School's out for the summer, and once again our children are wondering what to read for fun, now that they don't have to read anything for schoolwork.
Wonder no more, kids. Here, courtesy of Jen Ammenti, the librarian at Redwood Day School in Oakland, is our annual Ms. Ammenti's Summer Reading List.
Kindergarten: "The Duckling Gets a Cookie" by Mo Willems, "Chloe" by Peter McCarty, and "A Sick Day for Amos McGee" by Philip Christian Stead.
First Grade: "Toys Come Home: Being the Early Experiences of an Intelligent Stingray, a Brave Buffalo, and a Brand-New Someone Called Plastic (Toys Go Out)" by Emily Jenkins, "Bink and Gollie, Two for One" by Kate DiCamillo, and "I Want My Hat Back" by J. Klassen.
Second Grade: "The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom" by Christopher Healy, "Bad Kitty for President" by Nick Bruel, and "Wonderstruck" by Brian Selznick.
Third Grade: "The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery" by Doreen Cronin, "The Year of the Book" by Andrea Cheng, and "Tua and the Elephant" by Randal Harris.
Fourth Grade: "The Birchbark House" by Louise Erdrich, "Winterling" by Sarah Prineas, and "Summer of the Gypsy Moths" by Sara Pennypacker.
Fifth Grade: "The Game of Silence" and "The Porcupine Year," both by Louise Erdrich, and "It Happened on a Train" by Mac Barnett.
Sixth Grade: "Wonder" by R. J. Palacio, "One Crazy Summer" by Rita Williams-Garcia, and "Breaking Stalin's Nose" by Eugene Yelchin.
Seventh Grade: "Shooting Kabul" by N. H. Senzai, "Middle School: Get Me Out Of Here!" by James Patterson, and "Crow" by Barbara Wright.
Eighth Grade: "Between Shades of Gray" by Ruta Sepetys, "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien, and "The Girl Is Murder" by Kathryn Miller.
And here are her top picks:
For Emerging Readers: "The Trouble with Chickens: A J.J. Tully Mystery" by Doreen Cronin. "Cronin's stories are always so much fun to read aloud because the giggles never stop. You can't help but love the characters immediately and wonder what will happen next."
For Middle Readers: The Birchbark House series by Louise Erdrich. "You cannot help but feel transported back in time to the westward expansion of the United States through the eyes of a young Ojibwa girl. For lovers of 'Little House of the Prairie,' these books will offer another perspective of the same time period."
For Young Adults: "Between Shades Of Gray" by Ruta-Sepetys. "Definitely not a light read, but one that will move you to tears and open your eyes to the true horrors of war. Sepetyus does an incredible job of keeping hope alive throughout the novel. Just when you think the characters can't take any more, they endure."
Incidentally, I talked with N.H. Senzai, the author of "Shooting Kabul," which tops Ms. Ammenti's seventh grade list.
Her real name is Naheed Senzai. "Shooting Kabul" is based on her husband's experiences as a little boy growing up in war-torn Afghanistan.
So why does she bill herself as "N.H." instead of Naheed?
"It's a branding thing," she explained. "Why do you think J.K. Rowling is called J.K. instead of Joanne? Because studies have shown that little boys are reluctant to pick up a book if they think it's been written by a woman."
We've come a long way, but we still have a long way to go.