YouthTube Books and Art

Encouraging Early Literacy and Children's Creativity

Books We Love: Summer Reading List


Popsicles, Long Bike Rides, Swimming

Surviving the northern wilderness

Hunting unicorns

and outsmarting older brothers…

When it’s so hot popsicles melt to sticky sweetness or rainy days mean no bikes, no swimming, what do you do?

The adventurer, the restless traveler, the hero will pick up a book….and read.

Where to start?

The Fab Four are happy to help

Clare, age 12:

My Side of the Mountain is an enchanting tale of a boy who gets tired of the city and runs away to the northern wilderness to avoid the pollution and the traffic. I liked this book because the boy has a pet hawk.

The Hatchet is a tale about a boy whose plane crashes and he has to survive the Canadian wilderness. I like the fact that he has been challenged.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Cabin Fever is a story of middle school-aged Gregory and his hardships with his stupid brothers. I liked this book because Greg is awesome and I’m in middle school.

My Side of the Mountain Trilogy (My Side of the Mountain / On the Far Side of the Mountain / Frightful's Mountain)

Mikaela, age 10:

The Tale of Despreraux tells the tales of a little mouse and his friends and they go on lots of adventures together. I liked when Despreraux rescues the princess.

Ruby Holler

This book is about orphans who have lots of adventures. My favorite part was when they put mice traps in holes.

Ruby Holler

Kyle, age 8:

     The Eye of the Unicorn is about some men who hunt a unicorn and a girl tries to protect it. My favorite part is when the unicorn tries to protect itself and stabs someone with its horn.

The Eyes of the Unicorn

Zeke, age 2:

Zeke loves trains, trucks and anything that will “Go! Go! Go!”

His two favorite reads are The Giant Nursery Book of Things That Go

and Thomas and the School Trip. 

Thomas and the School Trip

*Note: The Giant Nursery Book of Things That Go is a wonderful book that once belonged to Zeke’s grandfather. If you can’t find this title, I would recommend The Big Book of Things That Go. It’s another fun book your toddler is sure to love.

Now it’s your turn. What books are you reading this summer?

Happy reading and enjoy all of your adventures.


About Tonia Marie Harris

Tonia Marie Harris resides in south-central Illinois with her husband, three children, and three rescue animals. She lives happily (albeit frantically) among chaos, poetry, and books. Her muse is a cross-dressing goblin with a penchant for rum and Kafka novels. She is Vice President of WME Community Works, a non-profit organization that spearheaded the recent development of a grassroots library that serves her village and the surrounding communities. Tonia find inspiration helping children of all ages discover, or rekindle, their love for literature and learning. Where there are stories and children, there is magic. Where there is magic and a safe place for dreaming, there is love. Poetry is where her heart and truth reside and her latest venture involves bringing verse to the public in all its intimacy. She types personalized poetry on a vintage typewriter, wherein she delivers her poem to its recipient the old-fashioned way (snail mail), or can be found spinning verse at art and music festivals and local establishments. In addition to free verse, Tonia writes flash fiction and the occasional fairy tale. Her work has appeared in an artisan magazine, Flash Fiction Magazine, and various anthologies. She is also an administrative assistant for Writer Unboxed. Chocolate is her kryptonite. You can connect with Tonia on Twitter @TMarieHarris, or on her website,

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