Spring is the time to prepare yourself for Summer reading.
Every year in late May bookstores put out special tables filled with Summer reading for students of all ages. As parents, we pile the books on knowing that our children are required to read them. And many kids groan at the process. Don't wait until school is out. Summer reading is like going to the beach. You have to get ready for it. Pick up some titles this Spring to prime your child's brain, get those neuron's firing and prepare them for a good summer read.
The Homework Strike
By Greg Pincus
Best For: Ages 8 - 12
Gregory K is back in a new book. When last we heard from Gregory he was struggling with math and hoping to go to author camp for the summer. He was dealing with friends and family while discovering how the Fibonacci sequence could inspire a new style of poetry. This time around Gregory is trudging through middle school, trying to find his place in the world and spending all his time on way too much homework. When Gregory finds his voice and begins expressing civil disobedience, he hopes to change his homework situation. One thing leads to another and he starts a movement. Middle-grade readers will explore civic involvement, middle school relationships, the power of media and plenty of humor.
What’s good: Pincus expertly delivers character development and humor.
What’s bad: Driven by dialogue and character development, the pacing has moments of fits and starts.
The Secret Keepers
By Trenton Lee Stewart
Best For: Ages 10 – 13
What would you do if you found a magic watch that made you invisible? All Reuben Pedley wants is a better life for himself and his mom. So when he finds a watch that gives him the power of invisibility he thinks his dreams are about to come true. Then he realizes that the watch comes with a lot of questions, a nefarious bad guy who also wants it, new friends and a big, dangerous mystery. For Reuben discovering the watch might actually be a nightmare. You'll have to read The Secret Keepers and make your own decision. Like Stewart's "Benedict Society" series, this tale is full of twists, turns, and a little magic.
What’s good: An interesting mystery that keeps you guessing.
What’s bad: The pacing is uneven with the beginning being very slow.
Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine
By Caroline Star Rose
Best For: Ages 10 – 14
It's 1897 and gold has been discovered in the Yukon. Sixteen-year-old Mel and his younger brother Jasper escape their alcoholic father and strike out for Alaska hoping to strike it rich. It's not that easy, of course. Jasper stows away on a steamer to keep up with his brother. While aboard the ship, Jasper hears a rumor about the lost mine of One-Eyed Riley and clues to its location. If Jasper and Mel can solve the mysterious clues they could stake claim to the mine and riches beyond their dreams. Along the way, they will have to survive villains, winter, and the Yukon wilderness. Full of mystery, danger, and action this tale will enthrall anyone who dreams of striking it rich.
What’s good: Warm characters make it easy to get emotionally invested.
What’s bad: A little too much melodrama to action ratio for younger readers.