I’ve been enjoying some wonderful books during this “sheltering in place” season. Here are three recent reads that are perfect for summer enjoyment for kids from 4-9.
OUR FRIEND HEDGEHOG: THE STORY OF US by Lauren Castillo is a tender, sweet, and thoughtful story that will delight young readers. Endearing illustrations add whimsy and heart to a friendship tale destined to become a favorite.
SWASHBY AND THE SEA written by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal.
Old Salt Swashby loves the quiet life by the sea. So salty and serene. No time or need for noisy new neighbors who disrupt his peace. He writes his displeasure in the sand. But the sea knows what’s best and changes his messages until Swashby realizes maybe the sea is right. Delightful for sea lovers big and small. Illustrations add heart and soul to a tale that dances and sings the magic of the sea.
WE ARE WATER PROTECTORS, written by Carole Lindstrom and illustrated by Michaela Goade is a lyrical story of caution, celebration, and endurance. The words are a tribute and honor to the thing most important to life – water. Illustrations flow, undulate, and embrace plant and animal life and remind us how we are all one on this Mother Earth.
The author and illustrator are members of indigenous tribes who know what it means to be one with the land and all its living creatures. They show how taking action and standing up for environmental justice is important and necessary. We need books like this now more than ever.
HELLO FROM RENN LAKE by Michele Weber Hurwitz
Annalise and Renn Lake, the beloved lake at her parents resort, are connected to one another ever since Annalise was a baby. An abandoned baby found after an unexpected flood at the lake.
Annalise talks to Renn and Renn listens. Renn answers. Renn knows things about Annalise that no one else knows. Renn is a comfort, as dependable as a friend. Until one day Renn is silent.
As an algae bloom threatens to choke the life out of the lake, Annalise is determined to do something to save Renn.
A brave and beautiful tale of our interconnectedness to nature, and how when one thing in the chain of life is sick, it affects us all. Annalise and her friends become environmental heroes who
take activism to the next level and do what needs to be done to make change.
A perfect story for our time. A story that reminds us we all need to listen to as well as observe what is happening around us. Nature speaks. We just need to listen. Should be part of every STEM classroom curriculum.
The book back matter lists links to numerous science sites about lakes, rivers, algae blooms, and how to get involved in environmental causes.
TODAY IS A BEACH DAY by Nancy Viau
Come along for a trip to the beach in this lively, sensory story written in alliterative rhyme. Little ones will experience the sights, sounds, textures, tastes, and feelings a day of sand, sun, and surf have to offer. A perfect read-aloud for the youngest beach lovers.
And finally, my own book, filled with summer fun: WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY (Creston).
Here is what three teachers had to say about the book:
“Wishes, Dares, and How to Stand up to a Bully is a brilliant book written in verse that gives readers a look into the world of Jack, his family, and friends as they navigate difficult issues. This book, while taking place in the 60s, resonates with readers today. So much wisdom and hope are spread throughout the pages of this book. My fifth graders loved it.”
“This beautifully written novel-in-verse tugs at the heart strings. Jack and Jill have reeled in a magical one-eyed fish that grants wishes. When Jill’s wish doesn’t quite go as planned, Jack realizes that it really is important to be careful what you wish for. I couldn’t put the book down, and my class enjoyed it just as much as I did. This one will be read year after year with my fourth-graders!”
“Wishes, Dares, & How to Stand Up to a Bully is a wonderful book filled with heart. The characters are sweet, relatable and lovable. They grapple with big issues, which Jacobson handles deftly and honestly. Like books by Linda Mullaly Hunt and Donna Gephart, readers will feel how much Jacobson cares about young readers. A fantastic historical fiction story in verse that I’d not only read again, but also share with other educators for their students.”
I will give away a signed copy of WISHES, DARES, AND HOW TO STAND UP TO A BULLY + a classroom activity packet to a teacher who leaves a comment sharing one of the books you recommend for your student’s summer reading. If you share this post on your social media, let me know and I will add your name a second time to the list. One winner will be drawn at random and announced on this blog later in the month.