Shore up your children’s reading list

Children’s Book Corner is a column suggesting children’s books from a mother of 11 children, who has also explored writing for children. Today’s column highlights fun children’s book reads for July that will hopefully keep your young reader reading!

By Pamela Tuck

Now that summer is here, we can really feel the heat . . . from the beautiful warm weather and from the pressure of encouraging summer reading for our children. How can books compete with parks, bike rides, pools, camping, or just merely sleeping in? It’s summer! So, what do we expect? I’ll tell you . . . more creative ways to enjoy summer reading.

Believe me, I feel your pain, the struggle is real. I know . . . I’m a mom of 11. It’s an accomplishment just to get my children up and active before 11 a.m. So, I understand trying to place a book in their hands is almost asking for a miracle. That’s why I’ve created this column to hopefully share some fun children’s book reads that correspond with activities happening each month. 

Before introducing the recommended books, I’d like to share ways to find incentives to encourage summer reading.

The one good thing about the summer reading challenge is that we don’t have to do it alone. Summer reading is so popular that there are national programs designed to help parents encourage their children to keep reading over the summer. Bookstores, restaurants, learning centers, theme parks, local libraries and professional sports teams have created summer reading programs that offer prizes to build incentives to keep children reading. For instance, most public libraries offer free reading activities and incentives for children, along with story time and other reading-themed activities. Six Flags offers a Read to Succeed Program to children in grades K – 6 that gives free admission upon the completion of 6 hours of approved non-school related reading. There are dozens of summer reading program ideas and incentives online, but I’ll give you a head start in your research. Visit the We Are Teachers website at to unleash 11 fun summer reading incentives.

In thinking about July, one of the first things that comes to mind is Independence Day. Again, I have another book in the Night Before Series by Natasha Wing. The book is illustrated by Amy Wummer and guess what? Amy lives in Reading, Pennsylvania. So, by reading this book, you’ll not only get a few ideas and laughs to enjoy your 4th of July, but you’ll be supporting a local artist.

Drumroll please . . .

The Night Before the Fourth of July
written by Natasha Wing and illustrated by Amy Wummer

This book is recommended for grades Pre-K through 2.

In this fun rhyming picture book, the fun and excitement of the Fourth of July is captured with parades and backyard BBQs with family and friends. Although the festivities are threatened by an afternoon thunderstorm, everyone finds a way to enjoy America’s birthday celebration with a bang!

As a parent, when I think of summer, I think of relaxing, slow-paced days, and camping trips. Although hotdogs and baked beans, smores and junk food find their way into our vacationing lives, I still like to encourage healthy eating habits for my children . . . even in summer. A little humor is always nice to add to the mix for good measure, which brings me to my next book recommendation.

Drumroll two please . . .

The Gulps
written by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by Marc Brown

This book is recommended for grades PreK through 5

When a fast-food fanatic family of bunnies set out on vacation, they pack their RV full of junk food. They don’t get very far when their weighed-down vehicle comes to a halt in the middle of nowhere. Rescued by Farmer Spratt and his wife, the Gulps reluctantly learn the value of fresh, home-cooked meals and the lasting benefits of physical activity. The Gulps’ transformation is sure to spark a few laughs, along with inspiring healthy habits.

Hopefully these suggestions will generate some ideas and serve as a springboard to fuel your own discovery of the important things that happened in July in America and beyond and most importantly . . . keep you and your child reading!

Categories: Art & Entertainment, Books

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