Summer Reading: It’s Fundamental

by Cate on July 5, 2011

Nick's Collection in Progress
For as long as I can remember, reading has been a huge part of my life.  Growing up, having a tv in our bedroom was not allowed.  But more often than not, you could find me in my bedroom, door closed, lying on my bed, completely engrossed in a good book.

The Trixie Belden series.

Nancy Drew.

Beverly Cleary.

Judy Blume.  Who could forget being forbidden to read Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret?

The Sweet Valley High girls.

I dove head first into The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and the rest of the Narnia world.  Escapism at its best.  And without a remote.

Roald Dahl and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Followed by James and the Giant Peach.

How to Eat Fried Worms.  Which was more recently turned into a fun movie that I introduced the kids to.

Some Favorites
Books have been such a big part of my life, and still are to this day, that it has always been important to me to pass a love of reading on to my kids.

I started them both with Good Night, Moon.  Nothing made me happier than seeing Madeline love the story as much as Nick did.  Words read from the very same copy I read from years earlier.

We read Dr. Seuss regularly.  The faster, the better.

Freckle Juice.

I counted nine bookshelves in the house.  Organized by type or by owner (mine versus the kids).

When Mystic’s teenage daughter mentioned that she wants to be a writer and is working on a few creative writing pursuits, I was thrilled.  She also mentioned she loved reading mysteries.

Have you ever read Nancy Drew?


Hardy Boys?

She shook her head.

Trixie Belden?

None of them.  Terrible!  These are classics.  I started keeping an eye out for copies for her during garage sale pursuits and trips to the used book store.  I’m building a collection of the original Hardy Boys series for Nick (an idea I stole from my sister – thank you!), and Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and Judy Blume for Madeline when she gets older.  And now a set for Mystic’s daughter.  These are all titles and authors that should be passed on from generation to generation, without question.

This weekend I got her copies of a few Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books, included a quick note with them, hoping that she enjoys them as much as I did when I was her age.

For the past two years, Nick has kept a summer journal.  I think it’s excellent practice for his handwriting and reading skills, and it’s fun to look back on the previous entries and see what he wrote.  This year is no exception, and Madeline will be doing the same.

And since it’s summer time, that also means summer reading lists.  He has a couple books to read as he readies himself for fourth grade, and there are a few national summer reading incentives that are perfect motivation for your little reader at home too.

TD Bank will give you ten bucks for your child’s current (or new) account if you fill in their form and turn it in.

Borders will give you a free book for your summer reading, as will Barnes & Noble.

There are plenty more places that are doing summer reading motivators (Half Price Books and the Old Spaghetti Factory, for example) – these are just a few that are local to us.  I’m ignoring the Chuck E. Cheese one.  No one needs to be tortured that way.

Tonight we read If You Give a Pig a Pancake.  We vacillate between a book for Madeline, or Nick reading to her, and reading a chapter in one of Nick’s books.

We would love to hear some of your favorite classic must-reads!

July 5, 2011 – Bonus Photos
Camp Recuperation
Madeline recuperating from her first morning of summer camp.

Dining Al Fresco
The weather was too deliciously warm not to eat dinner outside tonight. Loving it.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Merry120 July 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I love summer reading. My grandparents had a huge collection of books including Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys that dated back to when my mom was a kid. I can still remember their old, dusty smell. It totally reminds me of summer & reading outside in the sun.


Cathy July 5, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I’ve never heard of Trixie Belden ~ but most of the others were faves. How about the Little House books? I read and reread those many times. Also the Harry Potter books (not a classic from our childhood) ~ as much as I thought I wouldn’t I really enjoyed them!


mandy July 5, 2011 at 10:10 pm

I grew up reading my mom’s hardback Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon series. Such amazing books. Someone suggested I get rid of them a few years ago, but I refused. I can’t let those go!

I love that you are collecting those books for your kids. What great treasures. One of my favorite books as a kid was Sadako and Thousand Paper Cranes.


claire July 5, 2011 at 10:23 pm

I can’t say that I would call them classics…but I read most of the babysitter club books. I think The Boxcar Children are great, fun books for younger “Chapter book” readers. Little house of the Prairie and Anne of Green Gables hit the top of my list as well. OH…and SUPEFUDGE!!! Nick would love it!


Joanne July 6, 2011 at 6:22 am

I have distinct memories of my mother having to limit the amount of books I was allowed to take out of the library! Nancy Drew, Beverly Cleary, and Sweet Valley High were all high on my lists of childhood favorites. Oh, and the Baby Sitter’s Club and American Girl books too!


carrie July 6, 2011 at 8:23 am

I am so with you on all of this and I second Claire with Anne of Green Gables! And I love the idea of starting a Hardy Boys collection. We ate dinner outside last night, too. I *just* picked up a bunch of Curious George books from the library and a used book store, and I’m personally reading Francine Prose’s My New American Life.


Kate July 6, 2011 at 9:30 am

I was sick as a kid and reading was my only escape. Today I read 3-5 books a week, it is the one thing I would never give up. As a child I worked my way through every family member’s bookcase but my favorites were Tarzan, Bomba- Boy of the Jungle, and anything Thornton W. Burgess wrote about animals.
All series from my grandfather’s boyhood. Nothing says exotic to a farm kid in the mid-west quicker than a jungle setting, and animals are always good. No wizards or magic, just solid imagining in far away places.
Thanks for the stroll down memory lane.


Paula Ann July 6, 2011 at 11:48 am

My son, who is now 11, loved the “Hank the Cowdog” series. He also loved all of the “Junie B. Jones” series. I actually enjoyed reading them with him. Another favorite, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”.


Ramona July 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm

I read all those books years ago.


Sarah Caron July 6, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I was never much of a Nancy Drew fan, but Sweet Valley Twins, The Baby-Sitters Club and anything Judy Bloom or Beverly Cleary could get me enthralled anytime. R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike too. Oh, and Lois Lowry.


Michelle July 8, 2011 at 10:46 am

I loved Trixie Belden too as a child! My daughter is finally old enough to start reading series books and has taken on the HUGE Harry Potter books to start. She is loving them and I am loving that she is loving it!


patsy July 18, 2011 at 9:51 pm

Ok, you HAVE to tell me where the used book store is! I can barely keep my oldest in books – and he just picked up the 7th Harry Potter book… hoping that one takes longer than the 6th one did!

For me, I adored Beverly Cleary and Judy Blume books! I hope to introduce some of the more fun classic books like Treasure Island and such to them soon. For my boys… they are into the “graphic novels”: Bone (it’s a whole series), Diary of a Wimpy Kid…


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