Whether the heroes and heroines of these books are precocious or tentative, suicidal or resourceful, disconnected or endearing, each of them bumbles along as we all did -- as we all do! -- without a handbook.
Kids are changing faster in these years of early adolescence than at any time since infancy. They're trying to figure out not only how their bodies work but who they are going to be and where they fit in.
It shouldn't matter what kids want to read. They should just read. If they want to spend half an hour doing MadLibs, or reading a sports magazine, or a comic book, or novel, or a fix-it book, or a book of jokes they should. It's all reading.
Children yearn to grow up faster than most parents want them to. One area that parents thought might still be under their watchful eye was reading. What could be the problem with reading? Believe it or not, peer pressure.
I've taken it upon myself to pick out the books I believe to have the most universally sound parenting advice. The lessons learned in these books are powerful, making them worth a second read as an adult.
As soon as I drew up summer reading lists with point systems and rewards, my 7-year-old was curled up with the dog on the couch reading Amulet (10 points) and her sister was asking why the library has to be closed on the Fourth of July.
I associate bookmobiles with summer, the coolness offered on a blistering hot day, the books offered with all the time in the world to read them. Bookmobiles still ply their trade, from Mobile, Alabama (how perfect!) to Ames Iowa.