Summer Reading for Kids

Hi all-  Summer vacation is for reading.  When I was 9 or 10 I would ride my bike to the library once a week, fill the basket up with books and pedal back home.  I’d lay under the pepper tree in the backyard or sprawled on the couch and read, read.  It was the best way I knew to while away a summer.

So in honor of all those kids who are just launching into their summer vacations, here’s a list of books that would wonderfully fill those long lazy summer afternoons.


I just finished reading this book to my 3rd graders at years end. Matilda is a precocious child with some of the craziest parents between two covers.  She uses her amazing gifts to turn out the villainous headmistress from her school with the help of her beloved teacher, Miss Honey.  It’s Roald Dahl at his best– full of fun and quirky characters, including the plucky heroine who keeps you cheering her on through the whole story.



The Penderwick sisters have a delicious summer ahead when they join their father on the beautiful grounds of the Adrundel Estate.  They explore the elaborate gardens, treasure filled attic and make a new friend, Jeffrey Tifton, the son of Arundel’s owner to join them on their adventures.  But they run up against Mrs. Tifton who is not so pleased to meet them.  It’s a charming, warm, old fashioned story, perfect for summer reading.



The Westing Game  by Ellen Raskin was family favorite when my kids were young readers.  Sixteen Heirs are brought to live in the Sunset Towers apartment building and when the will of deceased Samuel Westing is read, it is a puzzle.  They are given clues to solve the mystery of Sam Westing’s murder.  The winner inherits his $2 million dollar fortune.  It’s a convoluted mystery for kids that’s hard to put down, even for grown ups.  Just fun reading.



Four children happen into the magical land of Narnia, where animals talk and all are under the curse of the white witch who has made the land always be in winter, but never Christmas!  Through a set of adventures and with the sacrifice of the great lion, Aslan, the witch is conquered and the children come to reign as rulers in the castle by the sea.  It’s a marvelous, magical tale part of a set of 7 Narnia books, so there’s reading for all summer long here.  If a child owns just one set of books, these classics should be the one.


thumb_littlehouseontheprairieLittle House on the Prairie is the account of a real family who left the wilds of the Wisconsin woods to settle in Kansas.  Second daughter, Laura wrote the stories of their travels in a covered wagon across the prairie, the resourcefulness of Pa building their new log home, the way the family met numerous hardships head on.  I love that children today can know a time when people hunted and grew their own food, when entertainment was Pa and his fiddle or cutting dolls out of paper, when a sock with an orange, a peppermint stick and a penny made a fine Christmas gift.  This is also a book set, starting Little House in the Big Woods.  I think you’ll love this brave and endearing family.


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