1. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Leisl Shirtliff
I loved this book about Rumplestiltskin's background! Rump is a poor boy living in the Mountain area of his kingdom. His mother died shortly after his birth and his father was already dead. His grandmother raised him until she died when Rump was 11 or 12. Right before his grandmother's death, Rump discovers his mother's old spinning wheel in the wood pile. He brings it in and his grandmother vehemently discourages him from using it. Not surprisingly he doesn't listen and he's soon spinning gold. Spinning gold gets him into some binds, but takes him on an adventure to find the rest of his name (which will reveal his destiny) and his lost family. I think I'm going to start the year with this. It's got everything a 5th grader will love: humor, solid theme, play-on-words, and symbolism, but it's done in a very age-appropriate manner. This is a great read!
2. The Colossus Rises by Peter Larangis
I give this one 3.5 stars. I think kids would give it 4 or 5 stars. The story is full of action, very similar to a Rick Riordan read. I liked the premise that it's based around the seven wonders of the world. There is so much fantastical action that I had trouble keeping up and I often found my mind wandering. The end of the book just cut off, without wrapping up loose ends. Obviously, the next book will pick up right where this one left off, but I'm not a fan of just cutting off a story. I think I could certainly recommend this to kids that love the fantasy/sci-fi genre and kids that love Percy Jackson or The Red Pyramid series.
3. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
Somehow, I'd never read this entire book! It was wonderful. Melody is stuck in a wheelchair and cannot talk, but she can think and yearns to speak. She convinces her parents to buy her a medi-board, which allows her to type (with one thumb only) words that the board can speak for her. Melody experiences a whole new world when she can use her talking board at school. She even makes the quiz team and they qualify for a trip to Nationals in Washington D.C. Then, tragedy strikes and Melody has to decide who her real friends are and what it means to be loved.
4. The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann
I enjoyed this first book in the Unwanteds series. In a nutshell, a group of children is selected every year as "unwanteds" because they've somehow demonstrated some form of creativity in an society that does not value creativity. Said children are sent to a "death camp", which proves to be a lovely world filled with creative artists. The book focuses on a group of kids fighting against their "home" country of Quill when the Quillians discover that the death camp isn't a death camp at all. Reminded my a lot of an updated version of Harry Potter.
5. Doll Bones by Holly Black
A story of three kids on the brink of adolescence who have a last adventure together and try to find their way in the ever-changing world of tweendom.
6. Matched by Ally Condie
Wow! This is one of the best young adult books I've read (listened to) in a long while! Cassia lives in the society and is matched at age 17 (through genetics) to her best friend Xander. However, when she consults her microchip to learn more about Xander, Ky Marcum's picture comes on the screen, leading Cassia to become curious about her match. Was she really supposed to be with Xander, or is she destined to be with Ky? More than a love story, this is an intriguing look at what the world has become and how controlled its citizens are. I would love to read this book with a group of middle school students and have a discussion about the society in which the characters live.
7. Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson
What I love about the Hattie books are the strength and determination of a young woman in the early 1900s. Hattie left Montana in the first book and ventured to San Francisco in the second book to follow her dream of being a reporter. She's a plucky, self-sufficient female that doesn't have to rely on the good graces of men to find her way in the world. Bravo Hattie and Kirby Larson!
8. Otis and the Tornado by Loren Long
Another cute installment in the Otis collection. The farm animals are afraid of the bull on the farm because he is not kind to them. When a tornado strikes, however, the bull is scared and Otis comes to his rescue.
9. The Princess and the Potty by Wendy Cheyette Lewison
This is a great book about a princess that has no desire to use the potty (sound familiar?). She decides to go potty on her own terms. Gives me a speck of hope...
This will be especially meaningful for any of you that know me or my husband and our struggles with potty training our soon-to-be four year old (yes, you read that correctly).
10. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
I LOVED this book about a brother and sister separated at an early age and all of the people in their lives that intertwined bringing about their eventual reunion. One of the best books of 2013!
This list pales in comparison to other summers, when I was a reading machine. However, I've devoted copious amounts of time this summer to writing. Trade-offs, right? I do plan on getting a few more books in before school starts. And, of course, reading never stops. I'll be reading right through the school year.
Leave a comment and let me know what your favorite summer read has been, be it picture book, early readers, middle grade books, YA, or adult. I'm always looking for books to add to my ever-growing "to-read" list. Happy Reading!