Summer reading? Puzzle me this!

Summer time really is coming, as the weather is reminding us.  Time for reading for fun! Our young readers like a challenge, an intriguing entertaining story with clues either visual or verbal. I Spy books, with a visual scavenger hunt, are a good way to introduce some of those critical thinking skills to non-readers and the reluctant ones. I Spy Gold Challenge by Marzollo is a one of a series that some children will go back to scrutinize again and again.  The visually rich picture book Eleventh Hour by Graeme Base  is another favorite.

Out of This World Aliens by Kaiz 793.73 or Inspector Rockfort & the Missing Treasure by Rossell 793.7 are also fun to explore. Wild West Trail Ride Maze 793.7, Munro, could be a hit for those of you who visited our wonderful Cowboy Poetry Festival in April.

Moving to the 8-12 age group, here are some suggestions  that are not just plots and characters, but call for some mental indoor gymnastics. Kids will enjoy a mystery or one of our popular books about solving puzzles and playing games. You can fight the “summer slump” with curiosity and stimulation by choosing Book Scavenger series written by Bertman. Book 1 is simply called Book Scavenger and Book 2 is Unbreakable Code.

Another book that has been very popular is Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Grabenstein. This series also contains Island of Dr. Libris and Library Olympics.  The Great Library Race can be enjoyed as a recorded audio book. The eBook can be downloaded as an audio book onto a pad or device.


Two older books that have enchanted many fourth and fifth graders, and work well as a read alouds, are From the mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Westing Game by Raskin.  A much more recent entry for ages 8-12 is School of Secrets: Carlos’s Scavenger Hunt, Lonnie’s Warrior Sword based on Disney Descendants.

If you are looking for a series of books about solving different kinds of puzzles with engaging characters, I would recommend the Balliett books. Start with Chasing Vermeer which includes an art scandal when a painting goes missing.  Book 2 is the Calder Game in which a sculpture serves as a clue. Focused more on architecture is Wright 3 about Frank Lloyd Wright. Learning should always be that much fun!

Most of our readers are familiar with the 39 Clues series some of which can be found on the Juvenile   Spanish shelves. In the paperback collection you can find the series Puzzling World of Winston Breen by   Berlin. Additional titles are Potato Chip Puzzles:  Puzzling World of Winston Breen and Puzzler’s Mansion. Infinity Ring features time travel and has a variety of well-known authors such as: Dashner, de la Pena, Kirby, and McMann.

A new series (2016) I discovered recently is the T.O.A.S.T Mysteries Bk 1 Framed! by Ponti. This 12 year old hero consults with the FBI in Washington D. C. to help sidetrack the plans for an art heist. The young detective relies on his powers of observation. Vanished! is the sequel.

We have a 2017 Newbery Honor Book and winner of the Sydney Taylor award (given for books that authentically portray the Jewish experience) in Inquisitor’s Tale: or, Three Magical Children and Their Dog by Gidwitz. We have this novel in several formats, audio book and  print book.

Librarians and teachers recognize the phenomenon known as Summer Slide. Some students will lose two months of progress in comprehension, specifically critical reading skills over the vacation. Some homes don’t have access to reading and literacy materials. Puzzle solved. The library provides a safe cool place for children and adults and plenty of books to support local reading systems. I hope some of these listed books will be the missing piece in a summer literacy adventure. Of course our summer reading program, “Reading Takes You Everywhere” is coming next month. Sign-up’s are June 11 and that too will offer lots of opportunities to keep flexing those brain cells.

By Miss Lee


Miss Angie

I am a children's librarian at SCPL's Canyon Country Library. My favorite things are funny books, ice cream, and the Matterhorn at Disneyland.

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