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Grendel's Guide to Love and War by A.E. Kaplan

I love this book because of the main character. Tom Grendel is just so darn charming. All of the characters are quirky but relatable and lovable, and they refuse to fall into the typical young adult character tropes. This book is loosely based on the epic poem Beowulf, which of course satisfies my pretentious English major chops. Readers who love a good dose of angsty existential crisis will adore Grendel's Guide to Love and War.

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Mrs. White Rabbit by Gilles Bachelet


The illustrations in this picture book delighted me with their dry humor, expressiveness, and vibrant color. 

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There are lots of things that go with summer — beaches, ice cream, parades, and even fireworks. But one thing that always seems synonymous with summer in my mind is reading. With summer reading programs popping up in libraries and bookstores and summer reading lists still in many a child’s backpack, it seems to me that summer and reading go hand in hand. This pairing, it turns out, is a really good thing because studies show that students lose ground over the summer if they don’t keep practicing their reading. The deficit that kids have to make up when they return to school is often most pronounced for kids who need it the most, including reluctant readers and readers in low-income families. Research clearly shows that having kids read throughout the summer gives them the practice they need to keep their reading skills sharp, but the studies have also shown that summer reading also helps kids to be more motivated to read. (For more see http://www.readingrockets.org/article/summer-reading-loss.) 

So with the one-two punch of increased skills and increased enjoyment, why not make summer reading an integral part of the summertime fun of your family? Local schools and libraries are likely to have great programs already in place, so they are good places to start your summer reading adventures. But from there, take your reading on the road by connecting books to all the other adventures and fun you have planned. A book about the state you are going to for a family reunion is wonderful. An audio book in the car on the way to the zoo and then an informative book about a favorite animal there is a perfect match. Or if your summer plans consist more of a stay-cation than an away-cation, just find a delightful book that tells of its own summer adventure. Here are some of my favorites:

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That Summer by Sarah Dessen, Viking Books for Young Readers, 2006

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Harry by the Sea by Gene Zion, illustrated by Margaret Graham, Harper Collins, 1956

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Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, Candlewick Press, 2017

The Penderwicks:  A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall, Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2005

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A Summery Saturday Morning by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Selina Young, Viking Juvenile, 1998

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Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, Holder Children’s Division, 2014


Freedom Summer by Deborah Wiles, illustrated by Jerome Lagarrigue, Aladdin, 2001

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The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Stephen Gammell, Antheneum Books for Young Readers, 1993

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Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey, Viking Books for Young Readers, 1957

So, with these or other great books, if you are at home or away, this summer is the right summer to get reading!