This summer, it’s tempting to let the kids sit on their iPads or watch TV. It may even be tempting to sit back and watch with them, but with all the time we have been having to spend on our various technologies due to the pandemic, it’s a good idea to unplug for a little while. And what better way to unplug than to curl up with a good book, and give the kids something to read as well? Oftentimes, we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t take a moment to breathe, to ground ourselves from all the social media and technology it is so easy to get caught up in. Sometimes, social media can overtake us and get us so stuck in our heads and in the concerns of our world. Sometimes, the best thing we can do for ourselves is to escape from the world of literature. Below you can find suggestions for all ages, from little ones to adult fiction.
For little kids, Cocoa Ice by Diana Appelbaum follows the story of two girls — one from Santo Domingo and the other from Maine. The story follows how ice and chocolate were made, and transported between the two regions to make something delicious: iced chocolate. The real star of this picture book is, in fact, the pictures. The beautiful imagery makes the reader feel like they’re really there, smelling the chocolate roasting and shivering at the icy Maine rivers. Another classic is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. While many of the aspects in this book may come off as childish at first glance, a deeper read makes this enjoyable for both children and adults. It has a boatload of important lessons for children to learn, and even appeals to those a little older, in need of some guidance.
Middle-grade books are a goldmine of various reading levels and topics. Whether your child is an older, more advanced reader, or a younger one still getting into the joys of reading, there are options for everyone. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan is one of those classic series that never gets old. It follows Percy during his summers at Camp Half-Blood as he grows up, and the adventures he and his demigod friends have. The incorporation of Greek mythology in the series makes it both a fun read, as well as one that teaches you tons about Greek history. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones is the book the famous Ghibli movie by the same name is based upon, and it’s a fantastical read. The witty characters, dramatic silly moments, and magic truly pull this book together to be a joy to read.
A genre that does not get enough credit is young adult novels. People are quick to dismiss them as lesser than because their target audience is high school students, but there are many amazing novels in the YA category. These Violent Delights is a fantasy retelling of Romeo and Juliet set in 1920s Shanghai when the Russian and Chinese gangs were head to head. However, there’s a mysterious plague running through the city, one that may make even the most unlikely of foes fight side by side. Chloe Gong is a master of writing, and her retelling is fast-paced and exciting. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelsen follows the story of two twins, from the perspective of before and after their mother’s death. This book is a beautiful story about love, art, and family — it tells the story of a family torn apart by the loss of their mother, and how they come back together.
For adult fiction, Normal People by Sally Rooney has taken the world by storm. With the Hulu miniseries being nominated four times, the book the show is based on is just as amazing. The story follows Connell and Marianne, who are somehow incapable of staying away from each other throughout their lives. They grow up in the same small town, and the book follows them from their first conversation in high school and the years that follow. They end up at the same college, in the same friend group, and cannot seem to be away from each other. The book is a beautiful story about self-identity, friendship, and what it means to love someone. People We Meet on Vacation is Emily Henry’s second novel, and the perfect beach read. Alex and Poppy have been best friends since college but had a mysterious falling out two years ago. Before their falling out, they would always go on their famous “summer trip” together, traveling to various places for as cheap as they could. But now, Poppy and Alex haven’t spoken in two years and Poppy feels unfulfilled in her life. On a whim, she reached out to Alex and they spontaneously decide to do one more summer trip together for Alex’s brother’s wedding. The book is sweet and heartwarming, and an absolute page-turner.
There are millions of amazing books out there, and whether it’s one of these recommendations or something else, it’s always good to wind down a little with a good book. Happy reading!