I was inspired by @KateMilford‘s summer reads table at McNally Jackson to come up with my own list of books I’d include on a summer reads table somewhere. I have a not-so-secret love of retro kids books, especially ones that remind me of my own childhood summers where I’d read about three a day, and then reread all of them multiple times a year whenever I ran out of new books (which was often).
This list is full of some of my favorite older (as in pre-1990) kids books, ones that I think would make a lazy summer afternoon about ten times better than it already is. And the best part is that you don’t even have to be a kid to enjoy them!
- The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh (1965). Technically you should read Harriet the Spy before reading this one, as it’s a sequel. But when you DO read The Long Secret, it should be while sitting on the beach watching the waves rolling in.
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (1968). Find a museum, any museum, and read this book while sitting amongst beautiful works of art.
- The Sylvia Game by Vivian Alcock (1982). A more spooky and gothic book, perfect for reading during a thunderstorn.
- The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1971). Probably best read while sitting in an old house, listening to it creaking and groaning. Or maybe while sitting next to a pond, under a willow tree, listening to the birds screeching.
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961). Best read while being dragged to some boring thing by your parents, or while sitting in the car waiting for your parents to get back from doing some boring thing.
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (1979). To brighten up a dull afternoon at summer camp (I’ve never been, but I’m sure there must be one or two boring days at camp).
- Behind the Attic Wall by Sylvia Cassedy (1983). For when you’re visiting your grandmother or great aunt and she puts you in the room where she keeps her creepy doll collection.
- Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume (1977). Find a porch and a good supply of popsicles, and then read this book (don’t worry if the popsicles melt on the book; it adds to the experience).
- Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry (1979). Read this when you’re grounded in your room for getting the porch all sticky with popsicle juice (ants don’t just get rid of themselves!).
- The House With a Clock in its Walls by John Bellairs (1973). For the last days of summer, when the days are getting cooler and Halloween is lurking on the far-away horizon. Best read with a flashlight, under the covers.
Also, I’m kind of thinking of making this list a readalong challenge thingy for over the summer. What do you think? Would you join in if I did it?
Thanks to Once Upon a Bookshelf for the list-y inspiration!