Great Summer Reading for Young Readers

By Tuesday, July 05, 2016 ,

More summer reading recommendations are here! I hope you had a lovely July 4th weekend and have already been able to get some good reading in this summer. I’ve been thinking about my favorite children’s books lately and was reminded afresh of just how many excellent books there are out there for young readers. I hope you enjoy my suggestions below and share your own in the comments! And if you missed out on any of these when you were younger, I hope you’ll quickly remedy that! The brilliant C.S. Lewis once said, "A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." I couldn't agree more! :)

Notable Authors

E.B. White 
Many of White’s popular books feature animals as central characters, and I enjoyed that immensely as a child. His stories remind me a little of Aesop’s Fables – animal-centered and full of good moral lessons. My favorites are Charlotte’s Web and The Trumpet of the Swan

Beverly Cleary
Cleary’s charming series on the Quimby sisters and Henry Huggins are childhood staples! I read a few of the Henry books first, but Beezus and Ramona are my favorites. They’ll have you rolling with laughter and offer many teachable moments about family and school days in the bargain. 

Roald Dahl
When I was in second grade, my teacher read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory aloud to our class, and from that point on, I was a goner for Roald Dahl’s books. Matilda is another well-known work of his that I loved as a child. His books are quirky, fun, wildly imaginative, and usually have a hint of magic thrown in. 

Frances Hodgson Burnett 
The Secret Garden and A Little Princess are Burnett’s most popular books, and they also were rites of passage in my childhood. Mysteries, coming of age, British India, and childhood play are major themes in both of these. They are feasts for the mind and wonderfully suspenseful. I still remember The Secret Garden as one of the first books that kept me up till late hours.


Notable Series

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warren 
What’s not to love about this endearing series? It’s a classic “orphan in the woods” story that will stir up dreams of adventures. This series begins when four orphaned siblings stumble upon an abandoned boxcar on an overgrown train track, and they set about making it their home. It makes living in an old train sound like a vacation! 

The American Girls’ Collection 
I grew up on American Girl Dolls – in fact, they’re still sitting in their place of honor atop my bookshelf. And of course, I mean the original dolls. The real ones. It saddens me to think of what the American Girls have become, because the original dolls and their companion books brought me up. I learned so many valuable things about America’s background and overcoming difficulties as I read the adventures of Felicity, Josefina, Kirsten, Addy, Samantha, Kit, and Molly. From the American Revolution all the way to World War II, these girls’ stories shaped my childhood and I’m so glad. Hit up eBay for all the original books and get your kids reading them! 

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 
Anne Shirley captured my heart around age eleven and I’ve never gotten it back. If you’ve only seen the movies and never read any of the books, please hear me – you are missing out. It’s common to hear that the book is better than the movie, but in this case, it’s truer than I can express. The second and third movies are basically the filmmaker’s own creation without reference to the books, but even the first movie, which stays relatively faithful, skips over a lot and makes unnecessary changes. These books are true gems of young adult literature and deserve to be read over and over. It all begins when elderly brother and sister, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, decide to adopt a boy to help on their farm, but instead are given a chatty, freckled, redheaded girl with an imagination. Little do they know how Anne-with-an-e is about to steal their hearts make her mark on their little town of Avonlea on Prince Edward Island! My favorites of the series are the first three – Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne of the Island

Quite a list, I know, but I just kept thinking of so many good ones! Have you read any of these? What are your favorite children’s books? I’d love to hear! 

P.S. I couldn’t leave this post without also mentioning The Chronicles of Narnia series and the Harry Potter series. I thought about including them in the official list, but if you haven’t realized my love for these books yet… I don’t know what to say ;) Must-reads, all of them! Many times over. (Click here for Harry Potter posts and here for Narnia posts)

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