Summer Reading For School Age Kids

Sent In By You!

Reading these reviews made me long for an extra few hours in my day to read these books! Series are a great way to encourage further reading for your kids who are thinking more about tv , and leaving learning at school over the summer. They will get hooked and be begging for the next book. I also love Rachel’s suggestion below about using the audio book as an incentive.

“Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist :Lunch Walks Among Us” By Jim Benton

Don’t let the cover of this book scare you! I read this book to my 5 year old daughter and we LOVED it! Franny K. Stein, mad scientist, just wants to fit in at school. After using her scientific powers of observation, she changes herself into a cute little girl in a frilly dress. But when a monster threatens her classmates and teacher, she must revert back to her mad scientist ways to create a likely opponent to save the day. You’ll never guess out of what! The story offers lots of laughs and lots of important lessons – like being true to yourself! It’s a refreshing change of pace to the usual choice of pink princess girly books out there. The action moves quickly. And with fun illustrations at every turn of the page, this is a great read aloud chapter book for the PreK and Kindergarten set. With the exception of “The Fran That Time Forgot,” we have LOVED every book in this series.

Review by Jean-Marie

“Magic Tree House Series “ by Mary Pope Osborne

I have a remarkable 5 year old who is just starting to read chapter books. He is currently in love with the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. When he starts losing interest in the book I entice him with a reward of listening to the audio book on CD once he reads most of the book. The books are great for beginning chapter readers and they get the kids interested in the topic discussed in the book (i.e. tornadoes, dinosaurs, wild west, knights, etc.).

Review by Rachel

“Nate the Great “ by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

“Nate the Great” is the first book in a series of 25 Nate the Great chapter books for young readers. Although the reading level is 2.0 (Beginning 2nd Grade), these books are perfect for advanced kindergartners as well as older and reluctant readers. Nate the great is a young detective. He loves to solve mysteries for his family, friends and neighbors. Annie is Nate’s neighbor. She painted a picture of her dog, left it on her desk to dry, and later when she returned to her desk the painting had disappeared! She called Nate for help, who wasted no time putting on his detective suit and heading her way! Nate asks questions and gathers all the facts. It’s exciting and even suspenseful to follow along as he works to solve the mystery. The storyline is truly interesting. Even as an adult, I was drawn in immediately. I felt as though I was solving the mystery with Nate! The illustrations are captivating and took me back in time. (1970’s) I just adore illustrations in older books.

I hesitate to mention two characteristics of Nate the Great that I don’t particularly care for, but I believe that if I am going to wholeheartedly recommend this book series, I should let you know about two things. First of all, at times Nate the Great is prideful. When he is overwhelmingly prideful and my boys act completely astonished by his pridefulness, I take advantage of that time by discussing the differences between pride and humility. Secondly, Nate does not like girls. This is either clearly stated or implied in each of the books we’ve read so far. I really do not like this part of the storyline. My boys have friends that are boys as well as friends that are girls, and I don’t want them to think it’s o.k. to decide to not like girls.

To see more great reviews like this one check out Marietta’s blog The Bookworm’s Booklist !

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  1. Jean-Marie says

    We love the Nate the Great series too! I read them to my daughter about a year ago, and now she's reading them to me. She's 5.

    The first book in the series says, "I went to Annie's house. Annie has brown hair and brown eyes. And she smiles a lot. I would like Annie if I liked girls." My daughter and I took Nate's feelings about girls more of an "eeewwww girls have cooties" kind of dislike than a contempt dislike. Nate does, however, mention how "strange" one female character, Rosamond, is throughout the series. I can't really say it's any worse that the harsh storylines or over characterizations written in your everyday fairy tale though.

    That said, Marietta's comments made me think of another book in the children's mystery genre that we recently discovered in our library: "Alec Flint, Super Sleuth: The Nina, The Pinta and the Santa Maria." It's a good, solid mystery, but more importantly I liked it for many of the concerns raised with the Nate the Greats series. The story features three-dimensional kids that set really good examples for the book's readers. I really liked that Alec took other people's thoughts and feeling into consideration even when he didn't always want to. And he showed gratitude and respect, especially to the girls in the story. And I loved that the two lead characters used their local library to research an important clue involving a missing Christopher Columbus exhibit (Yes, the story offers a bit of a history lesson as well). Definitely give it a try if your child is into mysteries. A second Alec Flint book, "The Ransom Note Blues: An Alec Flint Mystery" is due out in stores this month, so I believe it may be turning into a series.

    Allie, I loved this school-aged kids reading review post. I look forward to reading more recommendations and reviews throughout the summer.

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