Summer Time – Reading Time!

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Summer is a time to read!!!

Summer is in full swing and I am loving it!! Although I can not believe we are already at the end of June! One thing that we love about summer in the Hanson Household is we have lots of time to catch up on our reading. Nate and I have a love for books, and that love has definitely carried on to the next generation. Today I thought I would share some of our fun reading resources that we go to during the summer months.

Book Series We Recommend:

Here are three different series for three different age groups that our family is currently enjoying and they are gender neutral so both your boys and girls will enjoy them!

The Adventures of Adam Raccoon Series by Glen Keane (for ages 4-7)

We were delighted to hear that the Adam Raccoon series was back in print! These stories are parables of God’s unfailing love and forgiveness, and they show our kids what to do when they make mistakes. I love how King Aren’s gentle strength paints a picture of our Heavenly Father and how the stories and illustrations make you feel like you are Adam Raccoon. They contain great nuggets of wisdom, such as: “It’s easy to get off track.  But when you do, get back on course and finish the race.” But the true beauty of these books is the way they connect with our children’s hearts and point them to their Heavenly Father! You can purchase these books at or on amazon.

Mercy Watson Series and Tales from Deckawoo Drive Series by Kate Dicamillo (for ages 5-10)

Kate Dicamillo is moving up to the top of our list of children’s book authors. Her whimsical way of describing a person or scene captivates your attention and draws you into the story. Mercy Watson is Mr. and Mrs. Watson’s “porcine wonder.” (Or in other words, their pet pig.) Mercy is always innocently finding trouble and it takes a whole neighborhood effort to get things back together. In the Tales from Deckawoo Drive series you learn more about Mercy’s fellow neighbors and their journeys on discovering their true identity. Our favorites are Where are you going Baby Lincoln? and Francine Poulet Meets the Ghost Raccoon.  (If you can, listen to the Francine audiobook!!)  These two in particular teach wonderful lessons about identity and finding your voice, while still being silly and fun.  

The Amazing Tales of Max and Liz by Jenny L Cote (for ages 8-13)

This series brings the Bible to life through the eyes of Max, a time-traveling Scottish Terrier. Jenny Cote draws the reader in and helps them learn how to apply the principles of the Bible to real life.   Max and His animal friends travel to different parts of the world and throughout history to fulfill their mission and learn more about the people in the Bible. The seven book series takes you from Genesis to Revelation and gives you a big picture understanding of the Bible. The books are action packed that keeps you interested, which is good since the books are longer than normal. The shortest book has just over 350 pages!  We are amazed at the way she captures what it must have felt like to really be there with the real people we read about in the Bible, and she weaves in powerful spiritual lessons without sermonizing.  

Summer Reading Programs

We love books so we love it when we have a chance to win or receive a free book. Here are our favorite summer reading programs.

Public Library

The Johnson County public library in Kansas City has a summer reading program every summer. This year you get your free book when you pick up your summer reading log. If you fill out the reading log and turn it in you will be entered to win the grand prize at the end of summer. I am sure most public libraries around the US have a similar program. (If they don’t have a book that you want, don’t be afraid to ask them to buy it.)

Lifeway Christian Stores: Summer R.E.A.D Program

This is one of my favorite reading programs. You can pick up a booklet in the store or download it off their website. The kids are to read 6 books and answer character related questions about each book. They also tie in a Bible memory verse for each “Mission.” Once completed the child can turn in their book for a free book plus a Bible or devotion. If you don’t have a Lifeway near you, check out the local Christian bookstore to see if they have a similar program.

Half Price Books Feed your Brain Summer Reading Program

This program is for kids 14 years of age and younger. They log 300 minutes of reading for the month of June and the month of July. When they turn in their log they get $5 for each month to spend on anything in the store!! That equals 2-5 free books, depending on the price.

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Pick up a summer reading journal at the store or print one online. Kids are to read eight books and share their favorite part of the book to earn a free book. The program is for kids grades 1-6. I typically look at the selection of free books and decide if this one is worth it or not. Last year we did not participate because there weren’t many books that met our approval for most of the kids. This year they have a better selection so most of the kids will be participating in it.

Book Lists:

Nowadays it is hard to find good quality books or at least morally neutral books for my kids to read. Our kids blow through books so fast we have had to search out new series to read. Here are some of our go-to resources to find new books. (We of course have not been able to read all of the books that are recommended so please look them over before selecting them for your children.)

  • Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt- there are lists of books according to age and genre
  • 123Homeschool4me has lists according to grade
  • We compiled this list a couple years ago.
  • Focus on the Family Kids Reading List

We are always on the lookout for new ideas.  Please leave comments below!  What is your 1 must-read book or series?  (Or 10!)


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