An occasion usually met with at least some level of resistance, I was surprised to find that my most reluctant reader has been really enjoying his reading time, voluntarily going past his required thirty minutes a day.
I have discovered that as my older boys continue to grow, finding books they will love becomes an increasing challenge. I have no dearth of fabulous middle grade books to choose from, but I find that as my pre-teen outgrows those, he isn’t always mature enough for the subject matter of YA novels or adult books.
While this makes finding a great book that is also on his level a little tougher, when we find that sweet spot of a story, it is all the more enjoyable to watch him dive in.
Of course, Hollywood never fails to create hype, and the book-to-screen adaptations we have seen so many of recently can actually be a great tool to get hesitant readers excited about books.
If you, like me, have someone in your house who is in this kind of literary gray area, and could use some encouragement when it comes to reading, why not use the big screen as an enticement to hit the books this summer?
The following books are all “read ‘em before you see ‘em” novels that are soon to hit the big screen. Appropriate for sixth grade and up, each selection is slated to make its cinematic debut in either August or September, leaving plenty of time for even the slowest reader to get to the last page.
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry: Both of my older boys have actually already read and enjoyed this book. Long before the new crop of dystopian tales debuted, Lowry penned this Newberry Award winner, which has become a mainstay on middle school reading lists.
In an effort to weed out pain, rejection, and otherness, the Committee of Elders has established a community founded on “sameness.” There is no color, or music, or individuality, and citizens have no say over what job, or spouse they will have, or which feelings they will experience.
The Giver, keeper of memories, shares these memories of the past way of living with only one chosen Receiver. Jonas, the receiver, discovers a whole new, richer world, and sets out to change his community’s way of life.
“If I Stay,” by Gayle Forman: A look at life from an interesting perspective, Forman’s characters examine the question, “What would you do if you had to choose?”
Mia has no memory of the accident that claimed her parents’ lives, her first memory being of seeing her own injured body, and that of her brother being cared for and taken to the hospital. In a coma, Mia must decide if she wants to fight, and return to the land of the living, or give in and slip away.
Through Mia’s memories, we get to know all the people and events that have been important to her, filling the story with rich characters, despite its being told by a quasi-dead girl.
“The Maze Runner,” by James Dashner: Recommended for fans of “The Hunger Games” and “Divergent,” this book, the first in a trilogy, introduces readers to Thomas and his group of Gladers.
Waking up in an elevator, Thomas remembers nothing but his own name. Above the elevator lies The Glade – an enclosed environment surrounded by a miles-wide maze that no one has ever succeeded in escaping. Every thirty days, a new boy arrives, each devoid of memories, and each anxious to escape.
There have never been any girls in the Glade, until Teresa arrives, just after Thomas, carrying with her a cryptic message: Remember. Survive. Run. And so begins an adventure packed tale of survival, and a quest to discover both who and where they are.
Here’s to hoping that the quest to find fulfilling summer reading proves to be a successful one, and that the journey is sweet for our young readers!
Edie Crabtree is an avid reader and the mother of three active boys. She can be reached at [email protected]