Just because school is out doesn’t mean Junior has to stop learning. You can boost Junior’s learning outside of the classroom by keeping him reading throughout these dog days of summer. The key is to make reading fun. In addition to letting him pick out his own books and/or magazines to create his personalized summer library, encourage reading by leaving him notes, posting daily chores on the refrigerator, or sending him a joke in a text message. Playing Scrabble is another great way to encourage reading while building his vocabulary and spelling skills. Simple activities like these will not only make reading fun, Junior won’t even realize he’s learning.
AGES 5-7 YEARS
Annie and Simon: The Sneeze and Other Stories by Catharine O’Neill (Candlewick Press, 2013), $16.99. Annie and Simon aren’t only big brother and little sister, they are good friends. Simon is always around to help Annie reach for gummy bears, find a special blanket, or help gather horse chestnuts. Annie thinks Simon can do just about anything, except perhaps, recognize what living things she’s always drawing. A vividly illustrated story that shows young readers they can be buddies and siblings at the same time.
AGES 3 MONTHS-18 YEARS
Where’s Waldo: The Totally Essential Travel Collection by Martin Handford (Candlewick Press, 2013), $14.99. Travel back in time, cruise through an amusement part, and watch for book characters who’ve stepped out of the pages in this collection of all seven Where’s Waldo books. Waldo’s adventures are sure to keep young readers engaged and busy as the family sets out on summer adventure trips of their own.
Jemmy Button by Jennifer Uman & Valerio Vidali (Candlewick Press, 2013), $16.99. Inspired by the true story of a young native boy from Tierra del Fuego, this elaborately illustrated book tells the story of Jemmy Button. Jemmy, or Orundellico as he was known on his island, traveled to England after Captain Robert FitzRoy of the HMS Beagle decided to take him back to England to educate him in the ways of Christianity and Victorian upper-class customs. FitzRoy gave Jemmy’s family a mother-of-pearl button in exchange for taking him, which is how he came to be known as Jemmy Button. Jemmy was fascinated with the crowded, fast-paced life of the English but never felt more at home than when he was on the tallest branch of the tallest tree back on his own island. A sweet story about travel, homesickness, and a boy a long way from home.
Courage Has No Color, The True Story of the Triple Nickles: America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone (Candlewick Press, 2013), $24.99. Tanya Lee Stone’s in-depth research looks at the role African Americans played as World War II was raging. Telling the story of segregation both at home and in the military, Stone uses the untold story of the Triple Nickles – America’s first black paratroopers that fought a little-known battle with the Japanese. The 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, as the author states, “proved that the color of a man had nothing to do with his ability.” A fascinating story and important tribute to a little-known group of brave Americans.
Ruby Redfort: Your Last Breath by Lauren Child (Candlewick Press, 2013), $16.99. Get ready for another action-packed adventure featuring Ruby Redfort, super-cool and super-smart girl detective, as she hits the high seas for her latest adventure. Can she crack the case of the Twinford pirates while evading sharks and a giant sea monster? Crack open this funny, fast-paced novel and find out for yourself!
AND FOR MOM
Inferno by Dan Brown (Doubleday, 2013), $29.95. The last thing Professor Robert Langdon remembers is walking across the Harvard University campus to teach his afternoon class. But after waking up in an Italian hospital with no memory of how he got there, his world explodes into chaos. He and Dr. Sienna Brooks, one of the doctors taking care of him, begin a run for their lives that takes them through many ancient locations in Italy. Who are their friends? Who are their enemies? A thrilling ride that takes readers through Dante’s epic poem, The Inferno.
Bink & Gollie Kids and BFF’s go together, making Bink & Gollie and more Stories about Friendship a great summer viewing choice. Whimsical drawings and read-along function bring Bink and Gollie to life, two very different girls who rarely agree but are still besties, based on the award-winning book series by Kate DiCamillo, author of Because of Winn Dixie. The DVD, part of the Scholastic Storybook Treasures collection, includes: A Sick Day for Amos Mcgee about a sniffly zookeeper who receives zoo animal visitors; The Other Side about friends coming together at the fence segregating them; Cat and Canary about a feline-bird pair who take a rooftop adventure when their owner goes to work ($14.95)
— By Cheryl Porter