There were six kids waiting for me at Barnes and Noble. Ranging in age from 4 to 17, they were there to select their summer reading and, after showing me how to play Angry Birds on the Nook, we went book shopping. How fun is that! In the space of one hour, I went from looking at early readers featuring princesses to selecting a good novel for a young woman entering her senior year in high school. We didn’t shop in order of age, but here are a few titles that made it into our basket beginning with the youngest…
1. A princess early reader. I forget which one and admittedly, it was a story featuring a Disney princess. Obviously not my first choice, but we were at Barnes and Noble which is like the cereal aisle in the grocery store where all of the sugar-filled boxes with toys inside are right at a kid’s eye level. Low hanging fruit! While Barnes and Noble was the perfect place to be for the older kids, the marketing-driven displays made it a bit harder to coax the younger two kids to consider a non-Disney book. The children’s mother and I exchanged looks to ackowledge our losing battle in this round. And you know what – it’s fine. The two younger children (who both bought movie-based early readers) were so excited. I know they have many wonderful books in their home and school, and it’s summer. Hard to argue with the pretty pink cover that sparkles!
2. The next shopper was a boy entering 7th grade who likes fantasy and enjoys a good series. He’s read all of Rick Riordan and a few other series that spring to mind, but he’s never read anything written by Jenny Nimmo. We selected Midnight for Charlie Bone, the first entry in Nimmo’s The Children of the Red King series.
3. After making a pile of possibilities for the boy entering 9th grade, he chose Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork and Things Not Seen by Andrew Clements.
4. The two high school girls, both strong readers, have required summer reading to tackle this summer, but we added a few things to our increasingly heavy shopping basket. The oldest daughter read Lisa See’s novel Shanghai Girls last summer and she was very happy to learn about the sequel – Dreams of Joy.
One more book made it into our final purchase. I was looking at the featured biographies when this title jumped out at me: The Story of Charlotte’s Web: E.B. White’s Eccentric Life in Nature and the Birth of an American Classic. There has perhaps never been a more perfect book for me to read – other than the classic on which this one is based. An entire book about my favorite story in the whole world. It’s shaping up to be a good summer!