Welcome Summer!

June 21, 2016


I am sitting on a deck in Michigan on a beautiful day and looking out at the glittering lake. I hope your summers are going as well as mine, and you are enjoying lots of happy family times in the warm weather. We receive such a limited number of these perfect summer days, so I try to make the most of every one!

This  past month has been a whirlwind of family activities! We drove to Lubbock, Texas, to attend our niece, Haley’s Honor Ceremony and Graduation from Texas Tech. She is now a Speech Language Pathologist and we couldn’t be prouder! It meant so much to us to be able to be a part of the special weekend. We then visited old friends in Colorado and Kansas and created lots of special, new memories. The fun didn’t stop there. We then returned home and hosted a wedding shower for our niece, Kelly! Now we are looking forward to her July wedding and to our niece, Julia’s shower and wedding later this summer. It’s a little crazy, but giving us so much joy and great family memories!

I know school has been our for many of you for a few weeks now, and because I remember what happens once the newness of summer vacation begins to wear off, I want to share some books that might add some fun and joy to your summer. Some of these are for the parents and teachers, and some are for the kids.



Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman, is perfect for all of your little ones who are fascinated by nature and are bombarding you with questions! I gave this to a special little neighbor and he keeps it by his bed, making sure it’s always available to answer his questions. It is a wonderful book for any family who loves the outdoors and are taking those summer walks to the park or the woods or the beach. And as a bonus, that this former librarian loves, it introduces the concept of research to your kids!

henry david thoreau

 Henry David Thoreau for Kids by Corinne Hasfield Smith, a tour guide at Thoreau Farm, in Concord Massachusetts, has written a book which is a good choice for parents and kids to read together to introduce older children to the wonders of the world. It provides background about Thoreau and 21 hands on activities that relate and honor Thoreau’s ideas, such as  keeping a daily journal, planting a garden, baking trail-bread cakes, going on a half-day hike, and starting a rock collection. It even integrates technology with nature activities such as describing and providing a link to a birdcall identification app.



If you are looking for a feel good book that will inspire you to read to your kids every day, this is it! In The Reading Promise Alice Ozma shares the story of her father reading aloud to her for eight straight years. If you are wondering if spending so much time each evening reading to your children, is truly worth it, this will surely convince you that it is!


I first read about Thirty Million Words by Dana Suskind last fall, and immediately knew I wanted a copy. Dr. Suskind  is a Cochlear Implant Surgeon who discovered the true value of talking to and with your children from birth through age three. She  was concerned about why some of the children who were returning to see her for their post operative appointments were so talkative and some were not. Were the cochlear implants not successful with some children? However, after much research she discovered that some of the children were hearing lots of language in their homes and some were not. This book will tell you how to create the “best language environment” for your child. It will help you to understand why the first step to successful lives for our children is to simply talk to your children in a way that builds their brains. This is a perfect gift for young parents and early childhood teachers.

reading picture books to children

I first learned about Reading Picture Books to With Children by Megan Dowd Lambert on the Eric Carle Picture Book Museum Facebook page. I truly think it’s an important book that all teachers and librarians need to read! It describes the techniques to use when reading aloud to help the children interact with the story and to truly see and understand the importance of the pictures and to get them to “think with their eyes”. I always thought it was so important to interact with the kids when I was sharing a story (that’s why my story times were always so long!), but this opened my eyes to new techniques and vocabulary to use during my story times in the future.



The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, a Newberry Honor book for 2016, is the story of Ada and her brother, Jamie, during World War II in both London and then the English countryside. I read this in a few hours. I just couldn’t put it down! Children will learn so much about history during World War II and the impact that it had on the children.

Ada has a club foot and her mother is very ashamed of her. Ada is never allowed to leave their one room apartment in the slums of London and is punished by being locked in the cabinet under the kitchen sink. When Ada learns that Jamie is leaving on the train with many other London children to escape the war and live with families in the English countryside, she decides she must go with him. This story describes their adventure beginning with their escape from their apartment, their harrowing train ride and then their new life in a small village. Because Ada has never left her apartment, she has so much to discover and to learn to trust. You share her joy, as well as her terror that she may have to return to London and face the wrath of her mother.


Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood tells the story of Gloriana June Hemphill and her life in Hanging Moss, Mississippi, during the summer of 1964. Glory is so excited. School is out and it’s just a few weeks until the most important day of the year – her birthday on the 4th of July. Every year she celebrates in the same way. She invites all of her friends to have cake and ice cream and to go swimming at the town pool. However, this year things are different. There are rumors that the town pool may close because it must now be integrated. Glory can’t believe it, so she decides to write a letter to the town newspaper to protest. The story is a memorable novel about family, friendship and making choices.


Finally, I want to remind you to visit my past posts that will give you some more ideas for your kids when they just don’t know what to read next!

Beginning Chapter Book Series List is Here!

New Picture Books for All Ages!

New Kids Books You Don’t Want to Miss!

The Chapter Book Series List has Arrived!

Are there some books you would like to suggest for the summer reading lists? Please let us know in the comments below.

Happy Summer!

More about Susan

Hi! I'm Susan, a wife, a mom and a recently retired elementary school librarian with 22 years of experience. One of my greatest joys is to connect kids with a perfect book, which then leads them to a lifelong love of learning. Through my blog, I'm hoping to reach parents, their children and teachers to help them find those special books. I’m also hoping to offer some tips and techniques to use with your children as you read aloud.

I appreciate your comments!

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