It’s that time of year to close the school books and enjoy great reading books that will take your child to distant lands and adventures beyond their imagination. The first seven books focus on family and friendship. The next five books are science fiction and all of these books are good for ages 8 and up. Also, all are great to read-out-loud for all ages. The last two are geared for teens through adult and were written by LDS authors. 


The Forget-Me-Not Summer, by Leila Howland, has three sisters being sent unwillingly to spend their summer in a small coastal town with their Aunt Sunny. They soon discover that there is no Internet, no cell service and even no TV! What will they do with their time? They soon discover that the house is inviting, their aunt is a delight and the beach is waiting to be explored. This book is a treasure!

The Stars of Summer, by Tara Dairman, is about a food reviewer who’s looking forward to a summer of cooking. But when her friend gives her a birthday gift to enjoy a summer at a girls’ camp, she is excited to begin planning the other campers’ lunches. But it all begins to unravel when she hears complaints about her food. This is a delightful and entertaining story.

Adventures With Waffles, by Maria Parr, is a sweet story that reflects life out in the country. This book was beautifully written by a Norwegian and there are some unusual names. The two protagonists are Lena and her best friend, Trille, who end up in many escapades throughout the year. Some are funny and some are challenging, but all are rewarding. The one theme throughout the book is their love and frequency of eating Norway’s favorite food: waffles.

The Penderwicks in Spring, by Jeanne Birdsall, is actually the fourth book in this lovely series, but it’s not necessary to read the others first before reading about the Penderwick family. However, you will want to read the rest once you finish this selection. This book centers on young Batty who soon discovers that she can sing. Her older siblings are ready to leave home and she doesn’t want any of them to know of her newly discovered talent. Each member of the family is engaging and endearing.

The Truth About Twinkie Pie, by Kat Yeh, is sprinkled with delicious, mouth-watering recipes, but it’s the story you’ll want to sink your teeth into. GiGi is thrilled when her older sister, DiDi, wins a million dollars from a cooking show contest. DiDi is now the caretaker after their mom’s death and wants the best for her little sister. But GiGi encounters some problems trying to adjust to life without mom and living in a new city.

The Doll People Set Sail, by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, and wonderfully illustrated with drawings sprinkled throughout by Brett Helquist, takes to the high seas. The dolls have been mistakenly packed away on a cargo ship heading out to sea. This book is full of adventure as the dolls attempt to locate their missing relatives on the ship. Be sure to check out the other books about “The Doll People”.

Absolutely Truly, by Heather Vogel Frederick, centers on family relationships. Twelve-year-old Truly has just moved to Pumpkin Falls and is adjusting to a new school and new friends. Her father has recently come home after being injured in Afghanistan and the family moves back to his hometown to help with his family’s bookstore. A mystery ensues when she discovers a note inside a classic copy of “Charlotte’s Web”. This story will wrap around your heart. 

Robots Rule! (The Junkyard Bot), by C. J. Richards, with illustrations sprinkled throughout by Goro Fajita, is the first book in a planned series. Worker robots are the norm in ten-year-old George’s town. His robot, Jackbot, is his best friend but is hit by a car. George immediately takes him to get fixed and now the robot does more than anyone could ever have imagined! 

The Jupiter Pirates (Hunt for the Hydra), Book 1, by Jason Fry, and Book 2: “Curse of the Iris”, are both packed with adventure. The Jovian family is in command of the starship and each child is in competition to take over the command when necessary. These books are a nice blend of swashbuckling and laser cannons. There’s also a glossary of ship terms found in the back of the book.

Ambassador, by William Alexander, begins when Gabe is suddenly awakened in bed by an alien who asks him if he wants to become Earth’s ambassador for the galaxy. As soon as he accepts, he is whisked away, by way of an interesting usage of the washing machine, and sets out to stop Earth from being totally annihilated. This is a thrilling adventure. Mars

Mars Evacuees, by Sophia McDougall, immediately begins with Alice evacuating to Mars when Earth comes under attack by aliens. Alice and her friends begin to notice that adults are disappearing without a trace. They decide it’s time to save the galaxy. Be prepared for quite a ride. 

Smek For President!, by Adam Rex, begins with the two aliens, Tip and J. Lo. They head to one of Saturn’s moon’s in a cool Chevy spaceship. But they find that they aren’t welcome and Captain Smek is attempting to capture them so that he can win Boov’s presidential election. This book is also filled with Rex’s creative and hilarious cartoonish drawings that will surely add laughs and smiles!

The Storyspinner, by Becky Wallace, is the first book in “The Keepers’ Chronicles, where you’ll find danger at every turn, magic throughout and surprise romance blossoming. Johanna has been forced to leave her performing troupe after her father died. Now, she has found work for handsome and rich Lord Rafael. The Keepers are magical and are trying to locate a princess that is known to be dead. Could this be Johanna? This is a thrilling adventure!

Mark of the Thief, by Jennifer A. Nielsen, is a story set in ancient Rome where there is magic, history and adventure. Nic is a slave in the mines when he discovers an ancient amulet that is filled with magic. He takes it and now others will do anything to attain it, even kill him or his sister. This one action sets in motion the storyline where Nic finds traitors and spies at every turn. This is the first book in a fantastic new series.