onVacation: Something for Every Member of Your Family
So, it’s officially summer. With temperatures hitting 100 in our area as a matter of routine (and let’s not even discuss the heat index or humidity, ugh), you may start to be driven insane by your little angels who are home for summer vacation. Fortunately for you, we’re here to help you, with a more wholesome and productive activity than watching cartoons all day. Remember that awesome activity that ages 5 to 500 just love being a part of? It’s called reading.
Ages 5 – 10 We know, you already read all of the Harry Potter books to your kids, faithfully. If you haven’t, get started. If you have, here are a few more books that are fun to read aloud to your children. I’m sure you’ve heard of these movies: Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Much to my shock and horror, many parents don’t realize that these movies are based on some of the best children’s books ever, written by the grouchy genius Roald Dahl. The books are way, way better than the movies, and they have cool pictures all drawn by Quentin Blake. Your kids will love you for introducing them to Dahl, and the best part is he has written for all ages (autobiographies for everyone, ghost stories for teenagers, fiction for adults), although where he really shines is in YA literature. Amazingly, he even has several great books that have never been made into popular movies, like Danny the Champion of the World. Do your kids a favor and get them to read the books before watching the movies.
Ages 10-13 Well, this is a tough age. Old enough to not listen to you, but young enough to have not very much power over their own lives. Be patient with your preteen and try to remember, for their sake, how horrible middle school was. You can’t go wrong with some of the more popular series. Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series is fantastic, and so is the Midnighters, and his Leviathan books (although Leviathan would maybe be better for an older reader). Another wonderful series is the Sepitmus Heap books by Angie Sage. If you’d like to try something a little more old school, I loved The Giver by Lois Lowry when I was in middle school.
Ages 13-18 You have a high schooler on your hands. Good luck trying to get them to read over the summer. I suggest discreetly leaving some of these titles on their bookshelves and desks, but don’t get your hopes up. The Catching Fire series is worth all of the hype, and if your teen starts reading the first one by some miracle, get ready to buy the second and third. Another wonderful series is the Game of Thrones, and since many teenagers have watched the new HBO series, they may be willing to read the books to find out what happens next. For the old school amongst you, try Catcher in the Rye. It speaks to high schoolers, and has never lost its lustre.
Okay, now your kids are taken care of. What about you, you might ask? We’ve shared what the Washington Week crew thinks you should read or you can always refer to our earlier anti-summer reading list. I still urge you to check out my favorite book this year, subject of a recent glowing review, entitled The Fault in Our Stars. You won’t regret it. Have a good summer, and stay cool.