Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summer Reading List -- Attempt #1

You know how those things you NEED to do often get pushed to the side? Well, a suggested summer reading list is one of those things that I have been meaning to do, but I just can't seem to get done.

For one thing, it's always hard to narrow down a list of books. Writers are coming out with so many great things!

So for today, I am going to list books that I have enjoyed and found connect with kids.

A word of caution: I like books that have depth. Characters who struggle. Situations that often take readers to uncomfortable places. 

Here's why: Life isn't easy.


We spend so much time trying to control our world, make everything fun, pleasurable...easy. Our kids are growing up with so much "fixable" life that they aren't prepared for the inevitable (and might I add the beautiful) part of our world: struggle and pain. I have said this before: books are a SAFE place for them to go. These encounters will offer them a multifaceted experience. I believe it's way better than the "everything comes together in 30 minutes" sitcoms they are watching on TV, not to mention the things they see on the news! They can travel a journey with a character, and learn how that particular human being (or animal in some cases) uses internal and external resources to be resilient, to fail, to grapple, to persevere. 

I loved the movie, "Inside Out." Spoiler alert!

The emotion, Joy, learns that Sadness is a necessity and actually makes room for her. In fact, allowing sadness to exist deepens the person who the main character becomes and creates facets of her that she would never have otherwise developed had struggle/challenge not come up. She would have remained "happy," but undeveloped and childlike.

If we just keep giving kids "happy books," they won't have the richness, and I believe, what draws them to reading: something that makes them think and FEEL.

Back to the list. These may make kids, and you, uncomfortable. Walk through them with the character, knowing that this isn't YOUR reality, but gives you opportunity to have empathy and awareness.

I am not advocating for you to hand your kids books that you think content is inappropriate for know best. Just don't be afraid if their character and things they encounter make them cry, or angry, or spur them on to think. That's investing in their books. They are connecting -- and that's what is going to keep them reading.

A few to start:

The Art of Racing in the Rain - Stein
Saving Lucas Biggs - de los Santos
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave - Boyne
The Boy in the Striped Pajamas - Boyne
Reign Rain - Martin
A Crooked Kind of Perfect - Urban
Quinny and Hopper - Schanen
When My Name was Keoko - Park
A Long Walk to Water - Park
Mockingbird - Erskine
Mick Harte was Here - Park
Edward's Eyes - MacLaughlin
Stella By Starlight - Draper
Out of My Mind - Draper
Waiting for the Magic - MacLauglin
Love that Dog - Creech
Out of the Dust - Hesse
Nightingale's Nest - Loftin
Wish Girl - Loftin
Glory Be - Scattergood
Black Radishes - Meyer
A Girl Named Eva - Wolf
Sylvia and Aki
Firegirl  - Abbott
Endangered - Schnefer
How to Steal a Dog - Martin
The One and Only Ivan - Applegate
A Thousand Never- Evers - Shana Burg


That's just a start...

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