Summer is the best time for reading aloud, whether you’re reading on your back porch or snuggled up on the couch. And when it comes to bedtime reading, no school wakeup means you can indulge requests for “just one more chapter.”
WAYS to Make Sunshine by Rénee Watson, illustrated by Nina Mata
If you love the world of Ramona Quimby and the other inhabitants of Klickitat Street, you’ll love this book about another ordinary family living in Portland and dealing with the oridinary issues of growing up. The stories of Ryan Hart and her family are sweet and funny and ones that children will relate to – from moving to a new house to hunting for treasures at the Portland Saturday Market with her best friend. The sequel, Ways to Grow Love, just came out in April so it’s the perfect time pick them both up.
The Wishmakers by Tyler Whitesides, illustrated by Jessica Warrick
I don’t even know where this book came from, but when we were looking for a new title for a family read-aloud, the girls picked this one and they were all fans from page 1. The main character opens a jar of peanut butter and discovers a genie inside. But he’s not limited to three wishes – he can have as many wishes as he wants! The only problem is that with every wish granted comes a consequence. Oh, and also? He needs to use wishes to save the world from destruction. If you have readers who love a book that’s a little on the wacky side, this is the book for them! (We read the sequel, The Wishbreakers, which was also very fun).
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Ghost is a very fast runner – starting with a run from his dangerous father when he was a little boy. Now, he mostly runs away from his problems until an Olympic-runner-turned-coach sees Ghost’s incredible raw talent and wants to help him harness it for the Junior Olympics. But Ghost will have to stop running from his past in order for that to happen and that might be the hardest thing he’s ever done. This is the first book in a four-book series, each of which focuses on a different member of the track team. Jason Reynolds is a big name in the world of children’s literature for good reason – this book is FIRE.
Houdini and Me by Dan Gutman
This was one of our most recent read-alouds and my girls were absolutely transfixed. They didn’t know much about Houdini before this and we all loved the photographs of the real Houdini scattered throughout the book. In this story, Harry is a young boy who lives in the house Houdini once inhabited and loves learning more about the famous magician. But things take a surprising turn when he discovers an old flip phone and it starts receiving texts from someone who claims to be the real Harry Houdini. Could it be possible? And what does Houdini want?
mrs. frisby and the rats OF NIHM by Robert C. O’Brien
Some Newbery winners don’t really stand the test of time. Others, like Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM, REALLY really do. This is one of the books I remembered mostly clearly from my childhood and I worried that my girls wouldn’t be into it, but we were all transfixed by this story of Mrs. Frisby who knows her tiny mouse son will die without help and finds the help she needs in the rats who live behind the rose bush on the farm and don’t interact much with the other animals. It’s such a fun read-aloud for both an adult and a child.