It’s known as the ‘summer slide’ and it fills schoolteachers with dread: when school’s out, many kids eschew learning for ice-cream sandwiches and running in the sprinkler. But studies show that adding some summer reading to the mix can considerably reduce learning loss. Which is why Literati has put together a list of some of the best books for summer reading to help keep your child occupied and stifle that summer slide.
On a Magical Do-Nothing Day by Beatrice Alemagna (Club Nova — ages 5 – 7)
Award-winner Beatrice Alemagna makes a dazzling argument in favor of breaking your phones and your video games, running out into the sunshine, and exploring the magic of the Earth with open eyes. The young hero of this story learns to listen when the Earth speaks (The Earth Speaks was Literati’s theme for Club Nova in April), and fills a do-nothing day with life. Do nothing? No such thing. And what better time to go exploring the magic of nature than during those long months of summer.
The Listening Walk by Paul Showers (Club Sprout — ages 3 – 5)
Summer months are when we often, finally, have the time to slow down and listen. The Listening Walk, which was the second most-kept book in Literati’s Club Sprout in April, is destined to become a picture book classic. It introduces your child to the world of onomatopoeia and the interesting sounds that can be found all around them — in the country and in the city — if they just stay silent and listen. It’s also a lovely tribute to the bond between father and daughter.
The Raft by Jim LaMarche (Club Nova — ages 5 – 7)
This classic from award-winner Jim LaMarche is a gorgeous childhood revelation drawn from the author’s own life. A boy reluctantly spends the summer with his grandmother in the Wisconsin woods and discovers a mysterious raft. His time on the river reveals the enchantment of the wildlife around him, his grandmother’s good humor and wise ways, not to mention a hidden talent of his own. This was the second most-kept book in Literati’s Club Nova in April for its theme The Earth Speaks.
I’m a Manatee by John Lithgow (Club Nova — ages 5 – 7)
In dreamland, Lithgow (yes, that John Lithgow) eschews his own humanity in this drifting, rhyming ode to the sea cow. He expresses the “wit, sophistication and urbanity” he possesses in this fantasy of giganity. If you have ever dreamt you were a manatee, or if you say such things are inanity, we know you’ll want to share this book and song — pull up a chair! Sing with your friends, your cousins, your grandpa and your granity. This book was fulfilled for Literati’s Club Nova as part of its January theme, What Dreams Are Made Of.
I Am Yoga by Susan Verde (Club Sprout — ages 3-5)
This short and simple picture book (sent out as part of Literati’s Magic Doors & Secret Passageways experience in December) teaches children they have the power to calm big feelings by themselves. With simple yoga poses presented in colorful drawings and instructions for each pose detailed at the end, this vivid introduction to the effects of mindfulness, meditation, and relaxation is sure to encourage some inner peace. Lay out that yoga mat on the patio. Namaste, y’all.
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson (Club Sprout — ages 3 – 5)
This wordless wonder contrasts an adult’s purposeful walk with a child’s wide-eyed, attentive stroll as they move together through a busy urban setting. Though the father leads, he is blind to the small beauties his daughter sees and the small acts of grace and kindness she chooses to bestow. An utterly charming and deeply moving book by this multi- award winning Canadian author, and a good opportunity to go for your own Listening Walk with your little one in the summer sun.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (Club Nova — ages 5 – 7)
Summer is the time for mischievous adventure. After Sylvester the donkey finds a wish-granting pebble and mistakenly wishes himself into a rock, it takes a whole lot of luck to break the spell and return him to his loving parents. With simple, colorful illustrations that move the story to its heartwarming conclusion, this 1970 Caldecott-winning classic by William Steig cautions us to be careful what we wish for. One of the 100 Best Books of the Century by the National Education Association.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (Club Sage — ages 7 – 9)
This is a challenging book for young readers, and probably best for family reading. Four exceedingly bright orphans are recruited to infiltrate a very prestigious academy and discover what the school’s devious headteacher is plotting. Together, they must gather clues, piece together puzzles, and solve the mystery of Mr. Curtain’s evil plan. No one said saving the world would be easy, though. Loyalty, friendship, and teamwork are a magical combination — more powerful than any evil baddie’s wicked scheme. Plus, we think fantasies about evil headteachers are probably best read before school starts back up again.
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch (Club Nova — ages 5 – 7)
Girl meets boy. Boy meets dragon. Wait… what? Robert Munsch’s delightful 1980s twist on a classic fairytale is also pretty instructive on being resourceful, having confidence, and knowing when to walk away. In short, the princess isn’t always the one who needs saving. This book was sent out as part of Literati’s Heroes theme in November. Strong female role models are important year-round, but particularly for independent summer adventures.
CDB! By William Steig (Club Sage — ages 7 – 9)
William Steig, who started his professional life as a cartoonist and sculptor, but who in later life became an illustrator and writer of children’s books, is kind of a genius. This classic puzzle game, which Literati sent out in August as part of its Laughter is the Best Medicine theme, invites readers to decipher his clever wordplay. Half the fun is in the guessing, and here at Literati we all agreed that the picture clues make even the most challenging puzzles more amusing. You’ll soon get the hang of it. In short: D-S B-K S FN!