Summer Reading List

Hello peeps! I know it’s been a while since I posted but my life is CA-RAZY right now. Packing, swimming, writing, blogging, summer camp, family reunion–phew! But, anyway, here is a post for yall!

So about this time every year Mama asks me for a list of good books I’ve read that she can share with her homeschool mom friends so they can get a stack of books for their kids to read this summer while out of school. So instead of trying to rattle off all the books I’ve read from memory, here is a list you can refer back to with snippets about the book and the age group each pertains too.

The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter.  I heard about this one via Mirriam Neal(aka, awesome person). My philosophy is, if Mirriam recommends it, I’ll read it(with a very slight reservation due to personal taste). But anyway! This was a little below my reading level, but hey, Mirriam recommended it, I’m going to read it! I loved it! It’s like a fantasy mystery set in modern-ish England. (Side Note: There were like two bad words in the whole thing, and they really surprised me when I read them.) Age Group: 12+

Anything written by Will James. No, the book is not named ‘Anything’. I mean, if Will James has written it, read it. If you like Western Frontier/Cowboy/Horse stories, read Will James. He illustrated all his books himself, and wrote from his own experience. EVERY. SINGLE. book he wrote was based on a real life experience he had, or heard about from someone he knew. He even wrote his own life story(with some modification) into a book, but I won’t tell you which one. (Side Note: As far as I can remember, there is no language in his books, but don’t hold me to it. If there is, it’s only very, very slight and few and far between. Also, nothing inappropriate– though I have not yet read all this books, all the ones I have read are family friendly.) A few of his titles are, The Three Mustangeers, Smoky the Cowhorse(my personal favorite), Sand, Scorpion, The Dark Horse, and Lone Cowboy. Age Group: 13+

Viking Quest series, by Lois Walfrid Johnson. Set in the late 10th century, when vikings frequently raid the Irish coast, a 13 year old girl is kidnapped on her birthday and taken back to Norway to serve her captor’s family as a slave. Even though she does not understand why it had to happen, she trusts and relies on God that He has a plan for her. Through her daily witness for Christ, soon the vikings around her begin to realize that there is only One True God, and their Norse gods are only fantasies. (Side Note: I have read this series about three times, and I could easily read it another three. I would never tire of these books.) Age Group: 12+

Emily of New Moon trilogy, by L. M. Montgomery. Written by the same author who wrote the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ series, Emily of New Moon is rather similar plot-wise, but still different and unique in it’s own way. Age Group: 10+

Journals of Corrie Belle Holister, by Michael Phillips. A rather long series(seven or eight books I think), about the Gold Rush days in California, and then the Civil War. Slight feminist sympathies throughout all the books, but I really enjoyed them. Age Group: 13+

Phantom Stallion series by Terri Farley. Set in modern Nevada on a cattle ranch, Samantha Foster was removed from her home after a riding accident landed her in the hospital. Now a couple years later, she’s returning to her father’s ranch but the colt she’d had before she left is now roaming the Nevada plain as a full grown mustang stallion. Will he remember her? Or has he been completely assimilated into the wild life he escaped to? Age Group: 10+

Phantom Stallion Wild Horse Island series, by Terri Farley. Darby Carter is sent to live with her Grandfather in Hawaii along with her barely tamed mustang filly. But she has little experience with horses and feels that she’s going to ruin her filly rather than tame her correctly. And the presence of other wild horses on the island doesn’t help, when her filly would rather escape to her old free life than live on a horse ranch. Age Group: 10+

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.  I really enjoyed this book as I had not found any good fantasy in quite a while. It was rather borderline for me, magic and male/female relationship wise, and there WAS more language in it than I has expected. I was a bit disappointed about that and some of the male/female relationships. But over all I LOVED it and I can’t wait for the sequel to come out this fall. Celaena Sardothien, a former assassin, is now being sponsored by the Crown Prince in a tournament to discover who the best assassin in the land is. And who will serve for the king and be assigned his dirty work. Then suddenly, one by one, the contestants of the tournament begin to disappear. Celaena knows it won’t be long before her turn comes and she sets out to solve this mystery– and put an end to the killings. (Side Note: Because of the language issue, I would either recommend not reading this under age 15, or having an adult read it before you– or to you so you won’t have to deal with the bad words.) Age Group: 15+

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett. I watched the movie first and then discovered there was book. I would recommend both. A very cute, sweet, and a little bit sad story, the movie changes the ending to making it not so sad, but I liked the book better(I usually do). Age Group: 10+

Magic for Marigold by L. M. Montgomery. I would easily recommend any of Montgomery’s books(though I have not read them all). I was sad that this was only one book and not a series, but I enjoyed it as I have all the Montgomery books I’ve read. Age Group: 10+

Gramma’s Attic series by Arleta Richardson. Told in first person from a Grandmother to her granddaughter, Gramma Mabel tells her childhood in many funny and memorable stories, all the way up through her high school years til she gets married. Age Group: 8+

Duncan’s War, King’s Arrow, Rebel’s Keep(Crown and Covenant series), by Douglas Bond. 17th century Scotlanders fight the English in believing that Jesus is the Only King of the church, this trilogy follows the M’Kethe family through the oppression from the Highlanders and eventually to their flight to the American colonies. Age Group: 10+

Five Little Peppers by Margaret Sidney. Apparently this is a series but I could never find the second book. I don’t remember much what this was about(other than five children growing up together with no father), but it was really cute and adorable and I loved it. Age Group: 8+

The Midshipman Quinn Collection by Showell Styles. After having Hornblower read to me, I devoured this. Set in the Napoleonic era, it is much more family/kid friendly than the Hornblower series. It follows the journey of a midshipman as he gets carried from one adventure to the next, and how he does what he can to help his country during the war with Napoleon.  Age Group: 10+

The Drovers Road Collection by Joyce West. Set in a New Zealand sheep station, Gabrielle Allan decides to write a book about her life while she is bed-ridden from having a broken ankle. She records her adventures she falls into with her cousin, Merry, and in the latter two books, we follow her as she comes into an unexpected inheritance. Age Group: 12+

Happy Little Family, Schoolhouse in the Woods, Up and Down the River, by Rebecca Caudill. A really adorable sweet story about a large family living in Kentucky in pioneerish days. Focusing mostly on the two youngest, Bonnie and Debby, we follow Bonnie as she goes to school for the first time, almost steps on a rattlesnake, tries to make money by raising ducks with Debby, and many other adventures only two little girls could have. Age Group: 7+

The Gammage Cup, and The Whisper of Glocken by Carol Kendall. This was the first fantasy I’d ever had read to me. A cute, kids-fantasy about people who are only two feet tall and live in a secluded valley of their own, yet still have to fight off enemies such as the Mushrooms who try to invade them. No magic, very well written. Age Group: 10+

Pippi Longstocking books by Astrid Lindgren. I loved these books and read them several times over until my copies were literally falling apart. A cute, silly account of a girl who never knew her mother, is the strongest girl in the world, and believes her father is a Cannibal King on an island somewhere in the ocean. Befriended by two kids next door, Pippi lives in her own little world, and never fails to drag other people into it. Age Group: 8+

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. Historical fiction about a 12-year old boy left on his own during a summer in Maine, he is befriended by a Native American chief and his grandson. I love any and all of Elizabeth George Speare’s books, and this was no exception. Age Group: 9+

The Witch of Black Bird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. Once again, I loved this book(even more than The Sign of the Beaver). Historical fiction(ish) and set in the American colonies, there is no real ‘witch’ in it, the woman is only labeled that by her fellow townspeople because she’s a little different than them. I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone. Age Group: 10+

Journey of Souls trilogy by C. D. Baker. Very, very accurate historical fiction of the Children’s Crusade. It is very realistic and heart-wrenching at times, but in the early 13th century, that was how life was. Filled with courage, perseverance, and faith, C. D. Baker does a wonderful job of mixing just enough history with just enough fiction. Age Group: 14+ (for some very realistic and sometimes gruesome scenes.)

Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flanagan. I have not found fantasy this good since I read Lord of the Rings. Thanks to Vandi for recommending this series to me, I am now hooked. Very well written, no magic. This is the perfect example of how fantasy doesn’t have to stock-full of magic to be good. Instead of magic, Flanagan relies on realistic strategy to get his characters out of tight spots. Instead of wishing you had all the magical powers they had, you feel you can relate to his characters on an even plain.  Age Group: 12+

Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan. Companion series to Ranger’s Apprentice and set in the same world, young Hal is caught in a no-man’s-land. Half Araluan, half Scandian, he doesn’t fit in anywhere. And yet he still must go through the customary Scandian Brotherband training. A born leader and engineer, he suddenly finds himself skirl over the third and smallest band–all made up of outcasts just like him. Can they survive Brotherband training? Or will be they be disqualified? Age Group: 12+

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. Children’s pioneer(ish story). I read it a long time ago and I can’t remember a lot of details… Caddie has two older brothers and then another older/grown up sister. They have a farm(I think), so she grew up playing and romping with her brothers and doing boy chores. Age Group: 7+

An Old Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott. Mama read this to me quite a while ago and I really enjoyed it. A country girl comes to visit her city girl-pen pal(I think that’s how they knew each other). Polly(country girl) glimpses the lavish, extravagant life-style of the wealthy for the first time, and Fanny(city girl) sees what pleasure and joy can come from the simple down-to-earth life of those outside the city. Age Group: 12+

Six Cousins at Mistletow Farm by Enid Biyton. I’m not sure how easily you’ll be able to find this one. The copy I have is older… and I can’t remember the publication date. Anyway, three cousins from the country are not-so-happy to have their three cousins from the city come live with them when the latters’ house is burned down. But they eventually discover none of them are as bad as the others thought, and they settled into life as one big happy family. Age Group: 8+

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. A creative spin on popular fairy-tales, this debut novel tells the story of what happens after the end of the story(and it’s not so happily ever after either, as those pesky bards will tell you). Join four princes that you probably never even knew their real names before(and no, Prince Charming is NOT their real names) as they band together to stop a horrible plot they uncover and save each of their kingdoms in turn. Age Group: 9+

And that is a compilation of just about my whole bookshelf. If you have any good books you have enjoyed and would recommend, please leave a comment. I’m always looking for new books to read myself.

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