The Fall Equinox is happening on September 22nd this year, so it is officially time to say good-bye to summer. June, July, and August were great reading months for my daughters and me. My first-grader graduated to early chapter book status and my daughter now lives in the world of Harry Potter and beyond. I had a baby right before the summer solstice so late night feedings equaled quiet book time for me. I made the best out of feeling like a zombie by reading because I figured if I had to be up at night, a sweet baby and good novel make the best companions.
My Fourth Grader’s Favorites
My oldest daughter is a bookworm just like her mama, grandmas, and grandpa. She is one of those types that can read multiple books at once. Do not ask me how, but she does it and loves it. My mom saved all of my old Babysitter’s Club books from my childhood and my daughter has plowed through all of them. She also goes old school with Nancy Drew stories. This summer she found some great reads from the library and they are as follows:
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
All of my kids like graphic novels and this one about a young girl who signs up for roller derby camp is probably my daughter’s new favorite. She talked about it so much that even her younger sister and I read it. We all loved the main character, Astrid, who is going through the hard changes of friendship with her buddy Nicole. The story highlights how people, even close friends, do not always enjoy the same things. There is anger and disappointment for Astrid as she navigates the challenges of being more independent, making new friends, and trying to understand the differences that are creating a wedge between her and her best friend. This book led to great discussions with my girls about being respectful of other people, trying new things, and understanding that friendships evolve and change as people (even children) get older.
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
My oldest just started this series and really enjoyed this first book. I have not read it, but its on my booklist now after listening to her gush about it. There are seven novels in the Unwanted series, the first novel revolves around twin boys who are about to be sorted for their destiny. The sorts involve grouping individuals into the “Wanteds” because they are strong and smart and the “Unwanteds” because they are more artistic in nature. Hearing my daughter describe this story made me think of the Hunger Games and Divergent series, which were both great must reads.
My First Grader’s Favorites
My little girl is just entering the independent reading world and this summer was pretty fun for her. She really enjoyed hitting the library and finding her own books and authors. We still do a lot of group reading together, which is even more fun when the books are bigger and have more plots and chapters. Here are some that are on the top of my daughter’s reading list:
Katie Kazoo Switcheroo Series by Nancy Krulik
My seven-year-old and I read this series together. The main character, Katie, is an elementary student who in the first book wishes to be someone else after getting teased by the class bully. A magical wind takes her request seriously and in each book thereafter Katie finds herself transported into a different body. The switches never last long, but each experience is unique and offers a good lesson regarding walking in another person’s shoes. There are over 30 books in the series and after the first one they do not need to be read in order. Since we began reading these books Katie has switched places with a class pet, a lunch lady, a baby, and more. My daughter laughs out loud at seeing what happens to Katie during the character’s out of body experience, and I like the feeling of empathy that radiates from these stories.
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale
This is a smart and fun series about a strong princess who is not afraid to fight bad guys. I enjoy how the character is a tough girl in high society. Both of my daughters have devoured these books because there is adventure, action, and great illustrations. There are six books in the series and my first grader is steadily plowing her way through them all. She enjoys taking them on the bus and reading them with our six-year-old neighbor boy, who also likes them. (Obviously, because what is not to like about a princess that wears black and has a monster alarm?)
My Personal Favorites from this Summer
I love a good plot and the books I read this summer did not disappoint. It was hard to narrow my list down to just two recommendations because I love discussing good books. Besides the one listed below, I would also recommend Rash by Lisa Kusel, Golden Prey by John Sandford, The Widow by Fiona Barton, and Every Wild Heart by Meg Donahue.
A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Backman
This was my favorite book of the summer and probably even cracks my top ten list for favorite book ever. My mom read it first and recommended it to me, which shows that mothers really do know best. She and I have different book tastes, but we both loved this read. My husband also listened to it on audio and thought it was stellar. It is wonderful because I have never initially disliked a character so much to only turn the pages and fall in love with his persona. Ove is a grouch and a pain. He is hard to talk to and points out all of the errors in life. However, as the narrative digs deeper a story of pain, grief, kindness, funny antics, and forgiveness leaks through the chapters. The author writes brilliantly and the back and forth between past and present is done very well. I laughed and cried with (and at) Ove until the very end. The book was smart and showcased how we never REALLY know what another person is going through in life. The sub-characters are also flawless, my mom could not get enough of the pregnant neighbor lady of Iranian descent name Parvaneh. Her no-nonsense attitude and compassion made the story even more special.
On Second Thought by Kristan Higgins
I enjoy finding new authors, so chic lit lovers need to pay attention to this review. The author has great writing style and readers can relate well to her characters. This book chronicles a family that fits the description of “it’s complicated” perfectly. Two sisters, Kate and Ainsley, make up the main characters and the progression of their relationship is fun to read. Both lead different lives, but grow to find comfort in each other. Kate is a newlywed who loses her husband in a freak accident and Ainsley is a people pleaser trying to find her place while also withstanding an embarrassing break-up by her melodramatic ex-boyfriend turned blogger. The two sisters learn a lot about themselves by the end of the book, and their family’s dynamic is almost a character all its own. Readers who enjoy Jennifer Wiener, Meg Donahue, or Katherine Center should give Kristan Higgins a try.
Life is always busy, but I relish squeezing in a few minutes of a good narrative whenever I get the chance and lucky for me my girls are following suit. There are tons of great books, yet so little time! Have you read something amazing lately? Let us know by leaving a comment or sending an email to email@example.com.