HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-82009 Summer Reading Suggestions: Elementary

2009 Summer Reading Suggestions: Elementary

By Bianca Schulze, The Children’s Book Review
Published: June 4, 2009

Summer reading with a child between grades 1 and 5 is so exciting. The youngest are gaining priceless reading skills at their “early reader” stage and the eldest are full-steam-ahead reaching an “early-fluent to fluent reader” stage. It’s more important than ever to keep up their momentum with their newly found skills — reading a minimum of four books over the summer will help keep them at their current level of reading. The trick is to pick books they will engage in easily. I’ve hand-picked some of my favorite titles, new and old, that are well-suited to the season and the different reading abilities.

NOTE: Please remember that all children develop at a different pace and learn in different ways. During each reading phase there will be a a wide range of development taking place. I have included some tips for encouraging reading, and a list of my favorite “early reader” series.

My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life

by Kate Feiffer (Author), Diane Goode (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (March 24, 2009)

TCBR review:My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life essentially defines the
quintessential spirit of parent-child  relationships. It’s a picture
book that even adults will appreciate reading to themselves …”

Add this book to your collection: My Mom Is Trying to Ruin My Life

The Composer Is Dead (Book & CD) The Composer is Dead (Book & CD)

by Lemony Snicket (Author), Carson Ellis (Illustrator), Nathaniel Stookey (Contributor)

Reading level:
Ages 5 – 10

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins; Har/Com edition (March 3, 2009)

Booklist review: “… The whole slightly macabre package is great fun, and while many youngsters will miss the clever wordplay and wry twist at the end, this still winds up being a fairly good overview of each orchestral section’s role in bringing music to life. Or death.” –Ian Chipman

Add this book to your collection: The Composer is Dead (Book & CD)

A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

by Marla Frazee

Reading level: Ages 6-9

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books (March 1, 2008)

SLJ review: “Frazee brings out the typical energy of a couple of boys who may scoff at nature and seem to prefer watching TV, but it is through her artful illustrations that readers catch glimpses of just how savvy and creative these kids can be. . . . This intergenerational story will elicit howls of laughter and requests for repeated readings.” – starred review, School Library Journal

Add this book to your collection: A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever

Wild Tracks!: A Guide to Nature's Footprints Wild Tracks!: A Guide To Nature’s Footprints

by Jim Arnosky

Reading level: Ages 6 – 10

Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Sterling (April 4, 2008)

Add this book to your collection: Wild Tracks!: A Guide To Nature’s Footprints

The Willoughbys


by Lois Lowry

Reading level:
Ages 6 – 10

Hardcover: 176 pages

Houghton Mifflin/Walter Lorraine Books; 1 edition (March 31, 2008)

TCBR review: Brilliant! The Willoughbys is reminiscent of so many classics – Mary Poppins and The Secret Garden, to name only two – all rolled together with a witty and twisted humor that reminds me of the wonderful Roald Dahl. …”

Add this book to your collection: The Willoughbys

 Horrid Henry

by Francesca Simon (Author) and Tony Ross (Illustrator)

Reading level: Ages 7 – 10

Paperback: 112 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (April 1, 2009)

TCBR review: “Wow! Francesca Simon really knows kids! Clever, witty, and horridly
hilarious, Horrid Henry, the first book in an excellent series for
young readers, is everything it should be. …”

SLJ review: “… Arnosky lets children in on these insiders’ tips with the amiable tone of a knowledgeable guide. …”

Add this book to your collection: Horrid Henry

 Dessert First

by Hallie Durand (Author), Christine Davenier (Illustrator)

Reading level:
Ages 7-10

Hardcover: 160 pages

Publisher: Atheneum (May 19, 2009)

TCBR review: “… Durand [has] created believable third-grade characters that have wonderfully supportive families and school teachers.”

Add this book to your collection: Dessert First

Emmaline and the Bunny

Emmaline and the Bunny

by Katherine Hannigan

Reading level:
Ages 7-12

Hardcover: 112 pages

Publisher: HarperCollins (February 24, 2009)

Publishers Weekly review: “Hannigan follows Ida B., her critically acclaimed debut, with this environmental fable, which she has illustrated with tender watercolor art that often displays deft touches of humor. …”

Add this book to your collection: Emmaline and the Bunny

The Problem with the Puddles The Problem with the Puddles

by Kate Feiffer (author), Tricia Tusa (illustrator)

Reading level:
Ages 8-12

Hardcover: 208 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (February 24, 2009)

TCBR review: “… There is almost a picture on every page making it a great choice for kids that are new to the more serious layout of chapter books. …”

Add this book to your collection: The Problem with the Puddles

Kenny & the Dragon Kenny & the Dragon

by Tony DiTerlizzi

Reading level:
Ages 8 -12

Hardcover: 160 pages

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (August 5, 2008)

TCBR review: “… Kenny is such a courageous character, that I am sure any young reader would idolize him. And believe me, you want your child to idolize him because Kenny has the biggest thirst for knowledge, learning and books. Tony DiTerlizzi, known infamously for The Spiderwick Chronicles, has told this captivating story with such ease that it’s hard to put down – even for reluctant readers! …”

Add this book to your collection: Kenny & the Dragon

Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass

by Erica Kirov

Reading level:
Ages 9+

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (May 1, 2009)

TCBR review: “… This book is so well thought through that I am beginning to think that
Erica Kirov may actually be from a family of magicians. I have been
bewitched and I can’t wait for book two. A vonderful novel!”

Add this book to your collection: Magickeepers: The Eternal Hourglass

Early Readers:

Tips for encouraging reading:

  • Keep some books in every room, in the car, and in every backpack. Audio books, magazines, comics, and other reading material count!
  • Take your child to get their own library card.
  • Take your child to author events at local bookstores.
  • Provide a little guidance to help your child select books on topics that interest him. Books about camps, swimming, going to the beach, and vacations are a often a good start for this time of year.
  • Activity books are great summer reading. Not only do they get some reading in, but they can get busy learning how to play chess, juggle, or sew.
  • Be a role model: read books with your kids or let them see you read a book, magazine, or newspaper of your own.
  • Start a book swap with friends. It encourages conversation about the book when kids have read the same one.
  • A wise person once said, “Reward reading with more reading.” Stop by the bookstore or library to pick up a new book as a reward for finishing one.

Still can’t get your children reading? Try this:

Where's Waldo? The Ultimate Travel Collection Where’s Waldo? The Ultimate Travel Collection

by Martin Handford

Reading level: Ages 4-8

Paperback: 152 pages

Publisher: Candlewick; Min edition (May 20, 2008)

Publisher’s synopsis: The essential travel companion! Now Waldo can wander everywhere his fans do, thanks to a compact bind-up of five classic adventures.

Waldo seekers young and old won’t want to hit the road without this paperback compilation of his world-famous excursions, including:
* Where’s Waldo?
* Where’s Waldo Now?
* Where’s Waldo? The Fantastic Journey
* Where’s Waldo? The Wonder Book
* Where’s Waldo? In Hollywood

With such a wealth of Waldo at hand, even the most restless travelers will be entertained for hours on end. Don’t leave home without it!

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