You can feel it in the air. You can see it in the dark circles under teachers’ eyes. You can hear it in the restless rumble of every classroom. You can smell it in the school clothes piled high on bedroom floors. Students can taste it in the school lunches that were once Pinterest worthy bento box art and are now a slice of bread and leftover Easter (who are we kidding, Valentine’s Day) candy.
Summer is coming.
Just not yet.
Right now, we are still in the throes of dark circles, restless rumbles, school clothes laundry that still will not wash itself, and school lunches no one cares about anymore (except the kids, their whining gives me the impression they still care).
Right now, the tardy slips, missed homework assignments, and the forms begging for parent participation at the 100 end of the year parties are piled up higher than all the stacks of art and school work you brought home from Open House with every intention of properly storing and preserving for posterity.
Right now, parents, teachers, and students alike are dragging each other to that glorious last day of school.
Summer is coming.
Just not yet.
Except we don’t even care that it’s not here yet. In our minds, this school year is done. No one has energy for this school year anymore, but when thinking about summer suddenly the ideas come flooding in. You will hike, you will creatively prevent the summer brain drain, you will actively engage the children’s minds and bodies, you will read together, you will eat healthy lunches, on and on and on the list goes.
These things absolutely will happen.
Except when they don’t. Which, in my experience, usually starts around week two of the ten week break, when all (every.single.one) of your amazing, inspiring ideas are already used up. You begin to hear the first makings of the sentence that will, all too soon, be fully expressed as, “I’m bored.”
But that is a problem for another day. Today our creative minds are ready for summer. This is the sweet spot when we have the ability to think about summer with excitement and relief. And so it is the perfect time to start thinking about summer reading lists.
Let’s start with books for the middle grades because, of all the young students, they are the most ready for summer. Unless I am counting wrong, and I likely am, there are 11 weeks of summer break, so here are 11 books to get your reader started.
- The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
- The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
- The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood
- The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
- Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
- The Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
- Wonder by R. J. Palacio
- Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
- Pax by Sara Pennypacker
- A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
- The Genius Files by Dan Gutman
If your child or student is looking for something more topical, here are a few blog posts to reference:
For those junior high age kids, I suggest giving them a rest from the plethra of dystopian love triangles and challenging them a bit. The Newberry Medal Winners list is an excellent reading list. The books are relatively short and consistently fantastic. It will be a good recalibration for your older reader.
Ah, recalibration! We all need it.
Summer is coming. Just not yet.