We came up short, but finished strong. Truth be told, my kids have no idea… it’s splitting hairs between 91 and 100 picture books, anyway. What we didn’t accomplish in completion, we more than made up for in engaging activities. We read Ferdinand, then joined so many other kids and parents at the library one afternoon to watch the movie version (and work on revisions from the back row.) We read all of the latest releases by my local SCBWI group mates, Margaret Simon, Paul Schexnayder, Denise Gallagher and Allyson Foti-Bourque. We covered non-fiction in so many wonderful ways which started even more wonderful conversations that carried on throughout the summer. (Thanks to SHARK LADY and then Shark Week, I might just have an aspiring marine biologist on my hands.) There were beyond the book activities, author interviews, new favorites and classics revisited. We even ended the summer at our local Science Museum and retold tidbits, both facts and fiction from the books that visited our house. Some of the greatest parts of our summer were watching YC retell the stories in his own words, or MC finishing an entire ELEPHANT & PIGGIE book all on his own. Then there was OC who started and finished an entire SERIES this summer (DIARY OF A WIMPY KID didn’t stand a chance) and branch out to embrace different genres. All in all, I call this second year of summer reading a smashing success. Here are the rest of the titles we read:
1. The Story of Ferdinand by Murno Leaf
2. Meet Dizzy Dinosaur by Jack Tickle
3. No Sleep for the Sheep by Karen Beaumont, art by Jackie Urbanovic
4. Hiccupotamus by Steve Smallman, art by Ada Grey
5. The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman, art by Maria Frazee
6. Are You My Mother? By P.D. Eastman
7. Pete the Cat and the Lost Tooth by James Dean
8. Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman, art by Dan Yaccarino
9. The Water Princess by Susan Verde, art by Peter Reynolds
10. In the Time of Joy & Wonder by Paul Schexnayder
11. Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett, art by Adam Rex
12. Robot Rumpus by Sean Taylor, art by Ross Collins
13. A Perfect Day by Lane Smith
14. A Child’s Guide to Common Household Monsters by James Otis Thach, art by David Udovic
15. Don’t Touch this Book by Bill Cotter
16. Duck, Duck, Moose by Sudpita Bardhan-Quallen, art by Noah Z Jones
17. Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems
18. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
19. Pete the Cat and his 4 Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin, art by James Dean
20. Lost for Words by Natalie Russell
21. Shoo, Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
There was a symbolic, throwing in of the towel, however, and I think it’s an important conversation for another day. The short version of a long story is that I lost track of the adult reader in me in the midst of all the picture books. My self-imposed summer reading challenge became something to merely ‘get through’ and I found myself reading out of obligation instead of pleasure. Sure, there’s something to be said about ‘when the going gets tough’ but I think, in this case, keeping the focus on my original intention was more important than finishing just for the sake of finishing. Once I felt myself disengage, I knew it was only a matter of time before my kids caught on and followed suit. I couldn’t let that happen and thankfully, the answer to my problem was right under my nose.
Weeks ago, I borrowed a novel from the shelf of my sister. I carried it with me through vacations, afternoons by pool and waiting rooms at the doctor’s office but never once cracked the cover. So, guess what I did? I read a book! Not just any book either, THE BOOK OF OVE. It was delightful and poignant, silly and sad and just what the doctor ordered. The fact that I took advantage of the slow pace of summer to indulge in moments of reading for myself is my shining achievement. It may not seem like much, but it put balls in motion that I didn’t anticipate and gave me the chance to be more than mom, wife, writer and nurse… I was a reader again!
My kids are back in school now, summer is officially over for us (too bad the heat will stick around until the pumpkins come out) and this is the end of our second annual #100PictureBookSummer. Thanks for all the recommendations and encouragement along the way!
Thanks for reading, come back anytime!