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Best of: Summer Reading Kids’ Chapter Books


What books will your kids read this summer?

How does that rhyme go again? “No more pencils, no more books! No more teacher’s dirty looks!”

While we can’t speak for the #2′s or the educators, it’s safe to say that in both of our homes, the “no more books” part is not an issue. While summer reading is required by many school districts, even if it weren’t, you better believe we’d be making our kids spend some of their precious summer vacation in a cool, quiet spot, absorbed in something that doesn’t make noise or have flashing lights.

And while it’s likely the kids will bring home age-appropriate lists from their teachers with some great suggestions on what to read, here we humbly offer up some of our own choices. Feel free to add your own selections in the comments section below!


The “Ramona” series by Beverly Cleary: You cannot even begin to imagine my absolute delight when my 8-year-old daughter came home with the book “Ramona & Beezus” from the school library one day. (An even greater source of pride? She chose it on her own, long before the recent movie came out.) We read it together aloud, a page at a time. And while she was confused by some of the dated references, we found ourselves laughing out loud at many of Ramona’s misadventures. Unfortunately we didn’t get to finish the book — it was due back before we were done — but we fully intend to pick up where we left off.

Encyclopedia Brown by Donal J. Sobol: I’ve been a fan of mysteries since I was young and Leroy Brown was the main reason why (also, I might have had a little crush on him). These short stories follow the tween-aged detective as he solves crimes big and small, some presented to him by kids in the neighborhood, others by his father, the local police chief. The mysteries themselves are not only a fun read, but they encourage logical thinking. By the third or fourth one in, your child may even be able to figure out “whodunit?” without having to turn to the answers section at the end of the book.


The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne: So maybe your summer plans don’t include any trips to far off exotic lands (at least this year). No worries. Give your child one of MPO’s chapter books and you will more than make up for it. These tall tales make history and geography about as easy to swallow as carrots and beets hidden in tomato sauce. My son and I started out reading these books together when he was in kindergarten. He then spent the following two summers bouncing his way through the series and surprising us by what he learned along the way, including obscure facts about Venetian Carnivals and camel rides through the Middle Eastern desert. My favorite: when my husband and I came back from New Orleans and L. knew more about the history of the blacksmith Lafitte than we did after actually being there.

Sports Novels by Matt Christopher: Does someone you know prefer a ball and a bat over the pages of a book? Then you might try throwing one of these chapter books their way while you are driving to batting practice. Author Matt Christopher didn’t earn the title of #1 sportswriter for kids for nothing. His books include fiction stories like The Kid Who Only Hit Homers and Nothin’ But Net, while his numerous biographies on famous athletes will make that book report a breeze once school starts again. These are the books I find my son reading and re-reading late at night with a light under the covers.


What’s on your child’s summer reading list? What was on yours as a child?

4 Responses to “Best of: Summer Reading Kids’ Chapter Books”

  1. Romy says:

    For the slightly older set, say 10-13, Anything by Tim Green is great. He was an Atlanta Falcon and writes two great series, one where the main sport is baseball and the other, football. I read them all and loved every page.
    Also, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil
    E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. You know the story: two suburban children run away from their Connecticut home and go to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, where their ingenuity enables them to live in luxury.
    More suggestions? Ask your local librarian!


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