By Irene Sanders
The heat is high, the sun is bright, and shorts and flip-flops have resurrected themselves from the backs of crowded closets. With classes out of session and time on your kids’ hands, why not get them absorbed in some fantastic indie books? Below are some of our favorites of the year — BlueInk Review’s 2015 Summer Children’s Reading List!
On Grandaddy’s Knee, by Lorraine Wilson: Wilson’s picture book of poems offers a kid-friendly entry into the world of poetry. Emotionally and structurally diverse, these 20 poems range from light and fun, to mournful and elegiac. Kenn Yapsangco’s vibrant and colorful illustrations provide an excellent companion to the poetry. In all, On Grandaddy’s Knee is an admirable collection that skillfully relates to children’s lives while showing them ways to address those experiences in verse. Read Review
The Tale of Tumeleng, by Ms. Ryke Leigh Douglas: This outstanding picture book follows the story of a young elephant named Tumeleng as she grows up in Africa. Unlike classic, whimsical elephant characters such as Babar or Elmer, Tumeleng retains her animal nature while never once losing her appeal. The realistic sequence of events in Tumeleng’s life are enhanced by excellent, realistic-looking illustrations. Children, particularly those in grades 2-4, will enjoy this fictional glimpse into the lives of these grand and majestic creatures. Read Review
Blake’s Story: Revenge, and Forgiveness, by J. Arthur Moore and Bryson B. Brodzinski: Written by an experienced history teacher and his great-grandson, this unique, intense novel tells a Civil War story through the eyes of 11-year old Blake Bradford. The story starts with the death of Blake’s father, a Confederate captain. Angry and determined, Blake takes it upon himself to find and kill the Union solider responsible for his father’s death. What begins as a story of revenge, though, soon develops into a tale of forgiveness and unlikely friendship. This well-crafted collaboration is engrossing, memorable and an excellent conversation-starter for young readers. Read Review
Bugglepuffs and the Magic Key, by C.L. Bennett: The first in a series authored by Bennett, this charming book chronicles the story of the Bugglepuff family. Full of life and humorous quirks, the family consists of Captain Bugglepuff, a crab fisherman; his wife, Delirious; and their four children. The Bugglepuff story begins as the family moves into their new home-out of excitement Mrs. Bugglepuff signs some papers without reading them, and it doesn’t take long before trouble ensues. Lovely and rich with great writing, the narrative ends with a cliff-hanger that will have young readers eager to read book two! Read Review
The Math Problem, by Susan Troutt: This story is centered around a frizzy-haired boy named Jake. After receiving a failing grade in math, Jake is given a tutor by his parents. What he initially thinks is going to be an intimidating and unlikeable experience, turns into a fun and growing love for math. Well-paced and often high-spirited, the narrative delivers a memorable character whose quirks and mishaps add excitement to the story. Combined with a number of math-concepts-made-easy, the tale adds up to an excellent selection for middle readers. Read Review
Dogs Don’t Talk, by Nancy May: Sixteen-year-old Benjamin has just finished his sophomore year and is feeling lonely. He dreams of attaining three things: a “reasonably hot” girlfriend, respect from his fellow wrestlers, and more attention from his mother. In an attempt at self-psychoanalysis, he recounts stories from his childhood, including the trials of growing up with his autistic brother Johnny. As readers follow Ben through the summer and into his junior year, they will find a funny, warm-hearted and engaging story, as well as fast-moving dialogue that delivers both laughter and touching moments. Read Review
Monster Squad: Book 1, The Iron Golem, by: Christian Page: This tale begins in 1938 in Rosewell, NM. when a group of scientists discover the wreckage of an Unidentified Flying Object and their lives—and DNA—are changed forever. Several generations later, a group of preteens begin to notice strange things happening to their bodies, including invisibility, super strength, and animalistic speed. It’s not long before the events set in motion in 1938 ensure that the lives of these “heirs” will never be simple or boring again. For fans of Rick Riordan and Neil Gaiman’s middle-grade work, Monster Squad is a compelling young adult novel bursting with outrageously exciting action. Read Review
Sweet Desire, Wicked Fate, by: Wray Ardan: Successfully blending science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, and coming-of-age genres, the novel is volume one in an intended three-part series. The imaginative young adult thriller pits shy, 15-year-old Jadan Lisette against a vicious group of flesh-eating, cross-bred creatures known as Mal Rous. Bullied by her older sister, Jadan dreads spending time with her family restoring an old inherited mansion. When Jadan accidently releases the Mal Rous from hibernation, she and a team of unlikely heroes set to protect their town from the beasts. This moving portrayal of teenaged angst and lust and effective blending of genres should satisfy young adult readers looking for a fresh new fantasy series. Read Review
Irene Sanders is a junior at the University of Colorado Denver, where she is studying communications. She is BlueInk Review’s 2015 summer intern.
BlueInk Review offers credible and unbiased reviews of self-published books exclusively. Visit us at www.blueinkreview.com.