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Great Books for Great Kids

02/29/2016 08:11AM ● Published by Nancy Babin

The beautiful weather of spring has hit the Gulf Coast and I see my friends out and about all over the place.  It is just too beautiful to be inside!  Encourage your kids to take their reading outside.  There are few things more peaceful than relaxing outside in the sunshine with a good book.  Speaking of good books, I have a few recommendations for you to consider for your family.

My first recommendation is for the younger set (ages 8-12).  “Pax” is a new release by renowned children’s author Sara Pennypacker.  In this story Peter has a best friend – a fox named Pax that Peter rescued as a kit.  They are inseparable like a boy and his pet can be.  But then Peter’s father joins the military and Peter will have to go live with his grandparents.  Peter’s father makes Peter release Pax into the wild and the journey that follows is both heartbreaking and hopeful.  This is an excellent read and would make a good book to be read out loud.  

Next is a recommendation that I am sure many readers will be thrilled about – “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics” by Chris Grabenstein is out!  This book is a sequel to “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” which was a much beloved favorite of our family and the readers of this article.  In fact, I think I got more enthusiastic feedback about that book than any other I have included in an article.  The sequel will not disappoint.  In this one, Mr. Lemoncello has decided to host a library Olympics and he has invited kids from all over to enter.  However, in typical Lemoncello fashion there are all sorts of twists.  I am not going to write any more about the plot because I would hate to spoil any surprises.  I highly recommend this one for any boy or girl ages 8 and up (and their parents too!)  Of course, if you missed the original “Mr. Lemoncello’s Library” then I recommend you read that one first.

For the slightly older girl in your family I recommend “The Radiant Road” by Katherine Catmull.  Clare Macleod and her father are moving back home to Ireland after years of living in the United States.   They move back into their family home which is built into a hillside with an ancient yew tree for a wall.   The house has secrets and Claire at first wonders if she is seeing and hearing things.  Yet she soon realized that she is not and the secrets must be unraveled to protect her family.  This is a wonderful tale that your middle school and teen girl will love.  I recommend this one for ages 12 and up.

For the slightly older boy in your house I recommend “Code of Honor” by Alan Gratz.  This book is so timely with regard to issues our world is currently facing.  Kamran Smith is a regular teenager in the US, and even though his mom is from Iran, Kamran has always felt completely accepted.  But then his older brother is accused of being a terrorist and Kamran’s world implodes.  Kamran knows his brother is innocent and sets out to clear his name.  The search for the truth leads him on a dangerous journey that will teach the reader a lot about what is going on in the world right now.  I recommend this book for anyone ages 12 and up.

I hope you find something in this article that your child will enjoy.  If you have found a great book that I have not mentioned, I would appreciate the heads up.  All recommendations or comments can be forwarded to kidzonthecoast@aol.com.  Happy reading!



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Pax Sara Pennypacker Mr Lemoncello's Library Olympics Radiant Road Clare Macleod COdeof HOnor Alan Gratz
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