Eight Summer Reads for Eight-Year-Olds….

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Following last week’s post which featured six books for six-year-olds, today we focus on eight-year-olds.  So many good books – it’s hard to select only eight. But if pressed by a very persistent child looking for suggestions, this is the pile of books I would give to him or her:


Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (Published in 1938 and a Newbery Honor Book in 1939, Mr. Popper’s Penguins has never been out of print. There’s even a 2011 movie starring Jim Carrey – which I’ve never seen.)


The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeannie Birdsall (The first book of the nostalgic and comforting books about the Penderwicks family. There are now three sequels, including the recently published The Penderwicks in Spring. Every time I read one of Birdsall’s novels, I’m reminded of reading books like Anne of Green Gables and Little Women in the dark and cool rooms of the public library in Xenia, Ohio.)


The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng (The first in a series of books about Anna Wang.  Cheng’s short novels are told in first person so readers can empathize with Anna’s questions, the challenges of friendship, and in the first book – the joys of reading!)


Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary (The classic book about being eight. What I remember most vividly about this Ramona book is that it’s the one where she throws up in her classroom. That fact alone seals the deal when kids aren’t sure about checking it out!)


Frindle by Andrew Clements (Nearly 15 years of recommending books to kids, and I’ve yet to meet a kid who doesn’t like Frindle. Even the most reluctant readers love the story of Nick Allen who comes up with a new name for the pen – frindle.  Just last week a parent asked me to recommend a book for her son who “can’t find anything he likes.”   I gave her Frindle.)


Firebird by Misty Copeland (A picture book with bold and colorful illustrations by Christopher Myers. Structured as a conversation between Copeland, an African-American soloist with American Ballet Theater, and a young black girl, Firebird is an inspiring and beautiful book.  By the way, the Boston Ballet water bottle was already on the table – a perfect prop!)


The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (A 2014 Newbery Honor book, Henkes’s chapter books for new readers follows a year in the life of second grader, Billy Miller. Each of the novel’s four sections is told from the point of view of someone in Billy’s life: his teacher, his father, his mother and his three-year-old sister. This one would be a fun family read-aloud!)


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (I am including the greatest novel ever written on the list for eight-year-olds, but in truth it could go on lists of books for any age.)

Although it’s cold and rainy today, there are hopeful signs of summer everywhere…..




And it’s never too early for a fall preview!  Judging from last week’s book-related podcasts and blogs, here’s a preview of books that generated buzz during last week’s BookExpo America in New York City:


In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware (The next Gone Girl?)


The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (a continuation of Stieg Larrson’s Lisbeth Salander series)


City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg  (The author received a $2 million advance for his 900-page debut novel set in 1970s New York)


Purity by Jonathan Franzen (Purity Tyler doesn’t know who her father is, but she wants to uncover his identity. “There’s a kind of fabulist quality to it.  It’s not strict realism. There’s a kind of mythic undertone to the story,” Franzen’s editor said.)

Next week – Ten Summer Reads for Ten-Year-Olds…







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