- Darcie Caswell
Though some of our area kiddos are still wrapping up the school year, the Summer Reading program is in full swing at the public library, with registration open for all ages - and kids and teens already earning incentives for reading. Keeping kids and teens reading over the summer is vital to prevent “summer slide” (summer learning loss), and Central Rappahannock Regional Library makes it easy to keep books in their hands. Reading suggestions for all youth are easy to come by at CRRL. Librarians love to help readers find their next great reads and have created Good Reads lists, available at every branch and online, for reading suggestions for students in kindergarten through high school. For middle schoolers, there is also CRRL’s Cafe Book Top Picks list, where they will find the titles that over 800 area 7th and 8th graders selected as their favorites from this year’s Cafe Book reads. In addition to booklists, CRRL also offers the Book Match and My Librarian services, where CRRL librarians give personalized reading recommendations to readers of any age.
With summer in the air and on my mind, I’ve been looking for picture books that will get children thinking summer thoughts. Here are a few of my current favorites.
Dude! by Aaron Reynolds
It only takes one word to capture the fun, adventure, delight, wonder, fear, and satisfaction of two surfboarding friends. When they hit the beach, surfboards in hand, "Dude" says it all. When they feel the exhilaration of riding a wave, "Dude!" is all that needs to be said. When they see a shark? "DUUUUUDE!" This silly book puts more meaning into one word than you'd ever think possible.
Goldfish on Vacation by Sally Lloyd-Jones
One summer, an old neighborhood fountain is cleaned up and transformed into a giant home for goldfish, where the local children can bring their shiny pets for a "summer home." Siblings H, Little O, and Baby Em can't wait to bring their goldfish, Barracuda, Patch, and Fiss. Neighborhood children meet and play when they drop off their fish and throughout the summer as they stop by the fountain to visit.
Grains of Sand by Sibylle Delacroix
A little girl and her brother are sad about having to leave the beach at the end of their vacation. As the girl takes off her shoes, sand pours out, and she decides to plant the grains of sand, spreading them across the garden. What will grow? "Maybe a field of beach umbrellas" or "a forest of pinwheels" or "a crop of ice cream." The little girl imagines all the wonderful, beachy things that could grow from seeds of sand.
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Having just passed his swimming test, Jabari is ready to jump off the diving board. Initially excited, as he waits in line to climb the ladder, Jabari begins to feel more nervous. He lets other kids go ahead of him while he thinks about it, then starts up the ladder. But he gets tired on the climb so comes down to take a little rest. After contemplating trying the diving board another day, Jabari is reassured when his dad tells him that it is okay to be scared and that, if you stop and think about it, some scary things really feel more like surprises. Jabari thinks about the diving board, thinks about how much he likes surprises, then climbs up again and takes a big jump!
Round by Joyce Sidman
A young girl marvels at all the round things she loves: seeds, eggs, berries, stones, bubbles, and more. Droplets of water and the ripples they make when they fall on a river or lake are round, as are the centers of some flowers, and a full moon. She loves the smoothness of round things and how the shape is often comforting. She loves how sometimes round things show nature at work when they grow into other things or hide surprises inside. Round is a fun way to inspire a closer look at the world around us, especially with a child.
This article originally appeared in The Free Lance-Star.