So a summer reading list ain’t just any reading list. It’s a science, my friend. No one wants anything too ponderous over the summer. You want fun, and adventure, and mystery, and not too much thinking. Or at least, if you’re going to be thinking, you don’t want to realize you’re thinking, you know?
The following books are classics, for the most part, but exciting or funny or clever classics that pre-teen boys will love (not just boys, though. I’ve read all of these, and loved them as well!)
–The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: A whipsmart mystery with funny characters, a twisting plotline, and lots of suspense. And which sparked the following outburst from my son, “Hah! The kids are smarter than the grown-ups!” Maybe this once, my boy.
–The Giver by Lois Lowry: So many layers to this book — on the one hand, a good read with plenty of suspense, mystery and adventure…on the other, ideas and questions that stick with readers for a long time after. Is a society where you don’t experience pain, or crime, or loss necessarily a good thing? Also an introduction to dystopic fiction for kids not quite old enough for The Hunger Games, (but just as chilling, I think.)
–The Boys’ Summer Book by Guy Campbell: Not a novel, but a fun book, filled with puzzles, quizzes, instructions on pitching a tent and making a treasure map. A good book to flip through while lazing in the backyard, or to read on a summer road trip.
–Bomb: The Race to Build-And Steal-the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin: A story of spies, intrigue, deceit, risk, smart people, and the creation of the atomic bomb. Fascinating. And all true.
–The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer: I’m probably showing my bias for dystopian novels, but this is another good one…set in Zimbabwe in 2194. The three children of a powerful official disappear, and three rather unusual detectives set about finding them. A great mix of science fiction, African folklore, and plain ol’ adventure.
And you? What’s the one book you remember spending a summer reading as a kid?
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Such great recommendations! I’ll have to remember these when I go back to the classroom! Some other great ones are:
Captain Nobody by Dean Pitchford – Newt always grew up in the shadow of his older brother, a prominent high school quarterback. Then, his older brother is tackled on the field and winds up in a coma. Newt deals with the stress and finds his own talents by transforming himself into a real life superhero. Great underdog story!
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – Boys in my fifth grade loved this classic!
We love Hatchet, too! I haven’t read Captain Nobody — we’ll have to check it out.