Summer Reading: 52 Picks for the Hols

I used to love to read the British slang in books by C.S. Lewis, E. Nesbit, P.G. Wodehouse, and others. It took me a long time to figure out that those kids weren’t carrying actual torches in their pockets (how?), but rather normal old flashlights. And “hols” were holidays, any break from school.

Some of the books on the following list are old, some are new. Some I’ve read and loved, and others I plan to enjoy this summer. So, whether you’re taking a break from school for next few months/weeks or just easing into a different routine for the summer, here are some summer-y suggestions for your reading pleasure:

Picture Books: (Preschool/Kindergarten)
1. Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey.
2. The Storm Book by Charlotte Zolotow. About a summer thunderstorm.
3. Roxaboxen by Alice McLarren. A group of children in Arizona or New Mexico, somewhere dry and desert-y, make a play town out of old woden crates, rocks, cacti and desert glass. The illustrations are by Barbara Cooney. This book reminds me of the story Engineer Husband tells of making “towns” in the dirt in his backyard and then flooding them with the garden hose. Except I don’t think Roxaboxen ever suffered any floods.
4. Nothing To Do by Russell Hoban. I love this book. Unfortunately, it’s out of print. Walter Possum, a Frances-like character but related only by author, is bored and can find nothing to do. When he complains his father gives him a “magic stone” that will give him ideas if he will only rub it and think really hard and wait for the ideas to come. This one is just as good as the Frances books, and I wish I owned a copy.
5. Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion. Harry, a white dog with black spots, tries to find a way to cool off at the seashore.
6. Cranberry Summer by Wende Devlin.
7. Hot Air Henry by Mary Calhoun. Henry the cat takes an accidental trip in a hot air balloon.
8. The Summer Noisy Book by Margaret Wise Brown.
9. On A Summer Day by Lois Lenski. Out of print and hard to find. Try your library. Isn’t the cover delightful?
10. A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle.

Younger Readers: (Ages 5-9)
11. Because of Winn-DIxie by Kate DiCamillo.
12. Betsy’s Busy Summer by Carolyn Haywood. Ms. Haywood’s books are delightfully old-fashioned and fairly easy to read. I may read this one with Z-baby.
13. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White.
14. All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor.
15. Many Moons by James Thurber. THere’s a newer version of this classic about a princess who wanted the moon with illustrator Marc Simont. It’s OK, but I like Slobodkin’s watercolors.
16. Moxy Maxwell Does NOT Love Stuart Little by Peggy GIfford.
17. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters by Lenore Look.
18. Henry and Mudge in the Green Time by Cynthia Rylant. (very easy)
19. Summersaults by Douglas Florian. Kid poetry for summer.
20. The Littles and the Big Storm by John Peterson.

Middle Grade Readers: (Ages 9-13)
21. Any Which Wall by Laurel Snyder. Four children find a wall that can transport them through time and space. Semicolon review here.
22. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall.
23. The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis. The Dawn Treader movie is supposed to come out in December, so this summer would be a good time to read the book if you haven’t already done so. It has one of the best opening lines in literature, and Eustace’s redemption is a beautiful story. “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.”
24. Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson. A great old-fashioned book about a boy who spends the summer in a small town with his uncle and aunt. Exciting things happen whenever Henry is around!
25. SIx Innings by James Preller. Baseball and summer just go together. Semicolon review here.
26. Leepike RIdge by N.D. Wilson. Semicolon review here.
27. The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mich Cochrane. Semicolon review here.
28. Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff.
29. Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright. It doesn’t take place in the summer, but I thought it did. It would make a great summer adventure.
30. Galveston’s Summer of the Storm by Julie Lake. Very lazy Texas summer with Texas foods and hot weather and front porches and grandmother’s house. Then disaster!

Young Adult:
31. The Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork. Brought to my attention by Mitali at Mitali’s Fire Escape. Semicolon review here.
32. A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle. One of my favorites. I think it’s time for a re-read.
33. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene. A 12 year old Jewish girl from Arkansas meets a German prisoner of war and helps him to escape. As her family life deteriorates, her emotional involvement with her German friend grows.
34. Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins. Semicolon review here.
35. Heist Society by Ally Carter. I haven’t read this one yet, but I want to.
36. They Never Came Back by Caroline B. Cooney. Another one the I want to read. Here’s Jen’s review.
37. The Chosen by Chaim Potok.
38. Watership Down by Richard Adams. Hey, LOST (TV) isn’t really over, is it, until we’ve read all the books that LOST references? Watership Down was one of Sawyer’s reads, and even Boone said that he’d read it in AUstralia. If you haven’t, you should. It’s about bunny rabbits.
39. Ask Me Anything by J. Budziszewski. Professor Theophilus gives provocative answers to college students’ questions. The book is written by a professor of government and philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin.
40. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. The final book in the Hunger Games trilogy will be out AUgust 24th. Still summer, but barely.

Adult Fiction and Nonfiction
41. The Summer of the Great-Grandmother by Madeleine L’Engle.
42. Bring Me a Unicorn: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1922-1928. Before she was married to famous aviator Charles Lindbergh, Anne Morrow, daughter of the American ambassador to Mexico, kept a journal and wrote a plethora of letters. This book is the first of five volumes of collected letters and journal entries of Anne Morrow soon-to-be Lindbergh. The others are called: Hour of Gold Hour of Lead, Locked Rooms Open Doors, The Flower and the Nettle, and War Within and Without.
43. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser. It’s been a long time since I read this classic, but I remember it as a very summery book. Sad and summery.
44. Miracle in Philadelphia by Caroline Drinker Bowen. Read about that hot summer in Philadelphia 1787, and and celebrate the miracle that is the U.S. Constitution.
45. Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe. June selection for the Semicolon Book Club.
46. Mrs. Buncle’s Book by D.E. Stevenson. July selection for Semicolon Book Club. I just read my first book by D.E. Stevenson, and I’m looking forward to another.
47. 1776 by David McCullough. Another summertime American history book.
48. Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. Just read it. It’s wonderful.
49. Walk Across America by Peter Jenkins. Every summer should include travel and adventure.
50. The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott by Kelly O’Connor McNees. Reviewed by Florinda at the 3 R’s.
51. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. Everyone recommends this one. This summer I’m going to read it.

52. Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. I guess this one is really a YA fiction title, but I ran out of room on that list, and it’s just as good for adults. Marcelo’s summer job at his father law office teaches him about the real world, but his co-workers learn a few things, too, from the wonderfully honest and autistic Marcelo. Semicolon review here.

I case that’s not enough, here a few more lists:

Death in Summer: Mysteries for Hot Days
Summer Reading: 2006

This post is linked to Armchair BEA because these are the books I’d be talking about, and in some cases looking for, if I were there. Come back tomorrow for an interview with a very special and stunningly beautiful blogger and Armchair BEA participant. And Thursday I’ll give you a list of all the books I’d like to snag see if I were at BookExpo America this week. Those of you who are ther: enjoy!

14 thoughts on “Summer Reading: 52 Picks for the Hols

  1. That’s quite a list! Many on it I wouldn’t mind reading, too.

  2. Great kids lit picks! Some of them I’ve read, some of them I need to read. Spiderweb for Two looks especially good! Children’s literature is my passion – I have four small children and taught elementary school! I hope you’ll check out my blog on children’s literature! Your blog looks awesome…so glad I found it.

  3. Wow, what a list. Many I haven’t read, too. Thanks for the suggestions!

  4. An American Tragedy is one of my favorite books.

    I also still get a kick out of reading UK books with their slang. Recently, I read Elizabeth George’s new book and had to ask a friend what in the heck a jacket potato was. (basically a baked potato)

  5. Where do I begin? Wow.

    Thanks for reminding me about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I think it’s time I pulled out the whole set and reread them. It’s been many a year and unlike Lord of the Rings, I think I only read the Narnia series once.

    I also enjoyed The Chosen and 1776, to name just a couple off your list, which is, well…overwhelming…again, wow. 🙂

  6. Roxaboxen is set in Yuma, Arizona, where I grew up and also made houses in old sand lots.

    Great list!

  7. Great list, Sherry! I see quite a few titles on there I’ve yet to read to my girls, and even more I’ve never read myself (for the older crowd).

    Where I live, August is MOST DEFINITELY STILL SUMMER. Whew! 😉

  8. Such a great list. I see some favorites (I LOVE Many Moons) and a lot that I’ve never read.

  9. Tif

    What a great list!!! There are many here that I have not read or even heard of! Note to self: bookmark this page to refer to all summer long!! 🙂

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