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The First Coast Connect Book Club: Student Summer Reads

Flashlight Press

Have a K-12 student at home looking for something new to read?

In this month's First Coast Connect Book Club, local book blogger Stacey Goldring has combed through the Just Read Florida! 2013 Summer Recommended Reading List for these great titles.

Grades K-3

I Always, Always Get My Way by Thad Kranesky and David Parkins

This story focuses on the clever antics, advantage-taking, limit-testing, and childhood shenanigans of 3-year-old Emmy.

When Emmy spills her dad’s orange juice, she takes refuge behind mom’s knee. Expecting a reprimand, Emmy is surprised when Mom tells Dad, “Now, sweetheart, you should let it be. After all . . . she’s only three.” 

Saavy Emmy takes and runs with the golden mantra: “I’m only three!” 

I Always, Always Get My Way is full of clever rhyming text and great ink and watercolor illustrations. Emmy and readers find out that outrageous behavior has consequences.

This title reminds me of a favorite I read to my sons, Maurice Sendak’s Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue.

Credit DK Publishing

Grades 4-5

Do Not Open by John Farndon

Do Not Open is, like many books from DK Publishing, fabulous, because every page is a port of entry to the book. It doesn’t matter where you open it! Like a museum exhibit, the reader is free to roam.

Rather than reading it straight through, Do Not Open encourages readers to jump around and explore a variety of interesting oddities, mysteries, and the unexplained, such as:

  • Who Are the Men in Black? 
  • Bermuda Triangle, 
  • Optical Illusions
  • Conspiracies
  • Great Escapes
  • Anastasia the Lost Princess
  • Time Travel
  • Alchemy
  • Hidden Pictures
  • Hoaxes
  • Spontaneous Combustion
  • And the timely, newsworthy topic: Global Eavesdropping!

The book is well-organized and plain fun. 

Credit Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Grades 6-8

The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

If a children’s summer reading list is to be trusted, than it must contain at least one title by Elaine Konigsburg. 

Konigsburg, who lived in Jacksonville, died a few short months ago. A master of young adult literature, she wrote the classic From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, which won the Newbery Medal almost 30 years ago. 

The View From Saturday also won 1996 Newbery Medal. It is a story of friendship that weaves together brilliantly a sixth-grade Academic Bowl team, the art of calligraphy, retirees of Century Village, Florida, a genius dog named Ginger, and a holiday production of Annie.

Credit Alfred A. Knopf Publishing

Grades 9-12

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

New York Times bestseller for seven years running. A film adaptation is coming to movie theaters on November 15, 2013, so read it now!

The Book Thief is a story about the ability of books to feed the soul. Set during World War II in Germany, Liesel Meminger, is a foster girl living outside of Munich. She survives by stealing something she can’t resist - books. 

With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.

Its lush words are great for students and adults alike.

This book has been selected as a Common Core State Standards Text Exemplar (Grades 9-10, Stories).

For more great reading suggestions, visit Stacey Goldring's blog Chapter Endnotes.