Today is the first day of summer by my calendar and it is hot! So hot it is the perfect time of the year to curl up in the air-conditioning with a good book.
Sometimes, though, when we let our kids loose in the library they come home with less than stellar choices. While I like to give my children more freedom over what they read in the summer months, I also like to guide them to excellent suggestions. Here are a few series of books that I steer my children towards.
By Cindy Rollins
Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series: These are THE perfect summer books. If you can’t go to the lake and don’t own a boat, just pick up these books and head towards your own childhood summer place.
If your family enjoys Arthur Ransome then try E. Nesbit. Her series include The Bastable series beginning with The Story of the Treasure Seekers; The Five Children and It series, and The House of Arden series. C.S. Lewis grew up reading Nesbit.
The Scout Series by Piet Prins: These books are perfect for the boy just beginning chapter books and even older. After your son finishes the Scout books look for others by this excellent Dutch author.
If your child enjoys the Scout books then he or she most definitely will enjoy the author Hilda Von Stockum who has written The Mitchell series and The Bantry Bay series.
Need a little mystery and suspense? Try Joan Aiken’s Wolves of Willough by Chase books or L.M. Boston’s The Children of Green Knowe books. Both sets are suspenseful and fun. Or is you want suspense with a Christian worldview try Frank Peritti’s eight volume Cooper Kid series. Begin with The Door in the Dragon’s Throat.
This summer our family is trying a new series that came highly recommend: Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede.
Terry Pratchett has written an adult series of novels that includes a very worthy children’s selection: The Wee Free Men. I highly recommend this book and here is a quote to whet your appetite:
If you trust in yourself, and believe in your dreams, and follow your star … you’ll still get beaten by people who spent their time working hard and learning things and weren’t so lazy.
For the older children L.B. Grahame has written 5 Christian fantasies worth the time and effort to read. Start with Beyond the Summerland.
Or there is the great Christian Covenant series by Douglas Bond beginning with Duncan’s War.
Or how about the newer series by N.D. Wilson: 100 Cupboards, Dandelion Fire, and The Chestnut King?
Did you spot Harrison Ford in Chattanooga recently? A little Indiana Jones-like adventure may be just the ticket. Try H. Rider Haggard’s King Solomon’s Mines or John Buchan’s Prester John . When my older boys can’t figure out what to read their go-to author is the Frenchman Rafael Sabatini. His swashbuckling stories are sure to please.
Now that the kids are busy reading mom might just have time to clean the house. No way! Forget about the dust bunnies. Summer is the time for mom to refill her reserves, not just clean the house.
How about Dorothy L. Sayers’ Lord Peter Wimsey books? I am very jealous of those of you who have the opportunity of reading these books for the first time.
The Brother Cadfael books by Ellis Peters are a great series of books to get you over a reading slump. Start with A Morbid Taste for Bones.
Do you like your mysteries a little metaphysical? Try Tim Powers. His Anubis Gates is top-notch time travel.
Ever hear of Helen MacInnes? Her many books give a compelling look inside The Cold War. Spy novels for the intelligent woman!
Try D.E. Stevenson or Georgette Heyer. These won’t leave you feeling guilty. I am enjoying Stevenson’s Mrs. Tim and the Regiment right now on my Kindle and it keeps me smiling.
Carolyn Weber’s Surprised by Oxford
Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns will have you laughing and nodding.
Or Penhally by Carolyn Gordon will be a somber reminder of what used to be.
The books in this category are a dime a dozen but anything by Mark Steyn will keep you laughing through the tears and Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is truly a great book for understanding the history of politics.
I know you need a little inspiration before you begin it all over again in August. You could join me in reading through Charlotte Mason’s Towards a Philosophy of Education. I guarantee it will change you and free you.
David Hicks’ Norms and Nobility is a slog well worth the effort.
I love Vigen Gurorian’s Tending the Heart of Virtue for sheer inspiration.
Trusting God by Jerry Bridges
Ever read Ravi Zacharias? You are in for a treat.
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis is always profitable as a reread.
Michael Horton’s Before the Face of God is one of my favorite Christian books.
I hope this keeps you busy for a while. No need to offer you children rewards and prizes for reading. Just offer them great books that will keep them begging for more.