Notes from a Librarian: Summer Reading

Research has shown that kids that don’t read over the summer can lose as much as three months of reading progress they had gained during the school year. When that loss is compounded year after year, it can put kids who don’t read over the summer at a marked disadvantage. How do you get kids to read over the summer? When children like to read, simply going to library often and getting them a fresh supply of new titles is enough to keep them reading. Reluctant readers may need more encouragement. You can get involved with summer reading incentive programs at the library, or create your own program. Another strategy may be to require that a certain amount of reading be accomplished before computer or TV time. The most important thing is to match children up with books (or magazines) that really spark their interest. Here are some hot new titles to try this summer.

NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley.
Jack is one of the most popular kids at school, until he gets orthodontia. Then suddenly he finds himself outcast and part of the social group he had always persecuted. He soon realizes that there is more to the school nerds than he ever imagined. They are really international spies with James Bond like skills and gadgets who are on a mission to save the world from an evil mastermind. (Grades 3-6)

Thirteenth Child by Patricia Wrede
Here is a new book from one of my favorite children’s fantasy authors. The fantasy world in this book is based on 1850’s America but it is an alternate reality where magic is a normal part of life. Eff lives on the frontier with her very large family. Her twin in a seventh son of a seventh son, and so has amazing magical powers. Eff, as the 13th child, fears that she will someday go bad and bring ruin on her family. (Grades 5-8)

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
This is the Newbery award winner from this year. It is a tightly woven mystery that delves into the realm of science fiction. It is also about the complicated relationships between the 12 year old Miranda, her friends, her mother, and a homeless man who hangs out in front of her New York apartment. (Grades 6-8)

The Roar by Emma Clayton
Mika lives in a dark and damp slum of London. Most of the world has been destroyed by a terrible animal plague 30 years previously so now all the earth’s population has to crowd into a few densely populated cities. Mika’s twin disappeared more than a year before the story starts, but Mika believes she is still alive and will do anything to find her. This is an intense science fiction mystery with an environmental message for teens. (Grades 7-10)

Forbidden Sea by Sheila Nielson
This one was written by my dear friend, and fellow Provo City librarian. It will be published by Scholastic in July, but I have already read it and I think it will do very well. It is about a girl who lives in 18th century England on a small island. Her family is having difficult times, and Adrianne works hard to hold everything together. When her sister is almost stolen by a mermaid, Adrianne knows that it is up to her to keep her sister safe. We will be having a release party for Sheila at the Provo Library on July 12th. It is open to the public and it is your chance to hear how the story came about and to get a signed copy. (Grades 7-10)

Webmaster Note: This site has received permission to reprint a series of articles written by Donna Cardon, a Children's Librarian at Provo City Library, and a well known Children's Book Reviewer. Check back to this site for future articles.