Children's Books for Parents and Teachers - book reviews and suggestions for parents and teachers.
Summer

Remember when summer seemed endless? The hazy days were filled with trying new things, making new friends, visiting family, and having fun in the sun. And there were special moments–even stay-at-home adventures–you treasured long after the season had gone. Savor summer memories–and turn students onto literature–with these great reads.

The Summer of May

The Summer of May

By: Cecilia Galante, Tad Carpenter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Level: 10-11

Begrudgingly, May chooses summer school and ultimately learns that her teacher has a secret past—and might just hold the key to answers no one else will give May about her mother.

Order this book from AMAZON.com

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

Summer of the Gypsy Moths

By: Sara Pennypacker
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Level: 10-11

Stella loves living with Great-aunt Louise in her big old house near the water on Cape Cod for many reasons, but mostly because Louise likes routine as much as she does, something Stella appreciates since her mom is, well, kind of unreliable. So while Mom “finds herself,” Stella fantasizes that someday she’ll come back to the Cape and settle down. The only obstacle to her plan? Angel, the foster kid Louise has taken in. Angel couldn’t be less like her name—she’s tough and prickly, and the girls hardly speak to …

Order this book from AMAZON.com

A Long Way from Chicago

A Long Way from Chicago

By: Richard Peck
Publisher: Dial, 1998
Level: 12-13

This year’s Newbery Honor book is a collection of stories about a very different kind of grandmother. Each August from 1929 through 1935, Joey and Mary Alice leave Chicago to spend a week with Grandma Dowdel in rural Illinois. The life and people there, especially Grandma, are very different from anything or anyone the children encounter in the big city. In seven funny stories, one for each summer, Grandma comes across as a tall-tale hero, surprising Joey and Mary Alice with her antics.

Order this book from AMAZON.com

Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered

Harris and Me: A Summer Remembered

By: Gary Paulsen
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Level: 14+

A young city boy is sent to spend the summer on his aunt and uncle’s farm. Though he has lived many places over the years, he has never experienced anything like farm life . . . and he has never met anyone like Harris, his daredevil of a cousin. If the two of them can survive wrestling three-hundred-pound pigs and mouse-hunting with toothless old Louie’s fire-spitting pet lynx–which, unlike his master, has plenty of teeth–they just might make it through the summer!

Order this book from AMAZON.com

Canoe Days

Canoe Days

By: Gary Paulsen
Publisher: Doubleday, 1999
Level: 8-9

“Across water so quiet it becomes part of the sky, the canoe slides in green magic without a ripple.” Even readers who have never been in a canoe or visited a lake will paddle along with Paulsen as he describes a day on the water. The spare text makes a perfect read-aloud, so don’t be surprised if listeners fall under Paulsen’s spell. After all, any noise might frighten the fawn at the lake’s edge or the sunfish darting below its surface.

Order this book from AMAZON.com

Floating Home

Floating Home

By: David Getz
Publisher: Holt, 1997
Level: 8-9

Eight-year-old Maxine doesn’t create a world, but gets a glimpse of her own from a new perspective–she blasts into space. Despite extensive training, she’s unprepared for the awe-inspiring moment when she sees the Earth from her capsule. As Max gazes on the planet, she observes that, unlike maps, “The Earth has no lines to divide it into states and countries . . . . It’s just one Earth.”

Order this book from AMAZON.com

Ugly Vegetables

Ugly Vegetables

By: Grace Lin
Publisher: Charlesbridge Pub Inc
Level: 8-9

A little girl can’t help but wonder why she and her Mom are growing plants in their garden that are so different from the pretty flowers their neighbors have. Mom says they are growing something better than flowers, but the little girl is not convinced until they harvest the vegetables they have grown, and something unexpected happens …

Order this book from AMAZON.com

The Big Field

The Big Field

By: Mike Lupica
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Level: 12-13

For Hutch, shortstop has always been home. It’s where his father once played professionally, before injuries relegated him to watching games on TV instead of playing them. And it’s where Hutch himself has always played and starred. Until now. The arrival of Darryl “D-Will” Williams, the top shortstop prospect from Florida since A-Rod, means Hutch is displaced, in more ways than one. Second base feels like second fiddle, and when he sees his father giving fielding tips to D-Will-the same father who can’t be bothered to show up to watch …

Order this book from AMAZON.com

Summer

Summer

By: Karen Kingsbury
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Level: 14+

Hollywood actor Dayne Matthews and Katy Hart are married and living in Bloomington, Ind., where Dayne has found a solution to his on-camera love scenes-he wants Katy to star in his next film. Katy wins the part and is cast opposite her super-star husband. The story of a small town girl’s dream come true is too much for the press to resist, and in an effort to appease them, the couple agrees to a 12. It seems like the perfect compromise but by the time they finish filming the movie, …

Order this book from AMAZON.com

The Lemonade War

The Lemonade War

By: Jacqueline Davies
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Level: 12-13

As the final days of summer heat up, so does a sibling showdown over a high-stakes lemonade stand business. Jessie and Evan Treski compete to see who will make $100 first off of their respective lemonade stands. Full of surprisingly accessible and savvy marketing tips for running a stand (or making money at any business) and with clever mathematical visuals woven in, this sensitively characterized novel subtly explores how war can escalate beyond anyone’s intent.

Order this book from AMAZON.com