Thursday, June 19, 2014

2014 Summer Reading List

The 2014 Summer Reading List is here and I've posted it on a page above!!! The summer reading list is put out by Anne Arundel County Public Schools every year and is a great way to find some good, grade appropriate reading material. The grades that are listed on the lists are for "entering grades". In other words, read from the list of the grade that you will be going into in the Fall. I've picked out a few of my personal favorites and interests below to getcha started. Enjoy!


Dr. Seuss is a true classic and you just can't go wrong with any of his books. Dr. Seuss started out writing children's books when he was hired to write books using a large group of core words that young children should learn. Reading Dr. Seuss books are not only fun, but very educational. Over the summer, teach your youngster some of the core words used in Dr. Seuss books and show them that they can read too!

Every child should read The Very Hungry Caterpillar! This is a great book to read before a bug hunt in the back yard!


I wasn't too familiar with the Kindergarten list, but I saw this one and it screams SUMMER! If you read it, then comment and tell us how it was!

First Grade

Everyone not only love Mo Willems, but we love the Pigeon too!! This is a whole series and one is just as entertaining as the other. Read the whole series as a summer goal!

I love this book, but can not read it aloud without crying all over myself. It's right up there with "I Love You Forever". It's about giving all you have selflessly for the ones who mean the most to you.

This is a MD Black-Eyed Susan nominee this year and SO funny! I really love this book and it's a great read aloud book. This would be a perfect book to start off an afternoon of coloring pictures using ALL the colors in the box of crayons.

Second Grade

The kids love Fly Guy! Why not? There are plenty to chose from and they travel well! This is a very popular series. Ask your kids about it and collect them all!

My Weird School is a quite a large series. It's written by Dan Gutman who also writes sports books for older kids. If you have an older and younger boy in your home, then maybe they would like to read books by the same author together!

Third Grade

Okay, I know it's a little early to think about's summer already! But this book is really cool and is all about the beginning of the Macy's Day Parade, my FAVORITE parade of the year (actually the only one I watch since I really don't like parades). If you'd like to save this one for November, then I won't tell.

These books bring back so many memories. My daughter LOVED them and they were just coming out when she was younger. I remember her patiently (well, not really) waiting for the next book. Ivy and Bean are great books for the young girls.

You're thinking the Beatles right? Right up until you get to "Ben"? Actually, they are referring to John Hancock, Paul Revere, George Washington and Ben Franklin. I've never read this (not quite sure why), but reading the reviews it looks really cute. I think I'll read it this summer. How about you?

Fourth Grade

This is a rather new book from Kate DiCamillo which came out in September 2013. I haven't read it yet, but LOVE Kate DiCamillo. Tale of Desperaux? Edward Tulane? She is an AMAZINGLY talented writer that no summer would be complete without reading at least one of her books.

Humphrey is a hamster and these books are all about his world. I've read the first book with my kids years ago and we all just loved it! I didn't know that they had come out in a series! More Humphrey! Good, fun books for summer readers!

Fifth Grade

Roald Dahl is as timeless as Dr. Seuss and they are both uniquely creative writers with their own words and worlds. I've never read Matilda, but have read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and The BFG. Pick one of Dahl's classics and enjoy the silliness that only he can write!

This was a MD Black-Eyed Susan last year and I LOVED it! The whole story ties around an Osprey in Scotland and spans out as far as Africa. It gave me a new appreciation for our own Ospreys here on the Chesapeake.

Sixth Grade

I haven't read this book yet, but I got it for Christmas so I had to include it. ;)

Joan Bauer is a very popular writer and writes mainly realistic fiction. She has quite a few books on the shelves. Her book "Almost Home" was a MD Black-Eyed Susan nominee last year.

Here she is again! Once again, I love Kate DiCamillo and this book was one of my favorites. I love the way she writes. It's like reading poetry. Pure literary candy!! Try it! You'll see!

Seventh Grade

I am not one for graphic novels. I'm trying...kinda. But hey! it's still reading and that's all good! These Bones books are really popular with the kids. Hmmmm...maybe I'll give them a try.

Neil Gaiman is a very...unusual writer. He also wrote "Coraline". I tried reading The Graveyard Book, but I had a rough time really getting into it. I hear that it's really good though so I will definitely give it another try.

I LOVED this book!!! I really liked the way it was written in that it was 2 people telling their story and how their paths cross. It was also a quick read. I highly recommend this book for both old and young alike.

Eighth Grade

If you're into dystopian tales, then this series is right up your alley. Thanks to Hunger Games and Divergent, this genre is enjoying some time in the limelight and there are quite a few series to chose. Great beach reading!

Once again, I'm not a graphic novel fan, but I really liked A Wrinkle In Time (the actual book). This is quite a thick book, but I wonder how close to the original it is.

This book keeps making a comeback on the summer reading list. Either it's really good or the schools really want kids to read it. I haven't read it cover to cover, but I have flipped through the pages and it's a good book if you have a student who likes nonfiction and history. It's all about the uncovering of the Jamestown colony and has some really good pictures as well as interesting information.

Well, those are my picks out of the summer reading lists. I encourage everyone to give them all a go and READ! READ! READ! FYI - I have not seen the lists for grades 9, 10, 11, and 12. As soon as I do, I will post them.

Happy Summer and Happy Reading!!

Welcome To Summer!!!

School is out for summer!!! Summer is an amazing time of the year that kids have been working toward all school year. It's the one thing that has never changed with time - summer break! Kids can lose a lot of what they learn thoughout the school year. Reading is a great way to exercise the brain and keep it in shape for the Fall. Before you start throwing things and screaming "BOO!" and "SUMMER HATER!", just think about it! Books make TERRIFIC beach companions! They travel well. They don't require any batteries. You don't have to keep them charged. They are time machines. They come in so many different styles and genres and shapes and sizes. WAIT! Time machines? Oh yeah!! Grab a book before your next big road trip and you would be surprised at how quick that trip goes just by reading! Yeah, summer and books go hand in hand. So hop down to Edgewater Books and find some good material for YOUR summer!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Book Pick

The Bees
By Laline Paull

Flora 717 is a worker bee. She rises from a sanitation worker to a nurse to a forager to a handmaid to the Queen. Watching and questioning the workings of the hive, Flora is not effected by the brainwashing honey or the Queen's powerful pheromones. A bee colony is one single thriving unit. Will Flora be the one to save it or destroy it.

Dystopian Fiction

Book Pick

To All The Boys I've Loved Before
By Jenny Han

Remember back to those high school days when crushes were as plentiful as fireflies in the summer? 16 yea-old Lara Jean is going through that right now and to help her get over her crushes, she writes them all letters. Letters never meant to be sent...until they are. One was to her sister's boyfriend and as she tries to deny her feelings, she claims that she is dating Peter (another former crush). Real characters in true-to-life fiction.

Teen Read

Beginning of Hurricane Season

The hurricane season began on 1 June and it will run until 30 November. Here are some popular books retelling tales from Hurricane Katrina.

And a book about the Galveston Hurricane


Dystopia. Sounds a little like Utopia, but they are polar opposites. Where Utopia is the freedom from rules and conformity; dystopia is the exact opposite. Dystopian novels are quite popular these days thanks to The Hunger Games and Divergent. Dystopia isn't a new concept though. The first dystopian novel was The Iron Heel by Jack London in 1908. You probably know Jack London from a few of his other works which include White Fang and The Call of the Wild. Other older dystopian tales are Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World, 1984, Clockwork Orange and The Giver. Those of you with middle school students should recognize The Giver. The characteristics of this genre is a society or community, generally in the future, that is undesirable and repressed by a governing body. The rules are generally very strict and often dehumanizing. I think the attraction of these books is that there is always a person, usually a timid, young or meek individual, that rises up and challenges the institutions. Here are a few dystopian series from recent years:

The Hunger Games Series

Divergent Series

Uglies Series

Matched Series