It's almost June and you know what that means. School will be out. Children will be left to their own devices. During hours of endless sun and aimless wandering, you will hear, over and over again, "I'm bored. There's nothing to do." There are only so many times you can say, "Go play, Mommy's having a gin and tonic." before you'll feel like a bad parent. I'm here to help. It won't solve all of your problems, but having a stack of books at the ready gives you something to offer when the whining gets to be too much. Throw some books in the beach bag, keep them on the porch, or put a pile next to your kids' beds. If you have girls, that may be enough. If you have boys, those traditionally reluctant readers, you may need to suggest a specific book, challenge them to a reading contest, or subtly suggest that they might not be ready for such a hard/scary/complicated story. Reverse psychology works every time.
To make sure everyone's happy, this list includes board books, young adult novels (or "YA" as they're often referred to) and everything in between. If your kids are reading by themselves, send them to a shady patch under a tree to thumb through some of these. If you're looking at three months of bedtimes for your younger ones, I've included a long, long list of picture books.
And yes, I've grouped them for boys and girls. Please, don't yell at me in the comments. I am not saying that your girls can't read the boy books, or vice versa. I know there are girls who love sports and construction trucks and boys who love Eloise and playing house, and they should all get to read whatever interests them. But, if you know your son likes traditionally male things (and by this I mean bugs, cars or baseball), I've got you covered. If your daughter loves princesses and bunny rabbits, you'll find that with the "girl" books. There is plenty in between. And parents, don't let the fact that these are "children's" books keep you from taking a peek between the covers. Books written for older kids have gotten incredibly interesting in the past decade -- ever heard of "Harry Potter," "The Hunger Games" or "Percy Jackson"? If you get up early enough, no one will ever know. My lips are sealed.
Whatever you choose, here's to a summer without whining, unless your kids are asking for another trip to the library or bookstore to stock up.
On the next page: Books for Boys
Follow Devon Corneal on Twitter: www.twitter.com/dcorneal