Summer Reading

Librarians give their summer reading list recommendations

2012-07-09T09:00:00Z 2012-07-09T10:18:07Z Librarians give their summer reading list recommendationsBy Staff The Orange County Register
July 09, 2012 9:00 am  • 

If Junie B. is not your child’s cup of tea, or if your children are closer to 20 and past grade-school literature, we’ve asked library staff members to offer their suggestions of engaging summertime reading for young readers, pre-teens and teens.

Ages 3-5: “Little Owl’s Night” by Divya Srinivasan

Sure to make going to bed a snap. Join this endearing little owl on his adventures through the night. Preschoolers will enjoy making many of the animal sounds while a parent or caregiver reads from this book.

—Recommended by Rachel Tustin, youth services librarian, Anaheim, Calif., Public Library

Ages 5-6: “Rhyming Dust Bunnies” by Jan Thomas

Not only a rhyming book, it’s funny, fuzzy and comes with a surprise ending. It also gives readers a new slant on vacuum cleaners! (Adults will enjoy it too.)

—Recommended by June McIntire, Fullerton, Calif., Public Library

All ages: “Go Out and Play! Favorite Outdoor Games from Kaboom!” by Kaboom!

The book contains about 70 different activities that range from old favorites like flashlight tag, to new adaptations of old favorites like drip, drip, drop. Simple instructions for how to play each game, as well as a brief list of the number of players, recommended ages, space required, and suggested materials, are included on each page.

—Recommended by Janine Jacobs, Fullerton Public Library

Ages 6-8: “Those Darn Squirrels and the Cat Next Door” by Adam Rub

A quirky and hilarious picture book about Mr. Fookwire and the crafty squirrels who plague his life. In this story, however, follow up to “Those Darn Squirrels,” Folkwire and the squirrels face another annoyance: Muffins, the neighbor’s antagonistic feline who bullies the squirrels and annoys the birds. Muffins gets his comeuppance when the squirrels organize a plan to make Muffins an indoor cat permanently.

—Recommended by June McIntire, Fullerton Public Library

Ages 6-9: “Escaping Titanic: A Young Girl’s True Story of Survival” by Marybeth Lorbiecki

Ruth Becker is traveling with her mother and siblings, enjoying the amenities of the famed luxury liner RMS Titanic. When the ill-fated ship strikes an iceberg, Ruth and her family go to the lifeboats. The 12-year-old is separated from her family but manages to get on another lifeboat. From that vantage she watches in horror as the mighty ship sinks. In honor of the Titanic’s 100th anniversary, this book offers young readers the tale told from a child’s point of view about the disaster that history will never forget.

—Recommended by Janine Jacobs, Fullerton Public Library

Ages 6-9: “I Broke My Trunk” by Mo Willems

Gerald the elephant tells his best friend Piggie a long, crazy story about how he broke his trunk. Mo Willems is the author of “Knuffle Bunny” and the “Pigeon” series along with the “Elephant and Piggie” books. Children can relate to these silly stories and will laugh out loud at some of the conundrums that ensue.

—Recommended by Kristine Russell, Orange County, Calif., Public Libraries, Ladera Ranch Library

Ages 6-9: “Just a Second: A Different Way to Look at Time” by Steve Jenkins

This nonfiction picture book explores time and how we think about it in a different way — as a series of events in the natural world (some of them directly observable, others not) that take place in a given unit of time. The bold illustrations will catch the attention of young readers and the interesting facts will fascinate them.

—Recommended by Kristine Russell, OC Public Libraries, Ladera Ranch Library

Ages 6-9: “Keeping the Castle: a Tale of Romance, Riches and Real Estate” by Patrice Kindl

Tired of the dark future trend in teen fiction? Try “Keeping the Castle,” a return to the bright past of the Regency romance novel, published just in time for light summer reading. Althea Crawley is the sad scion of an aristocratic family fallen on hard times. The aforementioned castle, like their fortunes, is teetering on the brink of ruin. When Lord Boring takes over his uncle’s rich estate, Althea is determined to keep the castle using all the means at her disposal.

—Recommended by Ryan Gan, Orange Public Library

Ages 6-9: “The Hop” by Sharelle Byars Moranville

A twist on the traditional “Frog Prince” story, this chapter book focuses on Tad, a young toad, and his quest to find the “Queen of the Hop.” If Tad can find and kiss the Queen, his home, Toadville-by-Tumbledown, will be saved from destruction.

While Tad is off on his own quest, a young girl named Taylor is busy trying to save her beloved grandmother’s pond from being turned into another strip mall. Will Mother Earth and Father Pond (yes, pond) bring these two together in time? Filled with magic, adventure, and family life, this environment-friendly book will appeal to many this summer.

—Recommended by Andrea Roque, Orange Public Library

Ages 6-9: “Scream Team: The Werewolf at Home Plate” by Bill Doyle

Follow Karl, the werewolf who resembles a poodle, and his gang of misfit monster friends as they create their own Scream Team after failing to make the school’s baseball league. Enlisting the help of the wealthy and eccentric two-headed coaches, the Conundrums, the Scream Team is quickly set to play against the JC Monster League from which they were rejected.

—Recommended by Monica Barrette, Orange Public Library

Ages 7-10: “No Easy Way: The Story of Ted Williams and the Last .400 Season” by Fred Bowen

Starting with Ted Williams dream of being the greatest hitter who ever lived as he grew up in San Diego, this true story shares the drama and excitement of Williams’ quest to finish the season with a batting average of .400.

—Recommended by Janine Jacobs, Fullerton Public Library

Ages 8-12: “No Talking” by Andrew Clements

The Laketon Elementary School’s noisy fifth-grade boys challenge the equally noisy fifth-grade girls to a “no talking” contest.

—Recommended by California Young Reader Award Medal committee (students, parents, teachers and librarians)

Ages 9-12: “Heat” by Mike Lupica

Because his parents and birth certificate are still in Cuba, pitching prodigy Michael Arroya is banned from Little League because he cannot prove that he is really only 12-years old.

—Recommended by California Young Reader Award Medal committee (students, parents, teachers and librarians)

Ages 10-14: “Cracker: The Best Dog in Vietnam” by Cynthia Kadohata

A young soldier in Vietnam bonds with his bomb-sniffing dog.

—Recommended by California Young Reader Award Medal committee (students, parents, teachers and librarians)

Pre-teens: “Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer” by John Grisham

Theodore is the son of two lawyers and has lawyer inclinations at an early age. Like the “Nancy Drew” and “Hardy Boys” sleuths, he gets involved, perhaps over his head, with a major criminal case in town, sometimes skirting the boundaries of his school and parents.

The first book ends with a cliff-hanging conclusion, so the following book, “Theodore Boone, the Abduction,” is a must read as well as the third in the series, “The Accused,” which has had a long waiting list at the library.

“Theodore Boone” is a series that will most likely develop a huge following. Although Theodore is a boy willing to take risks, his parents and home life are comfortingly stable. The appeal will range from the most reluctant readers to the adventurous.

—Recommended by Emi Wong, OC Public Libraries, Fountain Valley Branch Library

Pre-teens: “Inside Out and Back Again” by Thanhha Lai

Written in prose, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. It is a story of heartbreak, growth, and accomplishment as a new immigrant struggles to find her place in a new country and culture.

—Recommended by Kristine Russell, OC Public Libraries, Ladera Ranch Library

Pre-teens: “Dead End in Norvelt” by Jack Gantos

It is 1962 and Jack Gantos, age 12, is “grounded for life” by his parents, who fight all the time. Jack ‘s mother sends him to help a feisty old neighbor for the summer and he ends up typing obituaries. He learns a great deal about the people of his small town in Pennsylvania. What seemingly is the worst punishment of all turns out to be full of fun, adventure, and mystery. Winner of the 2012 Newbery Award, it is well worth a read.

—Recommended by Ruth Callahan, OC Public Libraries Rancho Santa Margarita Library

Pre-teens: “Summer of the Gypsy Moths” by Sara Pennypacker

The latest book by Sara Pennypacker, the bestselling author of “Clementine.” Set in Cape Code at the beginning of summer, the book tells the story of Stella, an 11-year-old girl who is living with her great aunt Louise while her mother is trying to find a job and get her act together. Louise is also a foster mother for 12-year-old Angel.

When Louise dies unexpectedly, the girls, out of fear of being removed from her home, bury her in her garden and convince those around them that she is still alive. With survival skills honed through years of parental neglect, the pair is not only able to live on their own but also manage a four-cottage vacation retreat.

Their adventures and misadventures while pulling off this somewhat unbelievable ruse make this an interesting read.

—Recommended by Mary Anne Ramsey, children’s librarian, Mission Viejo Library

Teens: “Article 5” by Kristen Simmons

In the near future, in a society where the authority is controlled by soldiers instead of police, life is under tight control. Society is enforced according to Article 5 – the Moral Statutes. Punishment for the violation of Article 5 can be harsh. People get arrested for reading the wrong books, behaving in a certain way, and disobeying the curfew.

Ember Miller, 17 years old, remembers the time when life in the United States was much different. When her mom violates Article 5 for not being compliant, Ember has to come to her mother’s defense. Ember also learns that the person who arrested her mom is Chase Jennings, the boy she is in love with. Those who love “The Hunger Games” will definitely like this book. The narrator’s voice is compelling and believable. It is definitely one of the best teen books for 2012. An excellent summer read!

—Tony Lam, Anaheim Public Library

Teens: “Anna and the French Kiss” by Stephanie Perkins

While studying abroad in Paris, Anna meets handsome Etienne, who is funny, thoughtful, and speaks with a British accent to boot. He’s perfect in every way, except he has a girlfriend. This charmingly written book captures all the longing and giddiness associated with first love. It really is a fantastic romance that sparkles with chemistry.

—Recommended by Rita Law, children’s librarian, Fullerton Public Library

Teens: “Graceling” (series) by Kristin Cashore

Katsa is a Graceling, someone who has two different-colored eyes and who possesses a special power. She has been trained by her uncle the king to kill, but when she leaves to solve a mystery in the seven kingdoms, she is joined by a Graced prince who helps her discover her true gift. Full of intrigue and romance, this elegantly written book will leave you wanting to march to the library for its sequels.

—Recommended by Rita Law, children’s librarian, Fullerton Public Library

Teens: “The Fault in Our Stars” by John Green

Books by John Green tend to feature clever, witty teens who muse poetically about growing older. Except in this book about cancer-stricken Hazel and Augustus, there is no growing older. There is only the present, and they spend it falling in love and trying to figure out what happens at the end of a book by Hazel’s favorite author. Tragic yet hopeful, this novel is one of John Green’s stronger offerings.

—Recommended by Rita Law, children’s librarian, Fullerton Public Library

Teens: “The Future of Us” by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler

Josh and Emma live in 1996 and they’ve just signed on to AOL for the first time. Miraculously, they discover their Facebook profiles 15 years into the future. Josh is ecstatic when he learns about the future, but Emma — not so much, and she races to change it. This book takes an insightful look at the immense consequences of our everyday decisions, and there is a hint of romance in it to please young readers.

—Recommended by Rita Law, children’s librarian, Fullerton Public Library

Teens: “The Disenchantments” by Nina LaCour

Ever since eighth grade, Colby and his best friend Bev have had a plan: graduate high school and spend a year traveling around Europe. But on a pre-Europe mini-tour of the West Coast with Bev’s girl band “The Disenchantments,” Colby learns the devastating truth — Bev will be going to college in the fall.

With his plans in ruins, Colby has to figure out why Bev ditched him, what he’s going to do with himself and how to make it through the next few days touring in a VW bus with the girl who crushed him. On a road trip full of friendship, love, art and music, this is a story of the journeys both literal and metaphorical the characters take to discover who they are and where they want to be and the people they meet along the way.

—Recommended by Melissa Dolby, OC Public Libraries, San Juan Capistrano Library

Teens: “Divergent” (trilogy) by Veronica Roth

This is one of the best dystopian series since “The Hunger Games.” In a futuristic Chicago, society is divided into five factions based on aptitude for honesty, intelligence, bravery, pacifism and selflessness. Tris learns in her 16th year that she is Divergent (fitting into more than one faction), which makes her “dangerous,” and she transfers unexpectedly into the faction known for bravery.

—Recommended by Rita Law, children’s librarian, Fullerton Public Library

Teens: “Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick” by Joe Schreiber

If you’re ready to move on from zombies, vampires and werewolves, how about trying teenage assassins? Lithuanian exchange student Gobi insists on going to the prom and Perry is the escort of choice. What Perry doesn’t know is that Gobi has another agenda — one that requires his driving skills and his father’s red Jaguar. On this wild and crazy night, Perry will uncover secrets and mobsters as he is chased and shot at through the streets of Manhattan. Keep a look out for the sequel, publishing in November.

—Recommended by Jill Patterson, OC Public Libraries, La Habra Library

Teens: “Between Shades of Gray” by Ruta Sepetys

In 1941, 15-year-old Lina, her mother, and brother are pulled from their Lithuanian home by Soviet guards and sent to Siberia, where her father is sentenced to death in a prison camp. She fights for her life, vowing to honor her family and the thousands like hers by burying her story in a jar on Lithuanian soil. Based on the author’s family, includes a historical note.

—Recommended by Kristine Russell, OC Public Libraries, Ladera Ranch Library

Teens: “Where Things Come Back” by John Corey Whaley

There are strange goings-on in the small town of Lily, Arkansas. First, a woodpecker thought to be extinct is sighted. Then Cullen Witter’s younger brother disappears. This first novel just won the Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature from the American Library Association. Whaley is an authentic Southern voice whose next novel may be worth waiting for.

—Recommended by Mary Smith, OC Public Libraries, El Toro Library

Teens: “The Book Thief” by Marcus Zusak

Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel — a young German girl who’s book-stealing and storytelling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding, as well as their neighbors.

—Recommended by Marie Twombly, OC Public Libraries, Aliso Viejo Library

Teens: “In Honor” by Jessi Kirby

Summer is the perfect time for road trips, and this book will fulfill your craving for a sweet and comforting road trip read. Honor’s big brother was killed in action in Iraq, and she is reeling from the loss when she receives a final letter from him. It contains a pair of concert tickets and a postscript that playfully instructs her to say hi to their favorite singer for him. With the concert only days away, Honor takes this as a last request, and heads out from their home in Texas to California in her brother’s 1967 Impala.

—Recommended by Allison Tran, teen services librarian, Mission Viejo, Calif., Library

Young Adult: “Parrot in the Oven” by Victory Martinez

Set in Fresno, Calif., this coming-of-age novel focuses on narrator Manny Hernandez, a Mexican American teenage boy from a large, troubled family. One of four children, Manny struggles to find his place in the world in the midst of woeful poverty and troubled family relationships, complete with an alcoholic, violent father, an unhappy mother, a wild sister and a wastrel older brother.

The winner of the 1996 National Book Award for Young People’s Fiction, “The Parrot in the Oven” is a worthwhile portrayal of a boy growing up in the barrio.

—Recommended by Cathy Diem, Fullerton Public Library

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