Reading and summer just seem to go together. Reading makes car and plane rides speed by. Even if you aren’t traveling far from home this summer, a book can take you anywhere you want to go—around the world, to other planets, or back in time.
But summer can mean a slide in reading fluency for some kids. Children who don’t read over the summer can lose ground in school the following fall. But don’t despair. Summer reading can and should be fun. And reading doesn’t have to mean chapter books. There’s nothing like a good giggle from a comic strip or fabulous illustrations in a picture book to tempt even the most reluctant readers, especially when there’s no added pressure from school book reports. There’s no such thing as bad reading—cookbooks, the back of cereal boxes, graphic novels, magazines, collectable game cards—it’s all reading.
Of course, we’re partial to animals, so are a few of our favorite kid-friendly summer reads.
Katherine Applegate, author of the 2013 Newbery Award-winning The One and Only Ivan, visited our local library two weeks ago. She talked about her writing process and why she chose to leave lots of white space (on purpose) on the pages of this book. The real Ivan lived the last years of his life at Zoo Atlanta (where Susan will be signing books on July 27!). Here’s the (entire) first chapter: “Hello. I am Ivan. I am a gorilla. It’s not as easy as it looks.” We can practically guarantee that your young reader will be hooked.
If you’re just into picture this summer, check out Andrew Zuckerman’s fantastic animal photographs in Creature. Love these images.
Some kids just don’t like fiction. In fact, we both have boys who are nonfiction fans. They gather facts for fun. If you one of those in your house who wants even more interesting animal facts than can be found in the Animal Store Alphabet Book, don’t miss Sisters and Brothers: Sibling Relationships in the Animal World written by Robin Page (perfect name for an animal writer!) and illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Lots of great information here, and fun trivia to share, like giant anteaters are always only children and .
Finally, Robert McCloskey’s classic Blueberries for Sal is one of our favorite summer books ever — a little girl and a little bear both hunt for blueberries. Still delicious after all these years.
What are you reading this summer? Kid and adult suggestions welcome!