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July 3, 2013 - Jane Whitmore
During the summer months it’s natural for students to want to get away from the books. But, as parents, we want our children to keep reading...especially through the summer. It’s important that our young readers stay connected. A number of years ago, Bonnie Bogen provided a reading list for my then-young son. Her hand written list has yellowed with age, but the list of books stand the test of time, providing interesting reading for Middle School age students. I went to Wikipedia to refresh my knowledge of Bonnie’s list of books: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. A science fiction fantasy novel, first published in 1962. The story revolves around a young girl whose father, a government scientist, has gone missing after working on a mysterious project called a tesseract. This is the first in L’Engle’s series of books about the Murry and O’Keefe families. Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat. An amazing true story of life among Arctic wolves, published in 1963. It has been credited for dramatically changing the public image of the wolf to a more positive one. It is presented as a first person narrative of Mowat’s research into the nature of the Arctic wolf. The Once and Future King by T.H. White, an Arthurian fantasy novel. Published in 1956, but believed to be a composite of earlier works written between 1938 and 1941. The central theme is an exploration of human nature regarding power and justice, as the boy Arthur becomes king and attempts to quell the prevalent “might make right” attitude with his idea of chivalry. But in the end, even chivalry comes undone since its justice is maintained by force. Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, a series of seven novels: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; Prince Caspian; The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; The Silver ?Chair; The Horse and His Boy; The Magician’s Nephew; and, The Last Battle. It is considered a classic of children’s literature and is the author’s best-known work. Set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a fantasy world of magic, mythical beasts, and talking animals, the series narrates the adventures of various children who play central roles in the unfolding history of the world. Children are magically transported from the real world to Narnia, where they are called upon by the lion Aslan to protect Narnia from evil and restore the throne to its rightful line. These books span the entire history of Narnia. The Other Side of the Mountain by May Justus. An American author, Justus has written numerous children’s books, almost all of which were set in Appalachia and reflect the traditional culture of her native East Tennessee. Most of these books also appear on a list of “good reads” for Middle School students. My grandson, who just completed his first year in Middle School, read Middle School: The Worst Years of My?Life the summer before fifth grade. The book is by James Patterson and Joel thought it was great. He has also been reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid. by Jeff Kinney. My cousin’s young daughter was enthralled with The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale, based on the Brothers Grimm fairy tale. There are a lot of great books out there -- classics and new stories. Head to the library and check out something that strikes your fancy -- hard copy or e-reader. Everyone needs a little down time for reading this summer.
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