Here are suggestions from three local children's librarians for the best new books for summer reading:
FROM SYLVIA TAG, WESTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY'S CHILDREN'S LITERATURE INTERDISCIPLINATRY COLLECTION:
I'm really struck by the ongoing publication of series books. If I was a parent or caregiver, I would park my kids in front of the "series" shelves at Village Books and let them dive in! So many options in affordable paperbacks, they can be passed around and swapped between friends. Aside from the cynical take on publishers releasing "book 1" before there is a demand for more - getting hooked on a plot line and attaching to characters is so satisfying and magical for readers. There's nothing like closing a book and knowing that there is another ...
Here are some particular picks:
"Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature" by Joyce Sidman, Illustrated by Beth Krommes. I love reading nature books in the summer. After finishing this book you will want to go outside and find as many spirals as you can - from ferns to rolly-polly bugs to ocean waves. Written in poetic language, this book digs deep into the earth and flies high in the sky.
"Queen of the Falls" is the story of Annie Edson Taylor - the first person, and only woman, to successfully go over Niagara Falls in a barrel! A retired charm school teacher (yes, you read that right) she was one spunky woman. The book is told and Illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg capturing the turn of the century time period in sepia tones. Allsburg's illustrations of Annie "inside the barrel" are hilarious and thrilling.
"Breaking Stalin's Nose" by Eugene Yelchin. Sasha lives in Moscow with his father, post WWII. He wants more than anything to become a young pioneer and make comrade Stalin proud. When his father, whom he idolizes, is arrested by the secret police, Sasha's world is turned upside down.He is a kid who is trying to understand his own small world and the larger politics of an oppressive regime. Will Sasha have to become a "snitch" and inform on his own classmates in order to survive? Short chapters and lots of illustrations.
Hobbies is kind of an old-fashioned word. But I think of middle school as a great age to develop a special interest. There are big, thick weighty books that last the entire summer on building stuff outside, crafts to sew, and art projects. We have "The Marvel Comics Encyclopedia "and "The DC Comics Encyclopedia" in our collection - endless hours of perusal and examination.
John Green's newest, "The Fault in Our Stars," is achingly romantic. A caution - once started, I couldn't put it down. I cared so immediately about Hazel, who is anything but terminal in facing her cancer diagnosis, and Augustus, who is infinitely smart and curious. This book will defy anyone who tries to simplify teenage courage, adventure and love.
"A Wrinkle in Time" 50th anniversary:
Farrar, Straus, Giroux has published a 50th anniversary commemorative edition of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle. The appendix includes a chapter from the original manuscript (with all of L'Engles cross-outs and notes), family photographs, and her Newbery acceptance speech. For me, this book still fires my imagination. And, for fans of "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead (Newbery winner, 2009), it's a great connection. This book also meets the current craze of series books!
FROM BETHANY HOGLUND, HEAD OF CHILDREN'S SERVICES AT THE BELLINGHAM PUBLIC LIBRARY
I have a list of "to-reads" that are getting excellent acclaim right now and I am excited to get to, but don't want to include those as "recommended reading" until I've done so. If you are curious about a few of those titles, they are:
1. "The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate.
2. "Wonder" by RJ Palacio (I've started this - fantastic so far - for upper elementary/middle school).
3. I'm also looking forward to Clete Smith's new book "Alien on a Rampage," which comes out next week and is likely to be a very fun summer read for upper elementary/middle school.
MY TOP PICKS: Picture Books: "Z is for Moose" by Kelly Bingham, illustrated by Paul Zelinsky. "Boy + Bot" by Ame Dyckman, illustrated by Dan Yaccarino.
"Eight Keys" by Suszanne LaFleur
"The Emerald Atlas" by John Stephens
Any title on the 2013 Sasquatch Award list found here: http://www.wlma.org/sasquatch
"The Mighty Miss Malone" by Christopher Paul Curtis
"The Whisper by Emma Clayton\" (sequel to "The Roar"which is a 2010 publication and a "Hunger Games" read-alike)
"Masters of Disaster" by Gary Paulsen (laugh-out loud funny!)
"The Monsters of Morley Manor" by Bruce Coville
Alvin Ho books by Lenore Look
Best Children's books that appeal to adults:
"Okay for Now" by Gary Schmidt
"The Roar" by Emma Clayton (Hunger Games readalike)
"The Scorpio Races" by Maggie Stiefvater (teen book)
My favorite summer reads: (which tend to be "girl" books ...)
Teen: "The Summer I Turned Pretty" by Jenny Han
Chapter Books: "The Penderwicks at Point Mouette" by Jeanne Birdsall
"Love, Ruby Lavender" by Deborah Wiles
Picture Book: "A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever" by Marla Frazee
FROM TAMAR CLARKE, TEEN SERVICES COORDINATOR, WHATCOM COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM
Picture book: "A Bus Called Heaven, Bob Graham," read this with my kindergartener and it is a great story of how one little girls idea transforms a neighborhood.
Upper elementary: "The One & Only Ivan;" lots of backstory here - ficticious book inspired by the true story of a Tacoma gorilla -check the facts on this, but I think he was housed in a strip mall and whose owners used to sell his drawings! I want one of those!
Middle school: "See You at Harry's," Joanna Knowles
High school: "Daughter of Smoke & Bone," Laini Taylor. I love how this book immediately transports the reader - from the mysterious alleyways of Prague to alternative universes; a great summer read that will make you feel like you've experienced another world, even if you haven't left home.
YA that appeals to adults: "Between Shades of Grey," Ruta Sepetys.
Audio: "Dead End in Norvelt." I agree, a fantastic book to listen to and well read. FUNNNNYYYYY!