The idyllic summer includes days lazing away under a tree reading the best book. In effort to entice a family away from the hectic pace of life and towards a few days of lounging with a great read, here are some choice treats:
The Parent – Who Needs a Quiet Break More?
The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt takes the well-crafted family saga to a new level. Byatt’s writing is lyrical. The main character is a children’s book author and the tone throughout draws the reader in like a fairy tale. The literary, historical and art references interwoven into the story move the story forward in an enlightening and entertaining manner. This is a 21st century Dickensian novel.
Young Adults – Plot Driven Books Designed to Engross the Reader
As an epistolary novel, My Most Excellent Year: A Novel of Love, Mary Poppins, & Fenway Park by Steve Kluger moves fast, some portions are written in zippy emails or text messages. This group of friends, one love baseball, another theater, another accepts he’s gay, find themselves, each other, and their way through high school. There is an element of romantic sparring, even for the parents. Kruger creates an atmosphere of friendship and acceptance combined with a humor that casts a warm hue over the book without making it schmaltzy.
Middle Readers – Ready to Read on their Own
Before there was the Hunger Games Trilogy, Suzanne Collins wrote the engaging Underland Chronicles. In the first book, Gregor the Overlander, Gregor is stuck babysitting his sister, Boots, through a New York City summer. Gregor worries about his father who disappeared three years earlier. While doing laundry, he notices Boots disappears down a chute and follows her, thereby starting his own modern day Alice in Wonderland story. Gregor discovers a kingdom of rats, cockroaches, bats, and other crawlers that needs saving and that their enemy holds his father prisoner. Creating a world that holds the readers attention for numerous books, this series provides a wonderful summertime adventure.
Picture Books for the Pre-Literate Set
Deborah Diesen’s The Pout-Pout Fish in the Big-Big Dark tells the story of a brave fish on a journey to find Ms. Clam’s lost pearl. He searches everywhere, expect down in the deep dark trench. With friends and courage, he overcomes his fear of the dark. The rhythm of the story is a delight to read aloud and the pictures are cute and lively. With all the ocean imagery, it’s just the right choice for a day at the beach.