beach trip? stay-cation?…whatcha reading?

How do you pick your summer reading list? So many great places have fabulous suggestions, where can a reader begin? If you’re interested in what’s out there, here are a few of my favorite places:

Adult Fiction/Nonfiction

Visit NPR’s site for a rundown of ‘Books We Like’ along with program links to hear a podcast. For more sugestions, check out their 2011 Critic’s Choices, in categories: Crime Picks, Indie reads, Insane Science and more.

Follow the crowd to the NY Times Bestseller’s List. Find fiction, nonfiction, children’s, business, you name it, and it’s there! Plus they’ll give you a description of the difference between trade and mass-market books.

Check out Parade Magazine’s Summer Dozen. You can enter to win all the titles; plus they offer free excerpts!

While perusing Parade’s site, pop over to see what some of the stars are reading in the post “What I’ll be reading on vacation.” You may discover your interest piqued by reading what John Grisham or Jennifer Weiner put on their ‘to read’ list.

Still on Parade’s site, you may wonder ‘what can I take on vacation in audio format?’ Well, there’s a list for that! All Ears: Top 14 Audio Books for Summer has you covered in that department, too.

Hungering for more? Check out the ever-popular Oprah’s picks. She may be ‘retired’ but she’s still readin’. You’ll also see suggestions for writers: from Maya Angelou, Junot Diaz, Honor Moore, and others including ‘books that made a difference’ to authors including JK Rowling.

Lastly, in this category, I want to mention the American Library Association. Their fact sheets, statistics, and research make summer reading programs easier for our local libraries: a huge thank you to a great organization!

For the YA and under crowd

Do you have a teen who speeds through YA paperbacks like they scarf down pizza? Sign them up at Flamingnet* for the monthly give-away. They may get so psyched they’ll want to become a book reviewer to receive more free books!

How do you know the quality of reading material? Check the Lexile rate…which is a measure of a reader’s ability paired with compatible materials.

A great source for all readers is Los Angeles Unified School District’s Books of Summer links to reading lists. Awards head the categories Caldecott to Schneider Family and other recognized readings, including Best Books for Young Adults.

Also, check out Young Oak Kim Academy’s YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) Summer Reading list. This one brags fiction, nonfiction, reluctant readers and advanced readers.

While I’m shouting the praises of YALSA, see their recommendations for best graphic novels for ages 12-18, not just the summer, but best of 2011.

Feeling intellectual? Try the 101 books endorsed by CollegeBoard for those college-bound readers. You may want to begin these when they’re in Elementary School to hit all of them before their senior year. 🙂 This is a great list to choose a classic for you, too.

Need to switch gears? Never fear, if your kidlets need some summer fun, try these picks from Nick Glass. The audio snippets are a peek behind the pages for avid readers, writers, and parents. Oh, you bet, kids will enjoy hearing the authors’ inspirations in their own words.

More listening fun can be found at Online Storytime. Barnes & Noble offers favorite children’s books read by authors or celebrities, a new one a month with plenty of archives to enjoy over and over again.

Have you heard of Scholastic’s Global Literacy Campaign? Their Summer Read for the World Challenge? The concept is simple: read, log your minutes, win prizes!

I can’t finish this post without mentioning another great source for books: First Book.* They place more books in children’s hands than any other organization I know.

Happy Summer reading – pssst, pass it on!

Special thanks to School Clip Art for Teachers and Kids: check out their site for free clipart!

*In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that I serve as a volunteer for both Flamingnet and First Book.

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