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Turn Up the Heat on Summer Reading



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For all you parents out there who are tired of hearing the sounds of Super Mario Brothers or the theme song of “Sponge Bob Square Pants,” consider heading off your “school’s out for summer and the noise is driving me crazy” meltdown by turning up the heat on your home summer reading program.

Out of ideas for ways to get the kids to turn off the tube and curl up with a book? Here are a few things that just may work:

Make a deal. Junior can play the video game or watch his favorite program, but only if he reads for the same amount of time he’s parked in front of a screen.

Anything your child wants to read counts. Reading is reading, so if Junior is curled up with a print out of how to get to the next level in Lego Harry Potter or read a newspaper article about the release of the newest gaming system, count that into his reading time. Don’t be too strict about having him read specific types of books and he’ll find material he finds fun and interesting all on his own.

Include reading materials on your vacation packing list. Let Junior pick out a few books, magazines and other reading materials to pack right along with his PSP, Nintendo-DS, or iPOD for the family trip.

Here are a few titles you may want to include in Junior’s July reading library:

AGES 3-6

Get Happy, by Malachy Doyle, (Walker & Company, 2011), $15.99. Share more, snuggle more, wonder more and sulk less – these are just a few ways to make each day a little happier. Kids will enjoy the warm, charming illustrations as they read about how to focus on the joys of life.

Pig Kahuna, by Jennifer Sattler, (Bloomsbury USA, 2011), $14.99. There’s nothing Fergus and his brother Dink loved more than collecting treasures along the beach. From seaweed to a pebble that looked like an eyeball, the riches just kept rolling in. Then they found Dave. Kids will adore this loveable pair of pigs as they find out just who “Dave” is and the adventure he brings to Fergus and Dink.

AGES 4-8

How Back-Back Got His Name, by Thomas Weck and Peter Weck, (Lima Bear Press, 2011), $15.95. There’s an “EEE-mergency” in the woods! Lima Bear and Whistle-Toe (a rabbit), rush to their friend Plumpton’s (an opossum) side in answer to Plumpton’s call for help. He’s lost his back! One minute he was brushing his fur and the next minute he discovered his back was gone! The furry trio has to come up with new and clever plans as they work together to solve the mystery of the missing back. Kids will not only be spellbound by the animals’ antics, they can try some of the fun activities at the end of the book.

AGES 4-10

Around One Log: Chipmunks, Spiders and Creepy Insiders, by Anthony D. Fredericks, (Dawn Publications, 2011), $8.95. Young readers can take a tour through what looks like an old, dead log, but turns out to be crawling with life. Literally. A letter from a “balled-up buddy, Roly-poly,” introduces readers to this unique neighborhood. Clever rhythms tell the story of the how the log was blown down in a storm to become the perfect home to termites, a salamander, a chipmunk, a garter snake, red velvet mites, daddy longlegs and of course, roly-polys. And the fun doesn’t stop after the story is over; kids will have fun completing the activities and projects and reading over the field notes at the end of the book.

AGES 11 AND UP

101 Ways to Become a Superhero…or an Evil Genius, by Richard Horne and Helen Szirtes, (Walker & Company, 2011), $11.99. Although this book will not teach readers to fly, there are plenty of other superhero-type skills mapped out on the pages of this guide. Kids can make cool gadgets, learn amazing tricks, sharpen their stealth-like abilities, and learn how to select the right sidekick. But take care not to let this ultimate superhero guide fall into the wrong hands…

Saving Audie: A Pit Bull Puppy Gets a Second Chance, by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent, (Walker & Company, 2011), $16.99. The true story about one of the pit bulls rescued by the authorities from the dog-fighting ring organized by NFL quarterback Michael Vick, this heartwarming tale is a story of survival and second chances.

AGES 12 AND UP

Stars and Planets, by Carole Stott, (Kingfisher, 2011), $10.99. Summer nights are perfect for stargazing and stimulating young minds and imaginations. This book will take readers beyond the Earth’s atmosphere and into a galaxy of wonder as readers immerse themselves in space exploration. Kids can explore the book in sequentially or they can pick a theme that interests them, such as “robot explorers,” and follow the links through the book.

AND FOR MOMMY...

Alone, by Lisa Gardner, (Bantam Books, 2005), $7.99. There was no question in State Trooper Bobby Dodge’s mind that the woman and her son were in mortal danger. He saw the man, the gun and the anger on the man’s face through the scope of his sniper rifle. With only a split second to react his sniper training kicked in and he took his shot. That’s when his troubles began. Was it really a hostage situation, or was Bobby a pawn in a dangerous game waged by the beautiful Catherine Gagnon? This book will keep you on a twisting, turning roller-coaster ride right up until the very end.

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