Summer Reading Rec: The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles

June 28th, 2020 by

last-last-day-of-summerDuring your summer vacation, I bet the last thing you’re looking for is a story about the end of summer. Maybe you even wish you could freeze time and make the summer last longer. Well, you may want to reconsider all that after you read The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles!

Here’s the official description from the publisher:

When two adventurous cousins accidentally extend the last day of summer by freezing time, they find the secrets hidden between the unmoving seconds, minutes, and hours are not the endless fun they expected. Otto and Sheed are the local sleuths in their zany Virginia town, masters of unraveling mischief using their unmatched powers of deduction. And as the summer winds down and the first day of school looms, the boys are craving just a little bit more time for fun, even as they bicker over what kind of fun they want to have. That is, until a mysterious man appears with a camera that literally freezes time. Now, with the help of some very strange people and even stranger creatures, Otto and Sheed will have to put aside their differences to save their town — and each other — before time stops for good.

To be totally honest, I haven’t read this book yet. So why am I suggesting it to you? Because someone I really trust recently recommended it: author Jason Reynolds, the current National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature! PBS asked him about some good “escape reading” for the summer, and this is the #1 book that Jason Reynolds suggested. Here’s how he described it: “I think it’s a brilliant book about young kids who are spending the summer in Virginia and go on sort of a whodunit magical fantasy.”

So if this book is good enough for Jason Reynolds, well then it’s gotta be good enough for the rest of us, right? How about we all read it over the summer, and then come back here to share our thoughts with each other in the comments below? I’m looking forward to hearing your reviews!

Also, feel free to leave a comment about other summer must-reads you think everyone should check out!

— Karen

Here are some other books Karen plans to read this summer: The Only Black Girls in Town by Brandy Colbert; A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée; the new Hunger Games prequel (The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins); and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by the above-mentioned Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. So many good books! Karen really wishes she could just sit and read all day every day. With ice cream.

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#Summerreading Party!

June 1st, 2012 by

summer-readingI love wearing my Hufflepuff scarf and my Mockingjay pin to show off my Harry Potter and Hunger Games pride. Loving those books is a big part of who I am. But what’s cool is that other fans can instantly recognize me as a kindred spirit. And it goes both ways — like the other day when I stopped a stranger on the street because he was carrying a District 2 backpack!

But how can we have the same experience with everyone in the world, instead of just the people we see in person? Well, The New York Times has the answer!

On June 7th, they’re hosting a day for everyone to shout out their summer reading plans. Kids and adults from all over the planet are invited to post their thoughts on summer reading and/or the books on their personal to-read lists. Throughout the day, The New York Times will re-broadcast their favorites!

Here’s the only catch: the whole thing will take place on Twitter, which most of you guys probably are not on because you’re under 13. But that’s where we come in — just leave a comment here before June 7th and we’ll tweet it on your behalf on the big day! And if your contribution gets re-posted by The New York Times, you can bet we’ll report it here!

Not sure what you want to say? The New York Times has some ideas:

  • What you want to read — or have to read — this summer
  • Wonderful, or awful, memories of summer reading
  • Quotes about summer reading, or about reading in general
  • Book recommendations for others
  • Summer book club ideas
  • Summer site-specific recommendations: best beach books, camping books, car-trip audio books, family-reunion books, etc.
  • Best places to summer-read, or best things to eat and drink while summer reading
  • Thoughts about the concept of “summer reading” in general. For instance, why isn’t there “fall reading” or “winter reading”?

For my part, I have SO MANY things to say about summer reading, I already know one tweet won’t be enough to express them all. It’s going to be like a chorus of songbirds, I’m gonna tweet so much! For example:

Gonna read Wonder by RJ Palacio, Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu, and Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire by Polly Horvath! #summerreading

If not too hot, my fave #summerreading spot is Central Park. When it’s sweltering, I turn on AC & read in my armchair w/ pint of ice cream.

Best #summerreading memory = racing through new Harry Potter bks. My eyes tripped over the words, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen!

What do YOU have to say? Leave a comment, and we’ll tweet it for you! And don’t forget to leave your first name and your age — we’ll include that when we post.

Happy summer reading!

— Karen

Karen always has trouble writing tweets because she likes to use lots and lots… and lots and lots… and lots of words. The Twitter character limit is like torture for her!

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Illustration from Allen County Public Library, IN

Summer Re-Reads

July 7th, 2011 by

Recently, someone posted this question to kidlit lovers around the interwebs: Is there any book you read over and over again every summer?

My short answer: No.

But obviously, I’m going to treat you all to my long answer; otherwise, this would be a very teeny blog post!

So here’s my long answer:

Since new Harry Potter books and movies often come out in the summer, I usually re-read old HP books in preparation. So, I guess you could say I read that series (in part) every summer.

But if you consider that cheating, then I’ll have to turn to a childhood favorite that I used to read over and over again: The Baby-sitter’s Club Super Special #1: Baby-sitters on Board! Yep, that’s right. Not exactly high-brow literature, but completely entertaining, and I LOVED my copy to tatters. It’s because of those girls’ adventures on a Disney cruise that I begged and begged my parents to take me on a similar vacation.

And was I successful? Well, we did make it to Disney World, and I eventually went on a cruise with a friend many, many years later. But I’m sorry to report that I did NOT meet a “stowaway,” go on a hunt for buried treasure, charge a manicure to my cabin, or meet a ghost — all of which happened in the pages of Baby-sitters on Board! I DID stuff my face on snacks, but that’s not so different from my normal life anyway…

So, what about you? Is there any book that you read over and over again every summer? If not, maybe it’s time you find one! Check out our recommended reads for this fun-filled, sun-filled season:

— Karen

Have you ever eaten a barbeque dinner at 5:00 pm and then a full three-course meal at 7:00? Well, Karen has. And if you want to, then she highly suggests you go on a cruise.

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Authors’ Summer Reading Lists

June 13th, 2010 by

Soon summer will be in full swing, and hopefully you’ve already started tackling your summer reading lists! Karen and I did some sleuthing and discovered that authors have summer reading lists too — check out what some of your favorite authors are planning to read in the coming months. (Thanks to School Library Journal for the scoop.)

Kimberly Willis Holt, author of Piper Reed, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, and The Water Seeker:

Kathi Appelt’s Keeper will be among the first. 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass looks delightful enough to slip into my picnic basket. Elsa Hahne’s You Are Where You Eat might be a cookbook, but the stories about New Orleans neighborhoods and the folks that live there add a dimension to my reading palate like a hefty dose of New Orleans hot sauce splashed on red beans and rice. And who knows? Maybe I’ll take the book into the kitchen.


Amy Krouse Rosenthal, author of The Wonder Book:

Because I hope/plan/pray to finish my (first) novel this summer and worry about the influence of literary giants and their magnificent voices seeping into my easily distractible brain, I will (sadly) be trying NOT to read much this summer. This will be a first, and every fiber in my body will be aching to read, I assure you. Can you ask me this question again in September?

So, there you have it — the only reason that it’s okay NOT to read: to write. 🙂 (Yes, I know there’s sleeping, eating, breathing, exercising… and a lot more reasons. But you know what I mean.)

From Jay Asher, author of Thirteen Reasons Why:
[NOTE: This is a book for teens with some pretty heavy themes, so we’re not recommending this one for you guys — but we are into what this author is reading this summer!]

New middle-grade fiction: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger, and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead.

Middle-grade fiction that I loved as a child and I’d like to see if I can understand why (it’ll be depressing if I can’t): Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald, and The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois.

Middle-grade fiction that I did not love as a child and I’d like to see if my tastes have changed (I doubt they have): Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes.

Middle-grade fiction that I always wanted to read as a child but apparently never got around to (my inner-child will be pleased): James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, and The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

I like this very analytical approach Jay Asher has taken.

From Daniel Pinkwater, author of Adventures of a Cat-Whiskered Girl and The Hoboken Chicken Emergency:

I was a nightmare of a student — or I would have been if any of my teachers cared to notice. I was mistrustful, suspicious, and resistant. I made a point of never reading assigned books, and I kept this up all the way through college. “Did you read the assignment?” “No, but I found this other book.”

As soon as school was over, every summer became a marathon of reading my own choices — at least a book a day. Later, when I became a writer, I discovered a trick: If I didn’t read, I would be compelled to write, just to get my fiction fix. The more I wrote, and the more projects I had in hand, the less I would read in order to keep myself going, until I did no reading at all, except for little vacations from writing, when I would gobble up books in the old way. Summer, which for the first half of my life had been the great reading season, also turns out to be a great writing season.

It's a whale of a book!

This summer I expect to be working on a novel, so my summer reading list is as follows: nothing at all, if possible. Unless the novel gets stuck, in which case I might read [Miguel De Cervantes’] Don Quixote, The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior by Clarence Pfaffenberger… I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb, The Meaning of Modern Sculpture by R. H. Wilenski, or, Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick… there are plenty of books lying around.

Mr. Pinkwater, The New Knowledge of Dog Behavior looks intriguing, but I think you should tackle I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President before Moby-Dick… Otherwise you’ll never finish the novel you’re writing! [NOTE: Except for I Am a Genius of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President, all of Daniel Pinkwater’s summer reading pics were written for adults. But hey, if you’re up for a challenge…]

So that’s what some authors are reading this summer. How about you? What’s on YOUR summer reading list?

— Nancy

Nancy is a procrastinator, so she’s actually still working on her Spring Reading List. Of 2008.

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