It’s summer (in the USA), and for some reason, I always feel like taking stock of what books I’m reading during this season. Maybe because I associate summer with the beach and beach-reading, relaxing… Anyway, here’s what I’ve been working on lately…
When you have kids (and maybe when you don’t), you tend to read a lot of children’s literature — some are bad (think Cinderella’s wedding…urgh) and some are really good. Here’s a very good one my son convinced me to read:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is based on a real-life gorilla who was forced to live in solitary captivity for more than 20 years. In the novel, Silverback gorilla Ivan befriends a baby elephant, Ruby, a scrappy mutt named Bob, and a little girl who helps him find his artistic side. Winner of the 2013 Newbery Medal, it’s a heartfelt, well-written book. Appropriate for adults and kids (mature readers starting around 9, but more likely 10+) who like honest, bittersweet stories.
My daughter started reading the Amulet series but stopped because the drawings were a little bit too dark for her. I took a look at the first book and realized she was right — scary pointy-toothed elves and creepy houses and parents going missing. Adults and kids (over 10) who don’t mind the darker side of things, plus some awesome adventure, will probably love these books. They’re a quick read but very intense and pull you right along.
Okay, so I have to plug my daughter’s book, The Mysterious Glowing Rock. She wrote it under the pseudonym F. Nighthawk (ever dramatic!) and we used Kindle Vella to publish it. Basically, Vella lets you publish one chapter at a time. The first three chapters are free, and then readers must purchase a bundle of “tokens” with which they can read lots more chapters. It’s a fun, easy way to publish chapter books — just don’t expect to earn big bucks! So, The Mysterious Glowing Rock is about a seventh grader who finds a magical gem that gives her strange powers. Avid readers 8 and up will enjoy this quick-paced adventurous read!
Grown up books
Currently, the books I’ve read for adults are few and far between. But here’s one I’m nearly finished — it’s not new, but it’s by an author I really like, Kate Atkinson.
Behind the Scenes at the Museum is definitely not a light read, but once you pick it up, it’s hard to put down. The book follows a family during different generations and time periods (World War II, the sixties…). It’s taking me a while to read because I only read it before bed, and often I’m too tired to read for very long. But every time I open the book and read the first sentence, I’m back into the story as though I’d never left. Sometimes I will forget who certain family members are, but there’s always a detail to jog my memory. Sad, funny, and witty, it’s definitely worth a read!
In summary, at this time in my life, it’s clear I read more children’s books than adult books. But I have to say, literature for kids can be extremely well written and poignant. I am in awe of writers who write about seriously deep topics in a beautiful, compassionate voice that resonates with young audiences. And so, I will keep taking my children’s book recommendations! What are you favorite reads this summer? Please let me know in the comments!