It’s summer reading list season! As always, I began by selecting the required books for each level. This is Inly’s “one book” program – a book to create a starting point when the kids return to school September. This year’s titles are:
The Kitten and the Night Watchman by John Sullivan (This gentle story of a watchman who finds a kitten on a construction site is a 2018 picture book standout. As the man continues his rounds, he keeps his eyes open for his new little friend, and of course, they are reunited. What struck me the first time I read Sullivan’s book is how rarely a picture book puts a man in the role of protector and caregiver – not to mention that man must be the only security guard who is at the center of a picture book. This book celebrates work, family, and caring.)
Our grade 1-3 teachers are trying something new. I shared some ideas with them, and faced with so many good books, they selected three – and are asking their students to select one (or all three!) to read over the summer. The books are:
Night Job by Karen Hesse and illustrated by G. Brian Karas (the recipient of three starred reviews, this book is the story of a bond between a father and his son. The New York Times review read, in part: “Karas’s dusky paneled art gives a feel of enchantment and adventure as the boy sweeps floors, shoots hoops, reads and falls asleep while Dad finishes working. He’s added an extraordinary dignity and tenderness to this picture of working-parent reality and a loving, physically close father-son bond.”)
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (A classic – and Newbery winner – that we’ve selected as summer reading before, but the kids and the teachers love it. Applegate’s novel about the friendship between Ivan, a captive gorilla, and Ruby, a baby elephant, is a powerful story about friendship and courage.)
New Kid by Jerry Craft (A new graphic novel about a black boy navigating life in two different worlds: an upscale private school where he is one of the few kids of color and his Washington Heights neighborhood)
And the Toddlers…
Our toddler program does not have one book, but rather they receive a list of new books for very young children. I wanted to look beyond the toddler classics like We’re Going on a Bear Hunt and Brown Bear, Brown Bear, as wonderful as they are, and suggest books that were published in the past couple of years.
And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner
A celebration of summer’s unique joys: lemonade, fireworks, parades!
Eric Carle’s Book of Many Things by Eric Carle
It’s all in here – food, feelings, things in the ocean and on the farm – with Carle’s signature tissue paper and watercolor art work.
Rhymoceros by Janik Coat
A funny book about a blue rhinoceros and rhyming words.
Snakes on a Train by Kathryn Dennis
This train’s passengers – and crew – are snakes. Bright colors and wonderful word play.
Oink by David Elliot
A pig thinks he is going to have a quiet bath time, but a horse, a sheep, and a donkey have other ideas.
These Colors are Bananas by Jason Fulford
An innovative and interactive approach to colors that will expand your child’s view of the world around them.
Puppy Truck by Brian Pinkney
A little boy wants a puppy, but gets a truck. That’s okay with Carter – he puts a leash on his truck and they head to the park!
One Is a Pinata by Roseanne Greenfield Thong
Count in English and Spanish while looking at colorful seasonal festivals.
How to Give Your Cat a Bath: In Five Easy Steps by Nicola Winstanley
An “off-screen” narrator gives a little girl five steps to bathe her cat, Mr. Flea. To put it mildly, Mr. Flea has other ideas!
I finished three books this week:
It’s Trevor Noah: Born a Crime (Adapted for Young Readers) by Trevor Noah (We are considering adding the young readers edition of Noah’s best selling memoir to the middle school curriculum so it moved to the top of my stack. I had been interested in reading Noah’s book for awhile so it was a happy assignment that did not disappoint. Noah’s story of growing up in South Africa with a black mother and white father is incredible.)
Green Almonds: Letters from Pakistan by Annaele and Delphine Hermans (Published in France in 2011, this graphic memoir/collaboration is a true story about two sisters: Annaele is in Palestine working for an aid organization while her sister, Delphine, remains at home in Belgium. Annaele’s experience traveling between Palestine and Israel helped me to understand what life is like for people living in occupied territories. It takes a complex situation and makes it real – and even more tragic.)
The Great Paulie Fink by Ali Benjamin
And that picture at the top of the post…..sisters at their first Red Sox game. One of them brought two books along. Good idea – baseball games move slowly!