Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The New Vic Summer Reading List for Kids

It's about time summer got here. Beach, parks, trips, long car rides perfect for...summer reading!

It's no coincidence that JK Rowling released all of the Harry Potter books during summer break. Discovering new favorites with your kids, whether in an indie shop like Books of Wonder, your local NYPL or the Brooklyn Flea, is part of the Summer Reading Experience. So, behold: The Ultimate Summer Reading List for Kids; vetted, nurtured, and recommended by New Vic staff.

For the Kids
  • Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey. Love the graphic illustrations! Everything about the story just feels like summer. – Lauren Fitzgerald, Marketing
  • The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I completely related to Ramona and had an older sister like Beatrice…She was always getting into trouble but without spite or malice (like me) and saw the world differently. I liked that because it made me realize that there is not just one way to view things in life. That makes life boring and too safe. - Courtney Boddie, Education
  • In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz. The first summer I ever went to the library, it was the first book I checked out. I've always loved things that scare me, even as a child. This book is awesome for first graders who aren't afraid of the dark and like to live on the edge! I’m sure that my parents loved me retelling my sisters the stories I had read... - Beth Baker, Administration
  • Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books! I haven’t read the updated versions (they’re still in print!), but spent many a summer day sleuthing my way through these young adult novels. - Mara Richards, Education
    For the Tweens
    • From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. The story of Claudia and her brother Jamie who run away to the city and decide to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art become entangled in an art mystery. Filled with amusing anecdotes that will show you the Metropolitan in a new and humorous way, you won’t be able to stop thinking about it each time you visit. - Shiraz Biggie, Production
    • The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace were some of my FAVORITE books as a kid. The ten books span from the late 1800s through the beginning of World War I. In the first book, Betsy Ray is 5 years old and meets her best friend, Tacy Kelly; in the last book she is an adult and getting married. As a kid, I dreamed about living in a small town in Minnesota and spending summers running up and down hills, picking flowers and hanging out on Main Street. I didn’t even live through those times and I miss them! – Caroline Hendrix, Development
    • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is a stand out story for me. At the time I didn’t really pick up on the religious under and over tones, I was just engrossed in the idea of other (celestial!) worlds and science fiction. There were exhilarating scary elements around the idea that your father could disappear – but the children’s dogged determination to find him and bring him back made the story, ultimately, a triumphant one. Someone needs to do a really great adaptation of this book for the stage! – Mary Rose Lloyd, Programming
    • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s about a spoiled British army brat who is orphaned and sent to live with her uncle on an English country estate. After she discovers a locked garden and makes her first-ever friends, she is transformed into a loving girl who is then able to help her cousin and uncle heal from their own losses. I liked that the kids were so independent in some ways, but it was through caring about each other that they really grew up. This is a book that I’ve returned to and reread many times over the years. Too bad it didn’t teach me how to have a green thumb; I’m still terrible with plants! - Lilaia Kairis, Digital Services
    For the Advanced Reader:
    • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. An incredibly moving coming of age story about Francie Nolan growing up in Brooklyn at the beginning of the twentieth century that relates both hardships and hope with humor and beauty. It’s a classic for a reason; I still reread this one every year or so and find new things. - Shiraz Biggie, Production
    • Ender’s Game. In the book, the most talented and smartest kids in the world are asked to be tactical leaders in a future world where the Earth is fighting an alien species – stay with me, it’s a good book! – and are sent to a training school that equips the students with battle simulation flight decks, a zero-gravity fighting gym and digital desktops. In modern translation, the book basically created a school with an arcade, laser tag gym and a bunch of iPads! The story almost seems more relevant today than it did when it was originally written! – Allison Mui, Public Relations
    • The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi. I wanted to be Charlotte Doyle! She is the perfect heroine for a 13 year old girl. Charlotte is brave and smart. She takes hold of her life and makes tough choices (dealing with mutiny, pirates and murder certainly qualify as tough!). Warning: I really, really wanted to live on a ship after I read this book. - Katie Carroll, Digital Services
    • Lord of the Flies by William Golding. As a kid, I was really excited about the adventure and possibility of landing on a deserted island and being completely independent of society (Spoiler Alert!). I hoped it would be different than the way it goes for the boys in Golding’s dark novel, but I was still totally fascinated by the characters and how they handle the extreme situation of being castaways. -Jonathan Shmidt, Education
    Of course, you could also go New Vic-style! Of our 16 shows next season, 7 of them are literary adaptations. Check out the complete list here.  Happy reading!

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