The theme for this summer is Finding God in your Summer Reading. Each week I will suggest some books that will relate to this theme.

Have fun reading,

Diane St. Laurent
Director, Christian Education, St. Davids

Week 1

Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seeger is a picture book that deals with the topic of bullying so even the youngest reader can relate. God’s message of love and forgiveness is there as well. There is a copy in our library in the Christian Formation Office.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is a book for readers of all ages. It is about a gorilla, elephants and a dog. It is a story of friendship, hope and dealing with adversary. This book could lead to family discussions about God’s love for all God’s creatures.

Week 2

Here are two books that might want to make their way onto your summer reading list.

Oh, No! by Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann is a fun book for young readers. Frog, Mouse and their friends each take a turn falling into a deep, deep hole. The book has repeating rhymes with added suspense for excitement.  It would be interesting to ask the reader how God could help these animal creatures.

Booked by Kwame Alexander is a story about a young soccer star, Nick Hall, whose dad is a linguistics professor. Nick loves soccer, but hates words. Life gets complicated for Nick and the author does a great job telling the story. I suggest that this might be a family read as it offers many opportunities for discussion.

Week 3

As the weather heats up, it is a wonderful idea to curl up someplace cool with a great book.

You might want to try one of these suggestions.

Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco is a story based on the childhood of the author. The grandmother helps her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder by creating thunder cake. The illustrations are amazing. When you finish reading, there is a recipe for thunder cake. Reading a book and eating cake seems like a perfect summertime activity. Adding ice cream is always an option.

Restart by Gordon Korman is about a boy named Chase who had a head injury after a fall. When he awakes, he finds that he cannot remember anything. When he returns to school, he discovers that he was a terrible bully. Life gets very confusing as Chase not only tries to find out who he was, but also who’s he going to be. Lots of openings for discussion for middle school readers and adults.

Week 4

Perhaps one of the blessings of all this heat is that it is easier to let outside work wait and just cool off with a good book.

The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is a wonderful historical fiction story about two children who evacuate London during World War II.  Ava’s mother is humiliated by Ava’s deformed foot, but Ava manages to escape London with her brother Jamie to a safe place with Susan. Life changes for all of them and it is easy to see where God’s hand is in all of this. This book is for anyone third grade and older. I read it as an adult and found it very powerful. My fourth grade granddaughter loved it as well.

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey is a classic as well as a super read-aloud. The Mallard family moves to Boston and encounters some difficult situations. It was published in 1941 but its message of caring and looking out for each other is timeless. I did read that Robert McCloskey had some ducks living in his bathtub so he could have accurate illustrations.  Yu will enjoy getting to know “Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack and Quack” as well as Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.

Week 5

Some books spark the imagination and some make you wonder about how people manage to connect in this busy world. Here are two examples.

Press Here by Herve Tullet is a book which gives the reader the power to help tell the story. The illustrations are simple-just a red, blue and yellow dot. It is an interactive story where the reader gets to press the dots and watch magic unfold. I have watched three and four year olds share this book, but I have also seen accomplished readers enjoy the magic again and again. This is one book I would highly recommend for everyone’s personal library.

I Will Always Write Back by Caitlin Alifirenka and Martin Ganda is a true story about how one letter changed two lives. It started as  a school assignment requiring the students to write a letter to someone in a foreign foreign country.. Martin lived in Zimbabwe and received a letter from Caitlin from Hatfield, Pennsylvania. That letter began a correspondence which impacted the writers in unexpected ways. This is a book that is well worth the time for many readers.

Week 6

Perhaps it’s because I have been to picnics where the theme is Christmas in July. Perhaps I am just really wishing for cooler weather. Whatever the reason, my book suggestions this week have to do with Christmas.

Marjorie Holmes wrote Two From Galilee.  It is a story about Mary and Joseph who share a special gift from God as well as love for each other. They face many difficulties as they begin their lives together. It is a fictional story, yet it offers the reader a glimpse as to what life might have been like in those days in Galilee.

Soon the stores will start displaying Halloween costumes so you know that Christmas trees are not far behind. It might be a good time to read Itsy Bitsy Christmas by Max Lucado. The Christmas story is told by two mice who wonder if a king is really coming to Bethlehem. The illustrations are bright and colorful. Plus it’s never too early to remind children of the real meaning of Christmas.

Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
— Psalm 37:4