Summer Reading Lists

Because we subscribe to The New York Times we get part of the Sunday paper on Saturday, including The Book Review. That’s why this morning, while drinking coffee and eating Silver Palate’s thick and rough oatmeal with pump juicy raisins, I know that the issue dated 5/31/09 is devoted to “Summer Readings.” I counted the titles and found 15 fiction books, including 2 for children and 62–yup, sixty-two–nonfiction books, including 10 about cooking, 12 about gardening, 6 about travel and 4 about music, plus there was a nonfiction essay.
That ratio of fiction to nonfiction books, however, will be flipped, on the 2009 summer reading lists that teachers and librarians compile for children & young adults; in fact, in my experience, many–if not most–of those summer reading lists will have no, or only a few nonfiction books, or list books as nonfiction that aren’t like the Magic School Bus.
Let’s challenge the hegemony of fiction on summer reading lists for children and young adults & compile a list of nonfiction books; please send me your recommendations! Thank you!
p.s. (For more about the importance of nonfiction, check my podcast, “The Potential of Nonfiction,” on my website.)

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2 Responses to Summer Reading Lists

  1. Anonymous says:

    Penny, I just checked the summer required reading lists. There is one which is an optional choice on the going into 8th grade reading list: THREE CUPS OF TEA. It’s the young reader’s edition of the book by Greg Mortensen about building schools in Pakistan. Also on that list are ANNE FRANK: DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL and MAUS I by Art Spiegelman. MAUS is the graphic book I mentioned, but it is the story of Spiegelman’s father, so I think it’s considered non-fic.
    I just got an order of books and there are some good non-fic there. I can send you a list if you would like that after I come back from vacation on June 15.
    Here are a few good biogs that I’ve bought in the last year or so:
    GOOD BROTHER, BAD BROTHER: THE Story of Edwin Booth & John Wilkes Booth by James Cross Giblin
    SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING: Marie Curie and Radium by Carla Killough McClafferty
    THE TROUBLE BEGINS AT 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West by Sid Fleischman
    THE WRIGHT SISTER: Catharine Wright and Her Famous Brothers BY Richard Maurer
    That’s it for now!
    Middle School Librarian
    Schmitt Library
    Saint Andrew's School
    Boca Raton, FL

  2. Penny says:

    Thanks Dot!

    Here's another one; it's text heavy for younger readers, but 5-year-old Sophie was intrigued by the photos & captions.
    HOW WE KNOW WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT OUR CHANGING CLIMATE: Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming by Lynne Cherry and Gary Braasch (yes, double "a') with a foreword by Prof. David Sobel.

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