Monday, April 3, 2017

Summer Reading: Books that both Boys & Girls Will Love (ages 6-10)

Summer Reading Books that both Boys and Girls Will Love

 (ages 6-10)  

We like to read together every night, so finding books that appeal to both of their interests given their age, gender, and well, just being different people, has been challenging.  One child is a girl, one is a boy, and there are two years separating them.  One is logical and likes the adventure or humor.  The other is more feeling and relationship centered.  She likes adventure, but not over the dynamic of the relationships.  So to find books they both stay interested, and doesn't make me want to stab myself in the eye with a fork as I read it to them has been challenging.  I mean I love some Magic Treehouse but I was so done by the third book.  Not only did we all enjoy these books, but I found a lot of them on the clearance shelves of my local Half Price Book Store, so probably a safe bet you can find them at your used book store or definitely at your library.  

Here is a list that they makes us all happy in no particular order:

1. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George 

Not Your Typical PrincessThe lead is a smart, talented independent girl.  She has to save her kingdom and her parents in this book. She has an older brother, but this is Celie's story.  So win win to find a strong female lead in a Fantasy book who is also the younger child! Happy Day for little sis.  

Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. 

2.  Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

This is a story about being more than you've been told you can be and listening to your own inner voice.  It shows how effective a good marketing campaign can be. 

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

3. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andres Edwards

Did you know that Mary Poppins wrote a book?  And, of course, it's great because it's Mary. Freaking. Poppins. 

The Whangdoodle was once the wisest, the kindest, and the most extraordinary creature in the world.  He disappeared one and created his own wonderful land (with other remarkable creatures) where he could rule with "peace, love and a sense of fun"—apart from and forgotten by people.  However, Professor Savant remembers and believes in the Whangdoodle and together with three children they go off in search of the Whangdoodle.  But waiting for them was the scheming Prock, who would use almost any means to keep them away from his beloved king. Could the four travelers use their wit, skill, and determination to discover the last of the really great Whangdoodles and grant him his heart's desire?

4.  Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIHM

My teacher read this to us in fourth grade (Thank you, Mrs Borger, the best teacher EVER).  That year she read this book, and "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler", "The Box Car Children," and "A Wrinkle in Time" That was the year my life changed.  I discovered whole other worlds existed, and I could go almost anytime I wanted.  This is the year I became "a reader".  Oh, and my kids enjoyed them too. 😉

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma.

5. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Did you ever dream of running away as a child, but weren't sure exactly how to pull it off?  Well, these two kids do, and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  How cool is that?

When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.

Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it?   Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.

6. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner 

Ah, an oldie, but goodie.  It is the story of four orphans who set up house in a box car.  I spent hours in the summer building places in my yard I could live in like these kids did in their boxcar.  There is just something about imagining you can survive on your own with stuff you find (in your parent's garage or shed of course).  Spoiler alert: It has a happy ending.   They find their wealthy grandfather, and go on to have many other adventures in the start of this mystery series.  

7. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

Mrs Piggle-Wiggle is like Mary Poppins' crazy old aunt.  Probably from whom she learned everything she knows about children.  
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house and smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them.

8. Horton Half-Pott by Tom Angleberger

This is called a "Middle Grade" novel, but my 7 year old adn my 9 year old loved it.  There is some humor, puns, and the like that may go over their head, but there is enough direct humor that they won't miss it.  This book is funny.  My son has read his Origami Yoda series (about three times) and loved them.  I can't vouch for them, since I have't read them myself, but all I know is that I didn't see him fro a couple of days as he burned through them.  He jumped on the chance to read another book by him.  

This is a mystery that begins when M'Lady Luggertuck loosens her corset (it's never been loosened before!), thereby setting off a chain of events in which all the strict rules of Smugwick Manor are abandoned. When, as a result of "the Loosening," the precious family heirloom, the Luggertuck Lump (quite literally a lump), goes missing, the Luggertucks look for someone to blame. Is it Horton Halfpott, the good-natured but lowly kitchen boy who can't tell a lie? Or one of the many colorful cast members in this silly romp of a mystery.

9. The Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon, illustrated by Garth Williams

This one is a classic.  A Newberry Award Honor Book from the '60's.  One night, the sounds of New York City--the rumbling of subway trains, thrumming of automobile tires, hooting of horns, howling of brakes, and the babbling of voices--is interrupted by a sound that even Tucker Mouse, a jaded inhabitant of Times Square, has never heard before. Mario, the son of Mama and Papa Bellini, proprietors of the subway-station newsstand, had only heard the sound once. What was this new, strangely musical chirping? None other than the mellifluous leg-rubbing of the somewhat disoriented Chester Cricket from Connecticut. Attracted by the irresistible smell of liverwurst, Chester had foolishly jumped into the picnic basket of some unsuspecting New Yorkers on a junket to the country. Despite the insect's wurst intentions, he ends up in a pile of dirt in Times Square.  What follows is a delightful adventure of this cricket and his unlikely friends (a city-wise mouse and cat) and his friendship with the boy's whose family owns a newspaper stand.  

10. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Pick anything up by Kate DiCamillo.  My daughter has read "The Tiger Rising", my sone has read "Because of Winn-Dixie" and "Tale of Despereaux".  This one is on the list and not the others only because we read it together.

Once, in a house on Egypt Street, there lived a china rabbit named Edward Tulane. The rabbit was very pleased with himself, and for good reason: he was owned by a girl named Abilene, who treated him with the utmost care and adored him completely.  And then, one day, he was lost. 

Kate DiCamillo takes us on an extraordinary journey, from the depths of the ocean to the net of a fisherman, from the top of a garbage heap to the fireside of a hoboes' camp, from the bedside of an ailing child to the bustling streets of Memphis. And along the way, we are shown a true miracle — that even a heart of the most breakable kind can learn to love, to lose, and to love again.

11. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

I confess, I hadn't read the book until I read it with my kids.  I had seen the movie of course, and boy were we short changed!! The book is totally different.  All the characters were there, but Hollywood really sucked the beautiful message, meaning and depth right out of it and replaced it with glitter and technicolor and the shallowness of a puddle.  The soundtrack was good though - I'll concede that.  It's a good movie, but it differs from the book so much that I may have the only two kids on the planet who hate the movie.  Don't even ask them about it because they go off on a tirade. (I have no idea how they got so opinionated. 

😇 ) So it you want to enjoy the movie with your kids, then watch the movie first, then read the book.  This is probably the only time you will get this advice from me. 

12. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

This may be the best book ever or tied with Phantom Tollbooth for me.  I can't imagine anyone not loving this.  Maybe save it until your youngest is at least 7, but can be enjoyed through Middle School.  The main characters range in age from 5 to 13, but the 5 year old isn't your "typical" 5 year old.  This is a great read to introduce your child to the Science Fiction genre.

It was a dark and stormy night (omg, you know a book that starts off this way is going to be sooooooo goooood!); Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. 

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?

13. The Phantom Tollbooth by 

If you love puns, clever use of words, tongue in cheek humor humor, you will love this book.  As an adult, this is my favorite book.  I suggest reading it with your kids (or handing it to them to read if they are a little older, maybe 8+) this summer the first time you hear the words, "I'm bored." come out of their mouth.

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .

14. Wayside School by Loius Sachar

Buy the box set if you can find it.  Trust me on this.  These are funny, short reads, perfect for reluctant readers to get them interested in reading (seems to work especially well for boys).  

There was a terrible mistake - Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirteenth floor.

15. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S.Lewis

This is a classic - a great classic, so it has to be on the list.  My kids also enjoyed "The Magician's Nephew" which is the prequel to "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" (even though I believe it was published after).

They opened a door and entered a world--Narnia--the land beyond the wardrobe, the secret country known only to Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Lucy is the first to stumble through the back of the enormous wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old country house, discovering the magic world beyond. At first, no one believes her. But soon Edmund, Peter and Susan, too, discover the magic and meet Aslan, the Great Lion, for themselves. And in the blink of an eye, they are changed forever.

Now, Go Read a Book!!!

Looking for other Fun Summer Activities: 

If you are looking for other fun kid activities, check out this cute post (and by the way, staying on the book theme...There are a ton of cute Rainbow Magic Books about Fairies from Daisy Meadows - great first chapter book for girls):  Magical Fairy Doors: How to Create Memories with your Child

1 comment:

  1. A great list. Some already read but a lot we haven't. I've added a bunch to the kid's list of must reads.