My older boys set the rule: if you want to see a Harry Potter movie, you must read the book. It’s a simple way to monitor age-appropriateness and for me, at least, to justify a PG13 movie for a 9 year old boy.

Motivated by the final movie premiering July 15th, my Gabriel is knee deep in book seven. He’s going to make it.

But what then? I think he’ll dive into Artemis Fowl, the Alchemyst series and the Septimus Heap series. On my nightstand is The Greater Journey (hey, if I can’t go to Paris this summer I may as well read about it),  Mystery and Manners and well, everything my kids read– I adore YA fiction. Hmm, I think I need more.

Please share your summer book recommendations for kids or yourself. And tell, me, are you as excited for the new Harry Potter movie as we are?


  1. Sarah in Georgia

    June 7, 2011

    We’re excited! And twice as much because since we’ll be visiting my parents, we have a built-in babysitter! I think my mom’s as excited as we are, and she’s not even seeing the movie. 🙂

  2. Th.

    June 7, 2011



  3. Nancy R

    June 7, 2011

    I’m pretty excited for the new movie. Book 7 was definitely my favorite and I’m looking to the Battle for Hogwarts and Kings Cross Station parts of the film.

  4. Catherine A.

    June 7, 2011

    Also reading Mystery and Manners ;), The Lonely Polygamist, Writing Down the Bones, and One Thousand Gifts – Ann is such the poet. I’m drinking her words.

    Just finished Matched (I think you also read it Michelle?). Liked it more than Hunger Games. And I’m slowly plowing through Walden. Note that slowly part…

  5. April

    June 7, 2011

    The Percy Jackson series was a bit hit with my kids and now they are reading the Fablehaven series. We have the same rule about the Harry Potter books. My daughter flew through the series so she could watch the movies! I am so excited for the movie but sad also because I don’t want it to end!
    For girl’s we love all of Shannon Hale’s books Princess Academy, Goose Girl, ect..
    Allie Finkle’s rules for girls series.
    For anyone Love that dog and Hate that Cat by Sharon Creech. The Penderwicks, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.

  6. Melanie

    June 7, 2011

    I second recommendations for Love That Dog, Matched, and Shannon Hale’s books (her children’s/YA books that is).

    I recently read and enjoyed I Capture the Castle, The Happiness Project, Wait Till Next Year and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

  7. carriem

    June 7, 2011

    My kids have loved Beverly Cleary’s books (like the Mouse and the Motorcycle, and Henry Huggins), we also read Edward Eager’s Half Magic together last Summer, and that was wonderful.

  8. Angela

    June 7, 2011

    A former professor of mine, Sheila O’Connor, recently published an absolutely lovely middle grade novel. It’s probably best for girls age 9-12, but some boys might like it too. It’s called Sparrow Road.

    For grownups, The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer is fantastic:

  9. Tiffany W.

    June 7, 2011

    I really disliked the 7th book because so much of the book seemed to plod along. I did find the resolution of the story satisfying.

    Around here, we love YA fiction and have been quite enchanted with John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice Series. We also enjoy Septimus Heap and his various adventures. Percy Jackson has entranced all of us.

    I love classics like A Wrinkle in Time and anything Madeline L’Engle wrote for Young Adults.

  10. Kristin

    June 7, 2011

    We love anything Ramona and most anything Beverly Cleary.

    My older girls and I have really enjoyed the Theodosia series. Theodosia’s parents are archeologists/museum curators with the British Museum (if I remember correctly). She has a gift to sense curses on artifacts and goes on all kinds of adventures. I would say they would be best for about the 8-11 year old range.

    Oh, we also love the Sisters Grimm series. The creative use of old familiar characters in unexpected plot twists makes for fun reading. They can be a little intense. Most kids should be at least 8 to read them (IMO).

    We own several of the Great Illustrated Classics series and I love introducing my children to old favorites like Anne of Green Gables, Hans Brinker, Heidi, Robin Hood, and Ivanhoe.

    A Whole Nother Story and the sequel, Another Whole Nother Story are both great.

    Dan Gutman and Andrew Clements are some favorite authors at our house too. Google them for lots of book suggestions.

    We also love some previously mentioned series: Fablehaven, the Alchemyst (Immortal Tales of Nicholas Flamel), and Artemis Fowl.

    And one last suggestion: I think kids are never too young or old for reading aloud! At bedtime we do scripture, song, and prayer, and then I read a chapter or two sitting in the hallway while the children are all in bed. I know as they become teens they won’t always be home, and they won’t be ready for bed, but I hope they will still want to listen sometimes. My five span from 2.5-10.5 years old.

    This school year in our evening read aloud we have completed several Beverly Cleary books, a few Chronicles of Narnia, Melonhead, some Junie B. Jones, the Fast and the Furriest, Anne of Green Gables and other classics, and How to Eat Fried Worms. It’s my favorite part of the day.

  11. EmilyCC

    June 7, 2011

    I missed the book discussion, but I’m really enjoying Room 🙂

  12. heathermommy

    June 7, 2011

    Ramona Geraldine Quimby is like a member of our family. We have listened to all of the ramona books on cd and they are awesome. Stockard Channing does an awesome job narrating.

    My 8 year old is LOVING the Mysterious Benedict Society series. As a family we are reading aloud The Magician’s Nephew and lots of greek mythology.

    I just finished reading A Woman of Independent Means and I am making my way through The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency series.

  13. Jeannie

    June 7, 2011

    What perfect timing for this post. Was just having a discussion with a friend about this very thing. My boys are too little for Harry Potter, but I love love love them, both the books and the movies. As a non-writer, I can’t wrap my brain around the brilliance of what JK Rowling wrote. (Not necessarily the actual writing piece (which I loved) , but the ideas and concepts) To me, everything flowed from book 1 to book 7. Can’t wait to share these when my boys are older. I just finished the Percy Jackson series…what fun!! Fablehaven…fun!! But am also reading The Master of Ballentrae.. love all books, but have been spending a lot of time in YA. Thanks for all the book ideas in the comments…I have started keeping a notebook of everyone’s suggestions…

  14. Sharlee

    June 7, 2011

    Currently reading George Eliot’s, Daniel Deronda, and Packing for Mars, and re-reading Mystery and Manners (occasional prose by Flannery O’Connor). 17-year-old just finished Ceremony and is now reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. 13-year-old just finished both The Red Pyramid (Rick Riordan) and its sequel, The Throne of Fire, for the second time! Just purchased The Alchemyst for him on your recommendation. 🙂 I’m also going to have him read Shiloh and Where the Red Fern Grows this summer.

  15. kim

    June 7, 2011

    Even though I only read a bit of the first HP book…yikes, did I just say that out loud?!…the series will forever hold a special place in my heart for turning our youngest into a “reader”, like her
    Mom. I think she was 11-ish when it first came out and she was hooked. Yeah 🙂

    I’m currently plowing my way through Gone With the Wind after being challenged to read it by a good friend.

    Shout-out to Melanie (#6)- I enjoyed Henrietta Laks’ story also.

    I missed the discussion for Room, but but found it to be somehow disturbing and so sad.

    Just finished a cute “fluff” book- Friendship Bread- because I needed a “feel good” pick-me-up, even though it brought me to tears several times (in a good way).

    Looking forward to our annual vacation to the beach in August. I always take a HUGE bag of books 🙂

  16. traci

    June 7, 2011

    HeatherMommy – you are reading books after my own heart! a woman of independant means is astonishing – and the movie followed well. thank you!

    Summer reading – any and all of the Elm Creek Quilt books. She esp does historical fiction well. Altho i like all of them.

    Reading Lolita in Tehran – spellbinding

    Pearl of China, historical fiction of Pearl Buck’s best friend. heartbreaking, bittersweet

    Now in November – exhausting and unforgettable

  17. m2theh

    June 7, 2011

    We are on Ramona’s World–we watched the movie first and then got the boxed set. Next we will be tackling Mr. Poppers Penguins, which I had purchased before I knew that the movie was coming out.

  18. Paula

    June 7, 2011

    Like the other recommendations I’ll put in good reviews here for Percy Jackson, Red Pyramid, Artemis Fowl, Fablehaven, (also Candy Shop War by the same author, Brandon Mull) are great for 8 to 11 year olds and older kids too. Shannon Hale’s books for YA, The Princess of Glass, The Princesses of the midnight ball, Dragon Slippers series by Jessica Day George, and Matched for my teenage daughter.

    I’m currently reading Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card. I love science fiction. I was wondering what to read next. I may just have to use some of your recommendations!

  19. Ana of the Nine Kids

    June 7, 2011

    Thanks for all the recommendations! It helps to assuage my long-standing fear that I will run out of good books to read! Some that we have enjoyed as read-a-louds (as well as stand alone just good books)include books by Zilpha Keatley Snyder like the Headless Cupid and Blair’s Nightmare. I also love, Love, LOVE Watership Down. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh was good as was The Blue Sword and the Hero and the Crown by Robin Mckinley. (She also did a version of Beauty and the Beast that I really liked too.) The Once and Future King, the Thief series by Megan Turner Whalen, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Great Brain series, Caddie Woodlawn and the Gregor series by Suzanne Collins were all good. Richard Peck’s Blossom Culp books have been a favorite of mine since I was a girl. I LOVE how he writes. (At least his YA stuff.) Death Comes for the Arch Bishop, The Left Hand of Darkness and the Earthsea series are all favorites too. I could go on and on. (I LOVE goodreads for keeping all of this together for me! :))

  20. Aundrea Hill

    June 8, 2011

    I’m keeping every single one of your comments so I can make the wonderful library journey–can’t wait!

    And P.S. Harry Potter can’t come soon enough!!!

  21. Bonnie

    June 9, 2011

    I just have to throw in one more — the “Peter and the Starcatchers” series by Dave Barry. My kids just devoured them.

  22. Jerie

    June 10, 2011

    Summer reading–yum. We had no trouble finding good books for younger readers. I always appreciated recommendations for fun, not-too-edgy adolescent fiction that would grab my tweens and early teens. Some of our favorites: The Belgariad Series by David Eddings (Pawn of Prophecy is the first book–satisfying and well-told storyline, adolescent protagonists), Jim the Boy, Charlotte’s Rose, Ender’s Game, Alicia:My Story, The Princess Bride, Seven Daughters and Seven Sons,Uglies.

    Somebody stop me–I love YA fiction. Love. Heading for the library . . . thanks. 🙂

  23. Kay

    June 11, 2011

    Reading and baking are my favourite things to do, which means I can spend many a happy hour reading cookery books too. Recently read books that I love are The Lieutenant by Kate Grenville, Crow Lake by Mary Lawson, The Island by Victoria Hislop, The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield, Howards End is on the Landing by Susan HIll. My favourite cookery book is The Kitchen Diaries by Nigel Slater.

    For children my 10 year old son loves the Percy jackson series too, also the Redwall series by Brian Jacques. My daughter at that age read her way through the Lemony Snickett books. They particularly enjoy having a series to read through, finding it much more enjoyable than a one off book.

    Books are the one thing I am happy to spend money on for them on a regular basis. You can never have too many books.

  24. EMILY

    June 13, 2011

    For those lovers of Harry Potter, I recently discovered Diana Wynne Jones (in particular for me the Chronicles of Chrestomanci series of 6 books). My 7 year old daughter (who has also devoured all the Harry Potter books, as I panicked wondering if I should stop her (too grown-up?) or cheer her (hooray for amazing reading!) … the English major in me sat back and let it happen) also has read and loved some of her others — and there are lots! We recently began together Summer of the Monkeys (she got antsy and finished it herself). She has loved lots of those mentioned, too.

    I just devoured Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir (about Lady Jane Grey–juicy but not the most amazing writing) then I LOVED Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and my favorite of them all, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Can’t wait to try out some of these suggestions … Thanks for the post!

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