Many years ago I worked at a summer reading club with particularly odorous prizes. I use the adjective advisedly. The club was sponsored by McDonald’s, and the rules were simple: read seven books, give a brief oral report on each, and get a hamburger. Kids worked out pretty soon that thirty-five books meant five hamburgers, and the picture book shelves quickly looked like the sack of Rome. The moral of the story is to never put books between children and food.
I’m sorry to sound like your mother, but reading is its own reward. It is the Horn Book’s luxury to believe that, and pretty much everything we do proceeds from that core credo, including this summer reading list. The criterion for each of the choices was simple: did we think someone would enjoy reading it even if he or she wasn’t promised a side of fries? (I hasten to add that we strongly approve of eating while reading, and a good book goes with anything.) Forget prizes, forget rules, forget test scores and reading-retention rates: we think all fifty of the books on this list are fun to read in and of themselves. Chow down.
For a handy take-along list of titles, download our printable PDF.
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