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Summer Book Matches for Kids

      What have the thousands of kids in our summer reading club been reading all summer long? A quick look at our Book Match service, which connects readers with book recommendations via email, shows that series books continue to be popular.  (Find Book Match here.)

          Anna-Marie asked for more American Girl History Mysteries like “Ghost Light on Graveyard Shoal” by Elizabeth McDavid Jones because “I liked the pirates and the skull on the island. I liked trying to solve the mystery along with the characters.” We suggested another in the series, “The Smuggler’s Treasure” by Sarah Masters Buckey. Eleven-year-old Elisabet travels to New Orleans in 1812, determined to find a smuggler's treasure to ransom her father, imprisoned by the British.
        Eight-year-old Lisa asked us for mysteries like Ron Roy’s “A to Z” series because “The stories are exciting and funny. I enjoy trying to solve the mystery with the other characters.”   
        The librarian recommended she try Ron Roy’s spinoff series, “The Calendar Mysteries.” In the first book, “The January Joker,” seven-year-old Bradley wakes up to see strange lights in the backyard and is convinced that aliens have landed. The story is full of clever twists and turns for mystery fans.
          Thirteen-year-old Shelby, a fantasy lover, asked for more books like Christopher Paolini’s “Eragon,” a popular book about a teenager who finds a magical stone that hatches a dragon. The librarian suggested “Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke, in which twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life.
          Baily said of “The 39 Clues,” mentioned in this column a few weeks ago, that she liked it because “it is suspending [sic] and has a short romance. They travel the world on a sort of treasure hunt and I love fiction travel books.” Our librarian recommended “The Thieves of Ostia: a Roman Mystery” by Caroline Lawrence, in which Flavia Gemina and her friends in ancient Rome work together to discover who is killing the neighborhood’s dogs, and why.
          Bailey loved Erin Hunter’s “Warriors” series.  “It was entertaining and it had a lot of action. It had some drama and it was fantasy. It was suspenseful and kept ya wanting more.” For fans of this series about clans of cats, the librarian suggested “Wild Magic” by Tamora Pierce. Daine is a 13-year-old orphan girl with an extraordinary talent for communicating with animals. She is swept up in the first skirmishes of a war, and must master her fears and learn how to marshal her magical abilities when she helps to battle the dreadful immortal creatures that have recently begun to attack the kingdom.
          Our Book Match requests slow down once school is in session. But the books these kids have read over the summer were not only fun to read, but also prepared them for a successful school year. Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s summer reading club!

This article was originally published in the Free Lance-Star on August 31, 2010.