For the past few years as a library educator, I have concentrated on developing courses that prepare teachers to take on roles for leading a school library in contemporary educational communities. I have enjoyed this challenge tremendously, and I have been immersed in professional reading and research to guide the framework for knowledge and best practices for successful implementation of school library programs. As we all know, the dynamics of the profession change constantly, and courses need to be revised yearly. New publications and concepts have to be explored to keep current with the shifting sands in education and library service, and that is very time consuming. There is nothing static about our world! Exciting times, but I have to make sure that I take time to go back to the reading roots that brought me to this field.
One of the things I miss most in my present position is the opportunity to connect with kids about their reading tastes and interests on a daily basis in the school library. There are so many wonderful new titles and formats for enjoying adventures in reading, that I can’t stay ahead of the curve. Therefore, I have to access my built in sounding boards, and summer is a great time to have conversations about what my experts are reading. I have six grandchildren who range in ages 7-18, and they have divergent reading tastes and recommendations for my “to read” list. It’s great to listen to their reasons why I should choose to read books that interest them, and I head to the public library to eagerly follow their ideas, so that we can continue the conversations. It is also fun when they have discovered some of the classics in children’s literature, and they are all Harry Potter fans. I am amazed how easily they shift between between print, audio, and digital formats. Listening to a story, or reading an ebook adds another dimension to comprehension. Times sure have changed since I was a kid!
There is always lots to chat about on long car rides and leisurely times at the beach as summer drifts along. I appreciate their perceptions, their wisdom, and their company.
So here are a few recommended titles on my summer reading list this year:
- From a seven year old:
“I like stories that make me laugh and are funny. I also like exciting adventures with interesting characters.”
Ping Pong Pig by Caroline Jayne Church (Holiday House, 2008)
Henry and Mudge series by Cynthia Rylant (Simon spotlight, 1996)
Lightning Thief series by Rick Riordan (in print, digital, and audio editions) (Disney Hyperion, 2005)
Wonder by R.J. Palacio (Knopf, 2012)
- From ten year olds:
“We love mysteries, fantasy and sci-fi, too. We like it when characters are believable, but have incredible experiences and challenges. Anything that’s funny is also great.”
Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart (Little, Brown, 2008)
Seven Wonders series by Peter Lerangis (HarperCollins, 2013)
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Athenum, 1970)
Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Puffin, 2004)
The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger (Harry N. Abrams, 2010)
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (HarperCollins, 2012)
Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson (Disney Hyperion, 2009)
- From a twelve year old:
“I enjoy dystopian fiction, and fantasy, especially when characters are well developed.”
Keeper of the Lost Cities series by Shannon Messenger (2013)
Cinder: Book One of the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (Square Fish, 2013)
Maze Runner series by James Dashner (Delacorte, 2010)
Unwanteds series by Lisa McMann (Aladdin, 2011)
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Brabenstein (n.b. fun, even though the characters are one dimensional-maybe more suitable for younger kids) (Random, 2013)
- From a high schooler (who rereads the Harry Potter series in a marathon each summer):
“During the school year, there is not much time for leisure reading. So summer is my time to find some new sci fi and fantasy-escape literature. Take me to another world!”
Pathfinder series by Orson Scott Card (Simon Pulse, 2010)
Divergent series by Veronica Roth (Katerine Tegan Books, Reprint, 2014))
Legend series by Marie Lu (Speak, Reprint, 2013)
What’s on your list?
Image: Microsoft Clipart