Never Miss a Beat

Oldies, but Goodies | Great Kidlit for Summer Reading PART TWO

As I mentioned in this previous post, sometimes, as readers and reviewers, we get so caught up in the \”newest and best\” releases that we forget about the goldmine of exceptional kids\’ books that already exist! The following are MORE books the Audrey Press Team has read over the last 4+ years that they feel are worthy of a fresh look. Enjoy!


What on Earth by Isabel Thomas


This is a fantastically entertaining book filled with gobs and gobs of information and activities to help you learn all about that mystical thing we call wind. How does wind work? Where does it come from? What do you mean there are different types of wind? That sounds crazy. Yes, my friends, the wind is not magic, it\’s science. But it\’s still fun to imagine.
In this book, you\’ll learn all about wind, as well as how to make tools to help you understand it even better. You\’ll make paper gliders, wind chimes, an anemometer, a weather vane, and much more.

Water reflects the same structure as Wind. You start off with a few poems about water, learning where water comes from and all its different forms, and how to tell if it\’s going to rain. You\’ll make an iceberg, cloud in a jar, a rain gauge, and learn how to make a secret message with salt and water. How cool is that? This book makes learning about water super cool! Obviously, this book doesn\’t need activities because it\’s made up of them. To learn about the world around us, get these books and start exploring and investigating!

Topsy Turvy books by Wes Magee & Tracey Tucker

Topsy Turvy Animals and Topsy Turvy Ocean

These two books are absolutely charming and imaginative! The rhymes in both are fun and exciting and kind of make you want to dance. The illustrations are absolutely fantastic and will stick in your head. So maybe cranes don\’t conduct a frog and toad choir, but who cares? That\’s the fun of creative imagination, right.

Top Dog And Other Doggone Delightful Expressions by Carli Davidson


This is a charming book of photography that not only shares pictures of ADORABLE dogs but also teaches/reminds us of those cute phrases that we all know and love. Plus, any dog lover will by dying to put the word \”dog\” into their everyday language as much as possible, and this sweet book is the way told to do that.

As an added bonus, Davidson includes small personality profiles of all the dogs featured in her book, which I think just gives it that extra cuteness factor. I mean, who doesn\’t love learning about Laka the Pit Bull who \”Knows all kinds of tricks and really excels at standing on her hind legs while giving a high five.\” That\’s definitely my kind of dog right there. I think dog high-fives are probably the best high-fives. If you like Carli Davidson\’s work, this is not her only fantastic book of photography.

You can also check out Shake Dogs, Shake Cats, Shake Puppies, and Invincible.


Find Your Way Books by Paul Boston

Under the Sea is an interactive book journey traveling through the ocean to the Merp\’s castle!


Along the way, you will learn about mapping skills as well as practice some math. Find the pearls, burgers, and shark teeth that are needed at the castle, but remember that there will always be roadblocks. In the Jungle is another interactive traveling book, but this time, we explore the exciting areas of the jungle! We have to find red feathers, blue bananas, and yellow kazoos. But don\’t forget to be a kind driver as you\’re going along and help lost travelers to find their way.

Other books in this series include Find Your Way Underground and Find Your Way in Space.

Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan


After Johnny and Mojo\’s father dies, their mother moves them to a new home, new district, new school–new everything. Nothing has been right, nothing feels right. Mojo has slipped into a phase where he acts like an animal all the time; the \”popular\” at school have picked Johnny as the kid to torture; and on top of all that, Johnny\’s mom saddles him with the responsibility of taking care of Mojo while she works and makes new friends.

Soon after the school year, Johnny falls into a scrap with Liam and his squad of goonies, and they have a choice. They can either be on litter patrol or join the ballet–Swan Lake. As much as Johnny wants to blend in, be invisible, he soon begins to fall in love with dance and with the idea of swans in general, their power and grace. Before he knows it, he\’s starting to transform into a swan–a white streak in his hair; white, fluffy down growing on his chest.

Instead of life becoming easier, things just get more difficult. The bullies won\’t leave Johnny alone, he loses the one friend he starts to make, his brother\’s odd behavior becomes increasingly odder, and his mother notices nothing. All he wants is his old life, to fit in, to be a kid–not to be the man of the house. So how can Swan Lake help all of that?
Nikki Sheehan has created a beautiful middle-grade novel right when it is needed. Swan Boy teaches young readers how to cope with bullying, family and friend loyalty, as well as being comfortable in your own skin, as well as dealing with grief in a unique way both through Johnny and his brother Mojo. She experiments with the novel form by playing with the line format, mixing in a bit of poetry into this graceful story.

Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl\’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle


Drum Dream Girl: How One Girl\’s Courage Changed Music is an inspiring story based on true events. And since I played drums in high school, this poem has a special place in my heart. We female drummers have to stick together! Girls didn\’t drum. That\’s just the way things were in Cuba. Men were meant to be drummers. But then one little Drum Dream Girl decided to change all that. She lived, breathed, and dreamt drumming. Her fingers would start tapping beats without her even realizing it. Little Drum Dream Girl was meant to be a drummer. But no one would listen to her. They just told her that drumming was for men.

Until one day, her father heard what an amazing drummer was and decided to get her a music teacher. And he believed in her too! And the little Drum Dream Girl went on to be one of the most famous drummers in history.  She made her own way and changed history! Yet again, Margarita Engle creates an amazing story told through poetry. Drum Dream Girl is based on the life of a real Chinese-African-Cuban girl who challenged the traditions of her community. The poem is beautiful and inspiring, and Rafael López\’s illustrations are just magnificent. They\’re vibrant and lively and fit perfectly with the rhythm of the poem.

Happy reading!


Making reading an adventure and not a \”task/ chore/requirement\” during the summer months is a great way to help them increase the desire to learn and keep them interested as well. Setting aside time as a family and selecting a summer reading list is a great way to not only make the idea of reading more exciting but also to involve kids in voicing their thoughts and options on what it is that they would like to read.

summer reading for reluctant readers


Well…we\’ve added a whole new level of \”learning is FUN\” layer to summer reading with our new kidlit book-inspired activity ebook!

The ABC\’s of BookJumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book by Valarie Budayr and Rebecca Flansburg allows frustrated parents of reluctant readers to enjoy hand-picked book reviews and unique companion activities that will reignite your child\’s love of reading and encourage screen-free family time.

What if you could \”live\” inside the pages of the children\’s books your family reads? What if you could enjoy the same adventures as the characters? Bookjumping is taking the solitary act of reading a book and transforming it into an event that can be shared with others. It\’s the process of pulling books off shelves and stories off pages. It\’s making kids\’ books come ALIVE by \”jumping\” inside the pages. Readers of this ebook will enjoy hand-picked book reviews and unique companion activities that will reignite your child\’s love of reading and encourage screen-free family time.

\”This fun picture-book-based e-book contains over 150 hand-picked book reviews, unique book-inspired activities, and recipes. Just in time for #summer reading!\” Amazon reviewer

We purposely made this book an ebook for the \”portability factor\” and affordable to fit every budget and family need.

Go here for more details on what you can expect from with awesome ebook and learn more about the authors.

Grab your copy of The ABCs of BookJumping: The Best of Jump Into a Book on Kindle HERE.

summer reading for reluctant readers\