I’ve been dreaming about a perfect spot in the backyard to laze in my thrifted hammock when the weather turns warm. And I hope my teens will join me outside with a great book.
Over the school year, I’ve worked hard to develop good reading habits in my teens. Their reading selections were intense with more non-fiction than ever before and working from textbooks for the first time. They deserve a break from mentally taxing academic reading. But I’d love for them to keep reading through the summer just for fun.
Summer Is Time to Fall Back in Love with Books
In summer my teens and I all need books with adventures and characters that make us want to read until quiet dusk settles around us. Where can I find books that provide an oasis after busy family gatherings, ones that leave that indelible mark that lasts beyond the page?
I could head to the library and pre-read like mad, looking for books that pass Sarita’s test, with transforming characters and intelligent writing. The problem is my book-loving kids read faster than the library can order books. They also want to read books that reflect themselves as growing teens. This desire led them to the YA (young adult) shelf at the library.
Moving Up In the Library Shelves Isn’t Always About Reading
My readers begged to transition to the YA section since it was loaded with new books. I was wary for several reasons. First, I discovered many YA books top out at a fifth grade reading level. This selection of books are designated for YA because of the mature content, not due to more advanced vocabulary or more challenging writing style. Being capable of reading a book, is different than being capable of discerning the messages.
The truth is more ominous as I read these books; some adults have found an emerging platform to advocate for their world view in becoming authors in YA fiction. While these stories can lead to awareness and empathy, I want my teens to navigate these weighty subjects with sound reason, facts and honest conversations, not by having fictitious characters pull on their hearts with raw and graphic emotions.
My second hesitation comes from wading through a sea of books to find authors who are gifted enough to share a story of growth and transformation, without weighing it down with sexual content and darkness. In many of the books, authors were quick to acknowledge darkness in the world, but fell short of revealing the power of light. The YA selections presented a world where no one abstained from their desires, even when the consequences were dire.
Personally, I know many teens who have displayed strength of character among their peers, who have made and kept commitments to their morality. They have chosen to honor God with their lives to the best of their ability. They will find little of themselves reflected on the YA bookshelves.
I want teens especially to read about characters who overcome adversity even if they themselves are flawed but still relatable. This is not a denial that there are horrors in this world, for we know there are. However, the trauma of our society is not the norm, nor should it be fictionalized into normalcy by authors filling the YA shelves.
Who Can I Trust to Narrow the Field of Summer Readers?
Where can we turn for a selection of books that I know we will all love, and that I won’t have to pre-read? For years, I’ve happily ordered the Summer Reader Book Bundles for my kids. Getting a bundle at the onset of summer means that I always have a new book on hand when we have a long road trip or a family gathering to attend. Books are an investment, but bundles are a way for me to get new books at a big discount.
As a book lover myself, I want this habit of getting a new book at the outset of an adventure to stick. I hope they will always have a book in their bag when they become adults. I trust the Sonlight team to do the pre-reading for me because they have read tens of thousands of books over the thirty years they have been making recommendations to parents and creating well-rounded curricula.
These Summer Readers are books that might not fit into an official curriculum, but are too good to pass up. Every year Sonlight saves the best books and makes sets; and every year, I stuff them in my bag and head out for our adventures.
Sonlight is a complete, literature-based, Christian homeschool curriculum with every subject for students from Preschool through high school. Our curriculum uses a variety of materials to deliver an engaging and complete education that extends beyond textbooks and memorization: literary fiction and nonfiction, biographies, illustrations, and hands-on experiments. These resources come with thorough lesson plans and notes, so that you can enjoy successful homeschooling. Customers who buy from Sonlight enjoy a liberal arts education that produces critical thinkers who are ambassadors for Christ with a heart for the world. Visit us online and request a FREE catalog today!