Children and Young Adult Summer Reading from Melissa of Elm Street Books! - New Canaan & Darien Moms
“Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer.”-Jenny Han, The Summer I Turned Pretty
Ahh, June! So many things to celebrate; graduations, fatherhood and is there any better feeling than that last ride on the school bus on the last day of school dreaming of long hot days of play, adventures, ice cream and swinging in a hammock reading a great new book? That being said, I am once again reaching out to all the local public and private schools for their summer reading lists. Look for the big blue binder next to the “Summer Reading Wall” in the Children’s section of the store. Hoping to have all the lists by June 10th. Just ask if you can’t find it!
If you want to show your Dad some love (Father’s Day is June 18th) or celebrate the arrival of summer, we have some new picture books to share. Tom Brenner does a wonderful job of describing the feelings and actions of the ideal childhood summer in his picture book “And Then Comes Summer” cheerfully illustrated by Jaime Kim. Celebrating a redesign for its 25th Anniversary, “The Seashore Book” by Charlotte Zolotow and beautifully illustrated by Wendell Minor truly captures the salt spray and sand between your toes feeling of a glorious day at the beach as imagined by a mother to her child. And for Father’s Day, Judy Carey Nevin reminds us of “What Daddies Like.” The answer won’t surprise you!

Three standout books for 8 to 12 year olds have recently come out. “Posted” by John David Anderson is realistic fiction exploring the dynamics of a group of friends in middle school. The surrounding story line describes the actions of the student body when the principal bans cell phones and the new communication system becomes Post it Notes. Awesome characters, social dynamics, friendship, good and bad choices are all explored in both humorous and sometimes heartbreaking contexts. “York” by Laura Ruby is a fantastic adventure story, first in a series, set in a New York that somehow mirrors present day, but in another dimension. For anyone who enjoys solving puzzles and mysteries, this is a good one to explore. Lauren Wolk who wrote the marvelous Wolf Hollow has penned another beautifully written story taking place in one of my favorite islands, Cuttyhunk Massachusetts. “Beyond The Bright Sea” tells the story of Crow who as a baby was found washed up on the shore in a boat by Osh, a kind, artistic man who raises her with the help of Miss Maggie, a strong independent neighbor. But when Crow turns 12, she becomes resolute about finding out where she came from despite what it might cost her and the people around her that she has come to love.

In the Young Adult category, Angie Thomas has written a gut wrenching and timely novel revolving around 16 year old Starr Carter, a black girl whose life changes forever as she witnesses the shooting of her best friend Khalil by a white police officer. There is so much worth discussing in this book “The Hate U Give” for both teens and adults. Another fantastic crossover (Y/A and adult read) is the narrative non-fiction book “Deep Water” by Katharine Nichols. Back in the 70’s, a couple of relatively affluent teenagers came up with the idea of swimming marijuana from Mexico into Coronado California. Aided by their high school Spanish teacher they formed the Coronado Company and set up 100 million dollar smuggling ring that lasted a decade. Reads like a thriller. And for those of you lucky enough to score Hamilton tickets and still wanting more, Melissa De La Cruz fictionalizes a young Alexander Hamilton and his courtship with Eliza Schuyler in “Alex and Eliza.”

And lastly, I recently spent the past two days at Book Expo at the Javits Center in New York City and was treated to inspiring discussions with authors and book editors on all the great books that are going to be published in the upcoming year. I will be doing a couple of raffles during the month of June for advanced reader copies autographed by some of the authors I met to celebrate a summer of reading!

Melissa Thorkilsen
Children’s Manager

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