Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kate DiCamillo's Summer Reading List



KateDiCamillo_RaymieIt's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Kate DiCamillo and that her most recent book, Raymie Nightingale is one of my favorites this year. So, what books would an award-winning author and voracious childhood reader like Kate DiCamillo recommend for kids in that sweet spot of the middle grades this summer? 

In this piece written exclusively for The Amazon Book Review, DiCamillo shares a memory from her own childhood and a handful of titles that have what it takes to be an unforgettable summer read.
 


I grew up in a small town in central Florida in the 70s.

I lived on a dead-end street called Sunset Drive.

Sunset Drive was at the top of a hill. The street ended in orange groves and overgrowth. Below the overgrowth, at the bottom of the hill, there was a lake—Lake Minnehaha.

There were seven kids on our street, and we were together all the time.

We built a secret fort in the orange grove. We used the patio on the back of our house as a stage and put on plays. We roller-skated and skateboarded down the hill. We walked through the overgrowth down to the lake and swam. We piled into station wagons and went to the library and to the public beach at Lake Minneola.

We read books.

We explored.

We dreamed.

We had a lot of freedom and a lot of questions.

Raymie Nightingale takes place in central Florida in the 70's. It is about three girls who become friends, three girls who have a lot of freedom and a lot of questions, three girls who explore the world together.

I thought it would be great to put together a summer reading list of books that captured that sense of possibility, that feeling of friendship and freedom--a list of books that ask big questions, books that search for answers.

 

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By Christopher Paul Curtis
The Watson family goes to Birmingham in 1963 and we get to go with them. This book is laugh-out-loud funny, deeply moving and thought-provoking.
 

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By Katherine Paterson
Jess and Leslie are friends. Together, they have created a secret kingdom in the woods called Terabithia. This book is filled with heartbreak and big questions and love.
 

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By Liz Garton Scanlon
Twelve-year old Ivy Green tells the story of one great, good summer—a summer of adventure and despair and hope.
 

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By Rita Williams-Garcia
It is 1968 and three sisters fly from New York to California—where all kinds of adventures unfold. This book is about sisterhood, motherhood and selfhood.
 

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By E.L. Konigsburg

I read this book when I was a kid and what I remember more than anything is how everything felt possible. I won't tell you what happens. I will only say that you will never go into a museum again without thinking: anything can happen, anything can be, mysteries are everywhere.

 

 

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