A Fine Dessert

Jenkins, Emily. A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2015.

A sweet story about one of the oldest desserts in Western culture: a fruit fool made of berries, sugar, and whipped cream. The first dessert is made of wild blackberries in 16th century England, the second in 18th century South Carolina, the third in 19th century Massachusetts, and the last in modern California. A recipe, a bibliography and historical information on both the story and the illustrations are included at the end. An excellent introduction to learning how cultures reflect their times and change over time. Recommended for readers – and their teachers – 7 years old and up.

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Albert’s Quiet Quest

Arsenault, Isabelle. Albert’s Quiet Quest. Toronto: Tundra Books, 2019.

Albert wants a place where he can read in quiet. But no matter where he goes, friends arrive and rambunctiously interrupt. Until he explodes. Now what will happen? This mostly wordless summer story will be appreciated by young readers looking for peace and quiet of their own. 

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The Secrets of Blueberries…

Nickerson, Sara. The Secrets of Blueberries, Brothers, Moose & Me. New York: Dutton Children’s Books, 2015.
Twelve-year-old Missy and her older brother Patrick convince their parents to let them get a job picking blueberries. But Missy acquires much more than money during the summer. She learns how people change. How life doesn’t stay the same. And sometimes there is no one to blame. Sometimes things just happen.
This 323-page novel with a relatively large font and well-spaced lines of print is easy to read. It flows smoothly with lots of conversation and short paragraphs.
Some novels written from the first person point of view seem too self-centred. This story, though, suits this approach. The difficulties of adolescence, the frustrations of life, the slow change of perspective on life are all empathetically portrayed in this introspective story recommended for readers 11 to 14 years old.

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The great achievement…

Almond, David. Harry Miller’s Run. Somerville, Mass.: Candlewick, 2017, c2008.
Eleven-year-old Liam wants to get outside and start training for the big race coming up. But his mother wants him to help an elderly neighbour move into a nursing home. What starts out as a frustrating day turns into an amazing adventure as Liam listens to Harry tell about the great race he ran from Newcastle to South Shields when he was a young lad himself.
This joyous novella – by a multiple award winning author – reads like a true story. I kept checking the flyleaf to find out more about the background. There was nothing.  But this heart-warming story by a masterful writer will live in readers’ memories as if it really happened to someone we ourselves must have met somewhere. Whimsical illustrations by Salvatore Rubbino – creator of picture books about London and Paris – add to the charm of this unpaged book highly recommended for readers 9 years old and up.  

A serious David Almond novel about refugees

A humorous David Almond novel about a runaway

Stories of summer

P.S. Always check out the books published by Candlewick. They’re reliably beautiful. 

The best time ever…

Pendziwol, Jean E. Me and You and the Red Canoe. Toronto: Groundwood, 2017.
Early in the morning, two siblings make a fire and sit together, sipping hot chocolate. Leaving everyone else still asleep, they gather their fishing gear and set off in a red canoe. Told in free verse and illustrated in acrylic on panel, this picture book is recommended for readers 7 to 14 years old. Teachers might enjoy using it to show students how to turn their own experiences into stories. 

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Whom can you trust?

Lisle, Janet Taylor. Quicksand Pond. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017.
Twelve-year-old Jessie makes a new friend and discovers a decades-old mystery when she spends the summer with her family in a ramshackle Rhode Island saltbox. This 240-page novel by a skillful novelist is recommended for readers – 11 to 15 years old – who enjoy stories of friendship, secrets, and betrayal. 

More stories of mystery and suspense HERE.

More stories of summer vacations HERE.

 

Remembering our vacation…

Perkins, Lynne Rae. Pictures from Our Vacation. New York: Greenwillow Books, 2007.
What joy! A girl recounts a summer trip with her parents and brother to the family farm in Canada where she meets all sorts of relatives. How  intriguing! The words in the story never mention Canada, but the large map showing the journey marks the destination north of Lake Ontario. The words in the story also never name the main character or her brother, so readers can easily imagine themselves and remember their own family trips. How wise!  The girl reflects – at the end of the story – that the photographs she took with her new camera can’t capture the most important parts of the journey: the stories she heard and the emotions she felt. Only her memories can really keep that vacation alive.
The design, the text, and the pen and ink and watercolour illustrations all work together to create a picture book for all ages.

More summer vacation stories HERE 

Lynne Rae Perkins’ website HERE