The First SUMMER VACA IS FOR READING Postcard arrives

Heading into last summer I gave out a SUMMER VACATION IS FOR READING postcard to each student. One design option has a beach scene and one has a camping scene. The return rate wasn’t great last year, but I didn’t let that deter me this year. I again printed, cut, and passed them out. You know why? It gets ME excited, and is cool for the students who decide to respond. I tried not to count–or take personally–the postcards that were dropped on the floor or in the classroom or hallway accidentally left behind. And here is why:

The first postcard recently arrived in my mailbox.

There was much rejoicing.

Here is the Postcard from Samantha L.:



Before we take a closer look at her three books, just a reminder that this is the same Samantha who made a video response to The Wig in the Window after she read the ARC that Ms Kittscher sent me.

And here is a picture of Sam and her friend/classmate/my former student Julia at Yankee Stadium where they BROUGHT THEIR BOOKS to pose for this summer reading pic:

I’ll even pardon Sam’s Cowboys hat this one time (did you see the bat she’s holding?). Julia is reading The Testing. Many students were very excited about reading it after seeing the trailer.

It does this teacher’s heart good to see pics n’ postcards like this. For every student who says, “I’m not reading this summer!” there are students like these. Ahhhhhh….

So–the books.

Book one needs no introduction in the YA reading community:


Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2012 Kids’ Next List
“A cancer support group might seem like an unlikely place to meet your true love, but for Hazel Grace and Augustus Waters the stars align and these two sweetly cynical souls find each other at an interesting moment in their lives. In a story brimming with mystery, humor, and lots of love, Hazel and Augustus show readers that life is made up of a million moments worth noticing — much like a night sky filled with stars.”
— Julie Wilson, The Bookworm, Omaha, NE

TIME Magazine’s #1 Fiction Book of 2012!
“The Fault in Our Stars is a love story, one of the most genuine and moving ones in recent American fiction, but it’s also an existential tragedy of tremendous intelligence and courage and sadness.” —Lev Grossman, TIME Magazine

Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Insightful, bold, irreverent, and raw, The Fault in Our Stars is award-winning-author John Green’s most ambitious and heartbreaking work yet, brilliantly exploring the funny, thrilling, and tragic business of being alive and in love

I wouldn’t recommend this book to a seventh grader… but I’m sure curious how Samantha liked this.

• • •



Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2012 Kids’ Next List
“Every Tuesday, the castle presents Celie with a new adventure by adding onto itself. Sometimes it’s a new room; other times it’s a tower. But no matter what it is, you can bet Celie will be there, adding to one of her maps. It’s all fun and games until her parents, King and Queen Glower, are ambushed and are gone without a trace. Now it’s up to Celie, her siblings, the Castle, and its love for them to protect the kingdom from outsiders. I loved how each step Celie took in the castle led to a new surprise and an exciting revelation!”
— Clare Nelson, The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, WI

Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie’s favorite days. That’s because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one-other than Celie, that is-takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it’s up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle’s never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom. This delightful book from a fan- and bookseller-favorite kicks off a brand-new series sure to become a modern classic.

• • •


A wonderfully whimsical debut that proves ordinary people can do extraordinary things

In the mountain town of Remarkable, everyone is extraordinarily talented, extraordinarily gifted, or just plain extraordinary. Everyone, that is, except Jane Doe, the most average ten-year-old who ever lived. But everything changes when the mischievous, downright criminal Grimlet twins enroll in Jane’s school and a strange pirate captain appears in town.

Thus begins a series of adventures that put some of Remarkable’s most infamous inhabitants and their long-held secrets in danger. It’s up to Jane, in her own modest style, to come to the rescue and prove that she is capable of some rather exceptional things.

With a page-turning mystery and larger-than-life cast of characters, Lizzie K. Foley’s debut is nothing short of remarkable.

You can have a little fun looking over the author’s website.

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And that, my friends, is that–the first SUMMER VACATION IS FOR READING postcard recap. If you’re a reader of this blog and would like to send me a postcard, email me at and I’ll send you my address. You can also send me a picture of you reading in a fun, summer location. I’ll include the picture in my end-of-summer/beginning-of-school slide show. Make sure we can see the cover of the book :-}

Happy summer reading, y’all!

The first SUMMER VACATION IS FOR READING postcard arrives

Keeping students reading over the summer is challenging. There is so much to do. So much outside time. But we know how important it is.

At the end of the year I gave each student a postcard like this:


(There is also a camping version.) I made the postcards based on a Twitter conversation with other teachers about how to keep students reading, and how to stay in touch with our students over the summer so as not to lose the reading community that was built during the year.

Our summer break only started at the end of June, so we aren’t too far in. But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t anxious to see if any would appear in my mailbox.

And yesterday, the first SUMMER VACATION IS FOR READING postcard arrived.


In honor of Maddie, I am including the IndieBound description of the books she recommends.

While I won’t be able to do this for every card I receive, firsts are special.

Enjoy–and check back for future postcard reveals. (And the end-of-summer ReadingPic video. “What’s that?” you’re asking. Email me a picture of you reading in a fun location. I will make a video of the pictures I receive. Email address:

Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Autumn 2009 Kids’ Indie Next List
“Heather Hepler takes a standard teen-issue theme — divorcing parents, moving somewhere new, mean girls — and turns it into a warm and wonderful novel. Penny’s adjustment to life in Hog’s Hollow — away from her father and her friends in Manhattan — is told with great understanding.”
— Karen Keyte, Books Etc., Falmouth, ME

When Penny moves to Hog’s Hollow from New York City, her life changes drastically. Penny’s mom now runs a cupcake bakery, and Penny is stuck helping out. But that isn’t the worst of it. Not only did she leave her friends back home, but her dad stayed behind too. And then there’s Charity, resident mean girl who’s out to get Penny. With all this, Penny still finds some things to like: Tally and Blake, and Marcus the cute, quiet boy who runs on the beach every night. But just when Penny begins to accept her new life, she’s forced to make a choice that will change everything.


Magical realism and a modern Cinderella story makes for a fun and relatable read.

Sixth grade is not going well for Calliope Meadow Anderson. Callie’s hair is frizzy, her best friend, Ellen, is acting weird, and to top things off, she has to get glasses. And her new specs aren’t even cute, trendy glasses—more like hideously large and geeky. But Callie soon discovers that her glasses have a special, magical perk: When she wears them, she can read people’s thoughts. Crazy glasses aside, Callie has more drama to face when she’s cast as the lead in the school play—and instead opts to be an understudy, giving the role of Cinderella to Ellen. Can Callie’s magic glasses help her see her way to leading lady, or is she destined to stay in the background forever?




For anyone who’s ever felt that boys were a different species….

Wildly creative seventh grader Kara McAllister just had her best idea yet. She’s going to take notes on all of the boys in her grade (and a few elsewhere) in order to answer a seemingly simple question: How can she get a boyfriend?

But Kara’s project turns out to be a lot more complicated than she imagined. Soon there are secrets, lies, and an embarrassing incident in the boy’s bathroom. Plus, Kara has to deal with mean girls, her slightly spacey BFF, and some surprising uses for duct tape. Still, if Kara’s research leads her to the right boy, everything may just be worth it. . . .

Full of charts and graphs, heart and humor, this hilarious debut will resonate with tweens everywhere.