and a troubled boy named Garf lead Ralph on some fur-raising escapades. Perhaps home isn’t such a bad place to be, if only Ralph can find a way to get there again.
By Elizabeth Enright / Square Fish
When Garnet Linden finds a silver thimble in a dried-up riverbed, she seemingly sets off a string of good-luck incidents: the rains end the drought, an orphan becomes a new member of their family, her pig wins a blue ribbon. Nearly every day brings some new joy, creating her “thimble summer” of happiness. Newberry winner.
4. Betsy and Tacy Go Over the Big Hill, A Betsy-Tacy Book, Volume 3
By Maud Hart Lovelace & Judy Blume / HarperCollins
Betsy, Tacy, and Tib can’t wait to be ten. After all, getting two numbers in your age is the beginning of growing up–exciting things are about to happen. And they do! The girls fall in love with the King of Spain, perform in the school entertainment, and for the first time, go all the way over the Big Hill to Little Syria by themselves. There Betsy, Tacy and Tib make new friends and learn a thing or two. They learn that new Americans are the best Americans. And they learn that they themselves wouldn’t want to be anything else.
Ever since their first publication in the 1940s, the Betsy-Tacy stories have been loved by each generation of young readers. Recommended for ages 8 and up.
By Meindert DeJong / HarperCollins
This is the sweet story of a little red hen and her friend and protector, a homeless black dog. Like all of Meindert DeJong’s books, it’s lovely. This was a Newberry Medal Honour book in 1959.
6. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters
By Lenore Look / Schwartz & Wade Books
(I know I said five books, but there is actually six. Based on the title, this one sounds like it might be twaddle, but I think my girls might enjoy it.)
Alvin Ho, a Chinese-American second grader, is afraid of everything. When his father, inspired by Henry David Thoreau, decides to take him camping, Alvin must learn to overcome his fears. This book is second in the Alvin Ho series.
What are you reading this summer? I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comment section below.
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