Last Call for Beach Reads!

EDITOR’S NOTE: If you have kids in the Huntsville City School system, I hope you’ve started your mandatory summer reading assignments already! If not, we demystified the program for you in this post – get to reading!

Hey, did you know there’s only one more month left of reading freedom before school starts?

Only ONE more month of non-school assigned reading? Only ONE more month to enjoy delving into a story poolside while the kids splash each other?

ONE MORE MONTH.

If you’re going to make your end of summer reading minutes count, you’ll want to spend it on quality entertaining reads. To this end, I offer you: Lexie’s List of the Best Books of 2013 (So Far).

For the Pre-K Crowd

Crayons Quit
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Crayons have feelings too, in this funny back-to-school story illustrated by the creator of Stuck and This Moose Belongs to Me.

If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano
In this quiet and beautiful picture book by Julie Fogliano and Erin E. Stead, the team that created the book And Then It’s Spring, a boy learns exactly what it takes to catch a glimpse of an elusive whale.

Open This Little Book by Jesse Klausmeier
What will you find when you open this little book? A fun story? Sweet characters? Enticing pictures? Yes! But much more. Open this book and you will find…another book…and another…and another…

Steam Train, Dream Train by Sherri Duskey Rinker
The dream train pulls into the station, and one by one the train cars are loaded: polar bears pack the reefer car with ice cream, elephants fill the tanker cars with paints, tortoises stock the auto rack with race cars, bouncy kangaroos stuff the hopper car with balls.

That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems
Inspired by the evil villains and innocent damsels of silent movies, Willems tells the tale of a hungry fox who invites a plump goose to dinner. As with the beloved Pigeon books, kids will be calling out the signature refrain and begging for repeated readings.

Perfect for School Age Kids


Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer by Jane O’Connor
Nancy Clancy and her best friend, Bree, have love on the brain—after all, they’re learning about the human heart in science class! But when the girls decide to play matchmaker, nothing works out as planned.

The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors
When Ben Silverstein is sent to the rundown town of Buttonville to spend the summer with his grandfather, he’s certain it will be the most boring vacation ever. That is, until his grandfather’s cat brings home what looks like . . . a baby dragon?

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle
Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune?

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Kyle Keeley is an ardent fan of all games: board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the building of the new town library. Kyle wins a coveted spot to be one of the first 12 kids in the library for an overnight of fun, food, and lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors remain locked. Kyle and the other winners must solve every clue and every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route. And the stakes are very high.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy
It’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows – a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies – Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. (Okay, so technically, this is cheating. The Apothecary didn’t come out in 2013. But it’s sequel, The Apprentices, DID! However, you need to read The Apothecary first.)


Best Books for Teens



Spirit and Dust by Rosemary Clement-Moore
Daisy Goodnight can speak to the dead. It’s not the result of a head injury or some near-death experience. She was just born that way. And she’s really good at it. Good enough to help the police solve the occasional homicide. Also check out it’s precursor novel, Texas Gothic by Rosemary Clement-Moore.

Out of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys
It’s 1950 and the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie Moraine wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Shadow and Bone (Grisha Trilogy) by Leigh Bardugo
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. (Okay, so this is also a cheat. This title did not come out in 2013, however it’s much anticipated sequel, Siege and Storm DID! You’ll want to read Shadow and Bone first.)

The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson
More than anything, Joel wants to be a Rithmatist. Chosen by the Master in a mysterious inception ceremony, Rithmatists have the power to infuse life into two-dimensional figures known as Chalklings. Rithmatists are humanity’s only defense against the Wild Chalklings—merciless creatures that leave mangled corpses in their wake.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one. Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see.

For Grown-Ups

Inferno by Dan Brown
In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date. In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology, Robert Langdon, is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
The summer that Nixon resigns, six teenagers at a summer camp for the arts become inseparable. Decades later the bond remains powerful, but so much else has changed. In The Interestings, Wolitzer follows these characters from the height of youth through middle age, as their talents, fortunes, and degrees of satisfaction diverge.

The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
In The Golem and the Jinni, a chance meeting between mythical beings takes readers on a dazzling journey through cultures in turn-of-the-century New York.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Forty years ago, our narrator, who was then a seven-year-old boy, unwittingly discovered a neighboring family’s supernatural secret. What happens next is an imaginative romp through otherwordly adventure that could only come from Gaiman’s magical mind.

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal by Mary Roach
America’s funniest science writer takes us down the hatch on an unforgettable tour. The alimentary canal is classic Mary Roach terrain: the questions explored in Gulp are as taboo, in their way, as the cadavers in Stiff and every bit as surreal as the universe of zero gravity explored in Packing for Mars. Why is crunchy food so appealing? Why is it so hard to find words for flavors and smells? Why doesn’t the stomach digest itself? How much can you eat before your stomach bursts? Can constipation kill you? Did it kill Elvis?

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