Looking for a good book to read this summer?
Go to the library, say area librarians, who also recommend their top summer reads.
Summer reading programs throughout the county draw patrons in for both the books and the activities.
And the best part, say many who participate, is it’s all free.
“We have some really fun programs and events throughout the summer,” says Leigh Ann Porsch, communications and development coordinator for the Huntley Area Public Library.
Like most, the library hosts programs for youth, tweens and adults. This year’s theme for youth is “REALLY BIG Summer Reading Extravaganza,” while teens take part in “We Like Big Books,” and adults can participate in “An Experience of Olympic Proportions.”
Those who participate earn prizes and can take part in events, such as movie showings and other activities.
At the McHenry Public Library District, themes include “Dream Big! Read!” for youth, “Own the Night” for tweens and “Between the Covers!” for adults. The library has grand prizes, such as family membership to the Adler Planetarium, a $125 gift card and spa and golf packages.
It’s important for all ages to read throughout the summer, say librarians, but children especially.
“Summer reading helps students maintain their reading skills and read more confidently, making sure they return to school in the fall ready to learn,” says Alicia Parmele, youth services manager for the Algonquin Area Public Library.
The more parents read, they more their children will read as well.
“When they return in the fall, they have not slipped at all in their reading skills,” Porsch says. “That’s really the big reason.”
The Huntley program remains popular, with more than 3,700 people participating last year, including 877 children, she says.
“I think it’s just a great summer activity for families,” she says.
Following are book recommendations from area librarians:
Along with books that are theme appropriate for its summer reading program, including Clifford books by Norman Bridwell and Big Nate books by Lincoln Peirce, the Huntley Area Public Library’s Youth Service Department recommended Illinois Children’s Choice Award nominees:
“Love, Aubrey,” by Suzanne LaFleur, a 2012 Caudill award nominee
“Out of My Mind,” by Sharon Draper, a 2012 nominee for both Caudill and Bluestem awards
“Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes,” by Eric Litwin, a 2012 Monarch award nominee
Youth choices from the McHenry Public Library District:
“Smile,” by Raina Telgemeier
The true story of the time Raina knocked out her two front teeth when she was 11 years old, and how she got her smile back.
“Big Nate: In a Class by Himself,” by Lincoln Peirce
How would you like to be 11 years old, 4 and a half feet tall and the all-time record holder for detentions in school history? Where there’s Nate, there’s trouble!
“Butterflies and Moths,” by Nic Bishop
Award-winning author and photographer Nic Bishop presents a colorful look at the characteristics and behaviors of butterflies and moths.
“I Broke My Trunk,” by Mo Willems
Gerald the elephant tells his best friend Piggie a long, crazy story about how he broke his trunk.
“Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site,” by Sherri Duskey Rinker
At sunset, when their work is done for the day, a crane truck, a cement mixer and other pieces of construction equipment make their way to their resting places and go to sleep.
Tween or teen
Tween or teen choices from the McHenry Public Library District:
“The Fault In Our Stars,” by John Green
Hazel has been diagnosed with terminal cancer for as long as she can remember. When she meets Gus at a cancer support group, they begin a journey of a lifetime that redefines what “living with cancer” means for these two teens.
“Matched,” by Ally Condie
Cassia lives in a perfect society where every decision is already made for you by officials who know what is best. They decide what you eat, where you work, when you die and, most importantly for this teen, who you’ll marry. After she is matched with her longtime friend, Xander, she learns that another boy, Ky, also is a perfect match and wonders if maybe she knows what is best for her.
“Leviathan,” by Scott Westerfeld
The story of WWI turned completely on its head. This war is fought between the Clankers, who are devoted to machines and trying to take over the world, and the Darwinists, who breed new species for fighting. When the son of a Clanker flees and meets a Darwinist, who is the pilot of a flying whale, they both realize the line between enemy and ally is blurred.
“Rikers High,” by Paul Volponi
For five months, Martin, 17, has been jailed at Rikers High awaiting his day in court for a petty crime. On his way back from the courthouse, he is slashed across the face and left with a large scar when he is caught up in a jailhouse fight. This begins a new life for Martin, as he is sent to a new unit and learns to make the right choices when he is involved in situations beyond his control.
Tween or teen choices from the Algonquin Area Public Library:
“Summer Before Boys,” by Nora Raleigh Baskin
During the summer when her mother is stationed in Iraq, 12-year-old Julie spends all her time with best friend Eliza ... until a boy comes along and everything changes.
“Girl of Fire and Thorns,” by Rae Carson
After being married off to a handsome king, 16-year-old princess Elisa finds herself hunted by enemies possessing dark magic in this high fantasy for older tweens.
“Wonder,” by R.J. Palacio
Born with a rare facial abnormality, 10-year-old August “Auggie” Pullman decides to attend public school for the first time when he enters middle school.
“Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip,” by Jordan Sonnenblick
Freshman and star pitcher Peter Friedman picks up photography from his ailing grandfather when an accident ends his baseball career and athletic dreams.
“Same Sun Here,” by Silas House and Neela Vaswani
Neela, an Indian immigrant living in New York City, and River, the son of a coal miner in Kentucky, become pen pals and good friends as they write about their very different, but surprisingly similar, lives.
Adult choices from the McHenry Public Library District:
“Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal,” by Jeanette Winterson
In her new memoir, Winterson recalls a difficult childhood with a mother who was a religious zealot.
“Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” by Jenny Lawson
Imagine how hard it is when your father runs a taxidermy business out of the family home, your mother runs the student cafeteria and your sister has just been elected high school mascot, which means she walks the halls in a giant bird costume.
“Imagine: How Creativity Works,” by Jonah Lehrer
Lehrer looks at the science behind what sparks creativity.
“A Dog’s Journey,” by Bruce Cameron
The second half of a marathon voyage through the rhythms of life from a dog’s-eye view. Cameron’s 2010 bestseller “A Dog’s Purpose” recounted the spiritual journey of a dog as he struggled to find meaning in his relationships with people. This sequel picks up with Buddy, the good dog who looked after his master.
“Nocturnal,” by Scott Sigler
A genre-bending urban fantasy that pits San Francisco’s finest against a subterranean horde of monsters who threaten the human race. mc