Tween Summer Reads

Summer reading lists are a classic June touchstone. It's always exciting to put up our new age-by-age list, but we know that there are so many more options out there. That's why we love MomSpeaker Raya Fagg's look at what she'll be putting on her preteen son's bookshelf this summer. Check out what she's recommended and then let us know in the comments what your own middle schooler's got on tap for summer reading.

This summer I want to introduce my son to how I used to spend my summers: hopping on my bike and roaming the library stacks for hours. I’m fortunate because my sister is a children’s librarian and she keeps me up to date with free and educational activities.

This summer, in addition to the required reading for school, here are some books The PreTeen and I plan to read.

1. The Other Wes Moore is a book I have been struggling to read. Not because it’s full of big words, but because I see it as a lesson in “There by the grace of God goes my child.”

There is version for young adults, Discovering Wes Moore. As The PreTeen moves to 13 (Ugh, another TEEN?!), I want us to read this book and then discuss the theme: How we are the masters of OUR destinies, and one poorly executed decision can hurt you for the rest of your life.

2. I admit I’m WAAAYYY behind on my Bible in a Year reading. I’m not beating myself up, but I am going to go through Proverbs, starting each day with the chapter and then ending the day with reflection (in a perfect world this will happen). I know the verse will most likely be listened to when I drop him off to whatever activity he has scheduled. That will be the only time a device can be used in the car. I want to TALK to my children again.

3. The PreTeen and I still love Gordon Ramsay. We try to watch Hell’s Kitchen together each week, clowning on the jokers who think they can be top chef. A friend suggested the story of Chef Jeff, Cooked: My Journey From the Streets to the Stove, since my son is excited about learning to make new recipes while The Teen gives him a few minutes of her precious time. They are so cute in the kitchen, fussing and then working together.

4. Ever since I heard about a 7th grader who has earned his Eagle Scout award, I have told every one in the house to tell me when to chill if I start pushing The PreTeen too hard. The Teen was thisclose to her Girl Scout Gold Award and I dropped the ball on that. Not letting that happen again. My friend and fellow wogger Amy suggested The Radioactive Boy Scout: The True Story of a Boy and His Backyard Nuclear Reactor. This may inspire him to work harder toward our, er, his goal.

5. The PreTeen really enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy, destroyed any decent pen looking for Riptide as he cruised through Percy Jackson series. I won’t even mention The Boy Who Lived (I swear, I will ban all things HP if he plays that CD one more time). Amy also suggested The Maze Runner Trilogy. I’m not familiar with this book so we’ll do CD so we can listen together.

6. The Mister knows one of my pet peeves is to begin watching a movie not at the beginning. He was watching Malcolm X one morning before church and The PreTeen was engrossed at Denzel Washington’s portrayal. I see so many people who run around “talkin‘ ’bout some By Any Means Necessary,” the subtitle of Walter Dean Myers' Malcolm X biography, I want The PreTeen to know what he’s talking about when he goes through his rebellion stage.

7. Native Son had some suggestive languages and situations. I’m on the fence with this one. Like The Other Wes Moore, this is a cautionary tale of how one thoughtless action not just affects the person who made the action.

8. I love the scene in The Shawshank Redemption when the prisoners are sorting books and one looks at The Three Musketeers, Alexandre Dumas' timeless novel about the dashing D’Artagnan and his three companions, and pronounces the author's name as “Dumb Ass.” I fear I’ll have to stop multiple fencing attempts, but I think the motto ” All for one, one for all” is a nice segueway into the next book.

9. There’s mixed feelings on graphic novels. Some parents think they are fancy comic books. Some parents embrace the fact that the kid IS reading. Adventure Time happens to be one of The PreTeen's favorite shows. It’s about Jake, the dog (and biological brother) to Finn the human (yeah…) and their Adventures in the Land of Ooo. I like Finn and Jake’s best bud relationship. I think of them as modern-day musketeers.

10. To help ease his cravings for his video games, I thought I’d get him a book about the history of video games. When I was about this age, I loved pouring over history of Barbie books. The Ultimate History of Video Games seemed like a really cool book that I know the kids will like looking at — if they can get it from their father!

Raya Fagg is a mom of two from Upper Darby, PA. This post is adapted from her blog And Starring As Herself…MRSRFKJ.

Categories: MomSpeak