Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Books Even Busy Boys Will Come Inside For

Look at my muddy sons!  This photo brings back fun memories.  In our family, summertime meant lots of outdoor playtime, swim lessons, and jaunts to the beach.  But we also encouraged trips to the library and summer reading. 

How could books ever compete with sunny days full of bikes and mud??  With choices like the ones below (as promised, I'll be blogging about fun summer reading for the month of June).

Books Even Boys Will Come Inside For...eventually:
The Stories Julian Tells (series) by Ann Cameron. 
I immediately went out and found this book at the library after reading Jim Trelease's summary in his Read Aloud Handbook. "The author takes six short stories involving Julian and his brother and weaves them into a fabric that glows with the mischief, magic, and imagination of childhood. Though centered on commonplace subjects like desserts, gardens, loose teeth, and new neighbors, these stories of family life are written in an uncommon way that will both amuse and touch young listeners." It really engaged our boys' imaginations.

The Great Brain (series) by John D. Fitzgerald. (ages 8-12)
This book was an all time favorite of my oldest son, about the hilarious adventures of an Irish-Catholic family in Mormon Utah in 1896.  Tom - a.k.a. "the Great Brain" - is a 10-year-old genius con man, always interested in making a profit (and always learning a lesson.)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and sequel, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl (ages 8-12). 
These books made a huge impact on my oldest son.  Along with Norman Jester's The Phantom Tollbooth, Roald Dahl's books introduced him to imaginative fantasy through quirky humor and fun wordplay. Dahl's books are about childhood justice and delight, full of imagination and the best kind of storytelling. Charlie Bucket lives with his mother and four bedridden grandparents in their one-room home. Charlie wins a trip into the magical, fantastical world of Williy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. A satirical look at want and need, greed and generosity, all remedied through the methods of the eccentric candy maker. Not to be missed!

Maniac McGee, by Jerry Spinelli (ages 9-12). 
This is the story of a 12-year-old runaway boy. As a stranger to the town of Two Mills, he is naively ignorant of the racial divide between the East and West sides of town. He's also unaware that his life will become legend as he performs one amazing feat after another (like running 49 touchdowns in a single game!) You won't believe the miraculous things he does - the most courageous being the healing of the division in the town and the end of the racial prejudice there. Good contemporary fiction.

The Indian in the Cupboard (series), by Lynne Reid Banks. (Ages 8-12) 
Exciting, absorbing, and thought provoking story, alive with magic as two boys discover they can bring their toys to life by putting them in an old medicine cabinet that one of them receives - along with a small plastic Indian - for his birthday. They are faced with the responsibility of this tiny person and the consequences of their actions. Gives new meaning to the phrase, "the dignity of human life".

Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls.
I guarantee your boys won't be able to put this book down! (If you missed it, you can read my past post here). Independent Readers: grades 5 and up. Family Read Aloud: ages 9 and up.


  1. Mom you need to make a correction: "required summer reading" (and writing for that matter!) Heehee. I'm thinking I need to revisit all your posts about boy books!! ;)