Books We Enjoyed This Summer

I have read quite a bit this summer and will share my favorites in a couple posts, along with age groups they are intended for. Picture books and easier chapter books in this first post.


So, I am a little behind on this one, but maybe others are too. I like Jan Brett a lot–Gingerbread Baby, The Mitten, The Three Snow Bears, Annie and the Wild Animals, many others–all cute. But when I met Cinders, I was completely and totally charmed. If I was crazy and kept chickens in my backyard like some of my friends, I would be even more crazy over this one than I am. Seriously, y’all. Cinderella with chicken characters. Enough said. My new favorite Jan Brett book.

With a 4 year old daughter, I’m always looking for some good girl books that don’t totally revolve around princesses–nothing wrong with those, but we need variety around here. We love Crafty Chloe by Kelly DiPucchio. Chloe loves to create–sew, craft, paint, draw. The second one, Dress-Up Mess-Up, is actually my favorite. Chloe has two good friends, and each wants her to match their costume for Halloween. Obviously Chloe can’t be two different things–or can she?

Two series have kept my 8-year old son reading and listening this summer. One, I mentioned in theĀ last post here, but I didn’t go into detail. It was The 39 Clues series, by various popular kids’ books authors, including Rick Riordan, Gordon Korman, Linda Sue Park, and Peter Lerangis. I read this series several years ago, but it’s still a good one.

39 clues multiple
The audio versions of these are read very well by David Pittu, but you can of course get the actual book version

Amy and Dan Cahill find out that they are a part of a very “special” family–one that has been apparently responsible for important inventions, wars, discoveries, etc. It’s an “Illuminati” type of idea. The kids (Amy and Dan) go on a hunt for the 39 clues that will supposedly lead to a big discovery that was for some reason covered up long ago; unfortunately they’re in a race for the clues with their ruthless extended family members. They travel the world and dodge all sorts of danger. For kids that really enjoy the series, it’s good to know that there are “spin-off” series from this one. In fact, it’s good to be aware of the spin-offs if you’re hunting down a particular number in the series for your kid, so that you don’t accidentally get the wrong series–they all look the same. One of the other series is called 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers series; and the other I know of is 39 Clues: Doublecross series. The target age here is about 8-12, for all the series.

The second series that has kept Seth reading has been Unofficial Minecraft Adventures by Winter Morgan. This is another that has multiple series that vary slightly from each other. Really, the point I want to make with these books is that getting your child into a reading cycle (where they read more and improve at it in a constant cycle) is about capitalizing on interest. What is your child “in to”? What will they read about willingly, if you put the books in front of them? For my child (for better or worse!), it’s Minecraft. He has read the Minecraft Handbooks (nonfiction) over and over and over, so it was just a small jump to these adventure stories.

Series 1, Book 1

Seth and I just finished an oldie-but-goody read-aloud, Judy Blume’s classicĀ Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. If it’s been awhile since you read it, I encourage you to revisit it with your kiddos, about age 8 and up.

On my next post, I will detail some of my favorite middle grade and young adult reads from this summer/spring. Can’t wait to share those with you! In the meantime, read on!




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