Childrens book reviews by StorySnoops, judge a book by more than its cover, serving fresh scoops of new books for you every day
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Our Summer of Reading (or not!)

It’s back to school time again, and as usual, I have mixed feeling about it. (By the way, since when is it OK to start school back up in mid-August?! That’s just mean…) While I must admit I’m ready to have a few seconds alone to myself during the way, the whole morning shuffle off to school is a little stressful compared to the lazy summer we just had around here.

There has been a lot of reading around my house this summer. I read a few grown-up books that have been on my list for a long time. And my youngest kids seem to have switched reading places. My teen daughter, an avid reader who could easily devour two books in a week, now divides her time between friends, Instagram, and a certain boy band she is obsessed with. Sadly for me, she probably only read two or three books this summer.

But my ten-year-old boy formerly-reluctant reader – he was a reading fiend this summer! And for him it is all about Percy Jackson (thank you Mr. Riordan!). He zipped through the entire series and couldn’t get enough so now he is on to the spin-off series.  He’s currently reading The Son of Neptune. I love seeing this enthusiasm. It really is like when you watch your kids learn to ride a bike for the first time. You take the training wheels off, they wobble a little, and then, before you know it – you are watching their back and they ride down the street. Getting hooked on reading is much the same way. And it is just as awesome to watch, isn’t it?

And as an afterthought: I am always glad when they make a movie of a children’s book because I think it can be an incentive to read the book first. It piques their interest. At least for my boys it did. I could recommend a book but they scoffed at it until they saw on T.V. that it was being made into a movie. My youngest and I saw the latest Percy Jackson on opening day this summer, and he was SO excited. Afterward we went to lunch had a great book chat where he informed me of all of the inconsistencies between the book and the movie. Isn’t it always like that?

So for now my readers have swapped places, but I don’t mind one bit.

-Shannon, StorySnoop

P.S. I was just notified that my Instagram-obsessed daughter has gone over her data-plan, so I am forecasting more reading in her future – at least until the next billing cycle. I’ll keep you posted :-)

Summer Reading – Old Faithful Books for 4th/5th Graders

School is out for many of our kids, already, and for the rest of us it is rapidly approaching. We want to keep our kids reading this summer, but sometimes it is hard to find a book that will keep their attention during the non-school months. Summertime is the perfect time to relax in the sun with a book – and sharpen those reading skills while they are at it!

In addition to our summer reading lists (for boys, teen girls, and tween girls), my child’s teacher asked me for a list of “old faithful” books for 4th and 5th graders, so I thought I’d share this list with you. These might not be the newest releases, but they are tried and true, and certain to be loved by the 9 and 10 year olds in your life.

Old Faithful Books for Tween Girls

My Life in Pink and Green (#1) by Lisa Greenwald, and
• My Summer of Pink and Green (#2) by Lisa Greenwald
Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass
Eleven (The Winnie Years Book #1) by Lauren Myracle (Parents, check the scoop on the site)
The Candymakers by Wendy Mass *
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead *
Whatever After #1: Fairest of All by Sarah Mlynowski
Old Faithful Books for Tween Boys

Peter and the Starcatchers #1 by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko  *
Holes by Louis Sacchar *
• Any of the sports books by Tim Green and Mike Lupica
Island Book One: Shipwreck by Gordon Korman
Maximum Ride #1: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson (kids love this series, but read the Scoop on the site) *
* Books that would be enjoyed by both genders.
Click here for our 2013 Summer Reading lists for teen gals, teen guys, tween girls, and tween boys.
Happy reading!
- Shannon, StorySnoop

StorySnoops Summer Reading–(Teen) Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

School is almost out, and your daughter may be itching to get at her “to be read” pile, full of all kinds of books her English teacher would never approve of, or she may be in need of some direction to keep her reading muscles in shape over vacation. Either way, we have all kinds of suggestions that will appeal whether she likes fantasy, romance, dystopian, sci-fi, humor, sports or otherwise.  If you’ve missed our other lists, we just posted great summer reads for boys and tween girls too. Enjoy!

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And this is just the start! Click here to see the entire list for teen girls :-)

Happy Reading!

-The Snoops

StorySnoops Summer Reading–It’s a (Tween) Girl Thing!

Summer is just about upon us!  When hear your first, “Mo-om, I’m bored,” don’t panic.  We have just the thing for you. You’re guaranteed to find something on this list to keep your tween girl engaged. Whether she likes fantasy, chick lit, humor, mystery, or dystopian, we have something for every taste. Also, be sure to check out our summer reading list for boys. And check back for our teen girls list, plus a list of classic summer standards.

Happy Reading!

-The Snoops

“Boy oh Boy” the StorySnoops Summer Reading Lists are here!

School is almost out for summer!  When hear your first, “Mo-om, I’m bored,” don’t panic.  We have just the thing for you. You’re guaranteed to find something on this list to keep your son engaged, whether he likes fantasy, action, humor, sci-fi, or sports, we have something for everyone.  We’ve got both tween and teen boys covered on this list, and check our upcoming blogs to get the scoop for tween girls and teen gals.

Books for Tween Boys

Books for Teen Guys

Be sure to click on the covers to get the scoop on each book and check out our full list of Summer Reading for tween boys and teen guys.

12 Books for Teens Adults May Enjoy — Suggestions Welcome!

I recently finished Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn and really loved it. I was completely engrossed from start to finish. I may have loved it a bit too much because I started feeling sorry for myself about the lack of literature written for adults in my must read pile. Being an optimistic person (and since I really have no choice), I realized that there a quite a few books I have read for StorySnoops that I actually would have chosen to read had I not been a writer of children’s book reviews. Here are some of the books we Snoops have read that may be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. Let us know what books for teens you’ve enjoyed. We’d love to add some slam-dunks to our piles!

-Jen, StorySnoop

Earth Day and Books

Am I mistaken, or was Earth Day even a thing back when I was a kid?  I kind of think not.  I guess I was a kid a really long time ago though :-) I did a little checking on it, and it turns out that it was first celebrated in San Francisco (named after St. Francis, the patron saint of ecology) on March 21st, 1970. It is now celebrated in over 175 countries around the world, with the intention of increasing awareness and appreciation of the Earth’s natural environment and resources. I give a big thumbs up for anything that gives our younger generation an opportunity to think about what the Earth has to offer, and how to make it last for generations yet-to-come. So in the spirit of Earth Day this week, StorySnoops has created a list of books for teens and tweens that have environmental themes or environmentally conscious characters—just a little something to reinforce what they’ll be hearing about in school this week. Enjoy!

-Eden, StorySnoop

Have You See Our Latest List of Great Read-Alouds?

Now that Spring has sprung, the days are getting longer, and the end of the school year is near, it’s getting more and more challenging to keep our children focused on their homework. After all, one more ride around the block or ball in the net is way more fun than being stuck inside… reading. To grab the attention of our restless youth, it may be time to break out a great read-aloud. Read-alouds are wonderful for engaging the entire family in a story, even when there are lots of other things competing for their attention. So here is a list of the most recent books we have read that are extremely well-suited for this purpose. There is a little something here for everyone.  Be sure to click on the book covers to get the full scoop.

Happy reading!

- Jen, Story Snoop

Old Stories With a New Twist: Today’s Thoroughly Modern Fairy Tales (and they’re not all just for girls!)

I have read a bunch of books for the StorySnoops site with the same kind of a premise – a refreshingly modern day take on a classic fairy tale.  Sounds girly and perhaps a little corny but no! These books feature a Cinderella who is more about empowering herself than she is about marrying her prince; or a brave outcast who faces the Snow Queen in order to save her best friend, Jack; or cousins Jack and Jill who, while on a quest, have many creepy and dangerous encounters in a book which is simultaneously hilarious and terrifying!

If your tween is interested in the new spin on an old classic, the “modern fairy tale”, here are some titles to try:

This list will get you started. We have a similar list for teens coming soon!

Happy Reading :-)

Shannon, StorySnoop

Suggested Reading for a Fifth Grade Boy

There are a lot of great boy books out there for middle graders. However, a parent recently commented to me that she is having a hard time finding good matches for her fifth grader, as he prefers realistic or historical fiction. There is a lot of fantasy and dystopian fiction out there, and although it’s very popular, it’s true that it’s not for everyone.  She mentioned that her son enjoyed the book Hatchet, likes historical fiction, and that as a family they have read The Hunger Games. With these clues, my mind got to working…

What is a boy such as this to read?  Since he liked Hatchet, he should definitely check out the companion book to called Brian’s Winter. And here are some additional suggestions:

As with any of the books that we recommend, please be sure to click on the cover and read the Scoop to make sure it’s the right fit for your child.  Let us know if you have a book match challenge. We’d be happy to make some suggestions for your reader.

Happy Reading!

-Shannon, StorySnoop