No, not that list of books your English teacher made you read on summer break and write a book report or take a test when you got back in the fall. These are lay in the hammock or on the beach and read because they’re fun books. There are so many wonderful books it’s hard to squeeze them in during the school year. Some are just begging to be read up in a maple tree, listening to the June bugs. Others are great books on tape to help speed the car trip during vacation or a trip to grandma’s house. Happy reading!
- Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright also the sequel Return to Gone-Away During summer vacation two cousins find an old lake turned swamp and the two old people who grew up there during their summer vacations. A really nice story with multiple generations, set in a time when kids could explore and adults would keep an eye on them and let them be kids. My kids loved these books and so did I.
- The Great Turkey Walk by Kathleen Karr We listened to this as a book on tape in the car and we all laughed out loud at the antics of this boy and the adventures he had, including finding and outsmarting his no-good father, as he walked 1000 turkeys 900 miles to make his fortune. It’s a story about outcasts–the boy who left school at 15 after completing the 3rd grade, a runaway slave and the town drunk–learning to work together and live life and take care of each other. I know that doesn’t sound very funny, but it’s both funny and sweet.
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George Talk about the great outdoors. I loved this book growing up and my kids were fascinated when my husband read it to them at bedtime last year. If you ever wanted to know how to live of the land, read about Sam
- Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome This is a series of books set in England in the 1920’s, when kids could be kids and life at least appeared to be safer. Four siblings spend a summer on an island within view of the lake shore and helpful adults, sailing and making friends with two “pirates”–sisters about their age. Talk about learning about sailing! I love that the children are both respectful to adults and have no entitlement mentality. They are kind and helpful to each other, working together in hard times, and take responsiblilty for their actions. These are fun books to read with your kids. I’d love to hear books on tape with English accents as I simply cannot imitate English accents. There is one thing you need to know. For some reason, Mr. Ransome named the second daughter “Titty” and no one that I can find has revised the books to change her unfortunate name. If you find a copy that has her name changed, please let me know. I feel comfortable reading these to my children right now as they are pretty young and don’t know any better yet. As they get older, I doubt I can continue reading these to them because of that, which is a shame because they are such good adventure books. There are 12 in the set and we’ve read the first four so far.
- The Ralph Mouse series by Beverly Cleary These are for younger children, but older children end up listening as well, because Ralph is such a funny little guy. This book combines all three of the Ralph books into one, where we meet Ralph in the inn, then he goes off on adventures to camp and in school. If you can find these on tape you can get to Grandma’s house with a minimum of fuss:)
- Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary Another one of my favorite series by Cleary, she totally “gets” boys and their dogs. Also a favorite in the car.
- Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry This was so good we sat in the parking lot listening to the end of a chapter before we got out on our vacation. Wild ponies, kids, the beach. What could be better?
- The Dangerous Book for Boys by Conn Iggulden My 9-year-old son got this for Christmas and was immediately intrigued by the title and that I would let him read something that might be dangerous:). It’s not dangerous at all, but a fun book that tells boys how to build forts, tie knots, make and fly paper airplanes and all sorts of other facts boys want to know and use. They have a companion book for girls, but I’ve never seen it.
These are just a few of our favorites. I’ve put them all on the shelf of my Amazon store if you want to look at them more closely. If you do click on the link and go through my “store” I do get a small percentage of the sales from Amazon, and I’ll use that to buy school books for my kids in the fall. Just thought I’d let you know:) I put all the books in the “Fun to Read Aloud Section” and moved it to the top of the list so they’ll be easy to find. Enjoy!