Seattle's Child

Your guide to a kid-friendly city

Great Summer Reads

It's always a good idea to spend time with your child reading, but in the summer it's even a better investment. For school-age children, reading a summer book together is an important way to combat summer slide, that pesky term for loss of educational growth when kids aren't in school five days a week. All young readers reinforce a good summer read through play outdoors.

Here are a few recommendations from Mockingbird Books in Seattle.

Local artist and writer Matthew Porter has a fun, new board book called Tails Chasing Tails that is designed to be a loop with no beginning or end, to be read again and again. Young readers can guess, with a tail as a clue, who is chasing whom. We love Porter's hip, bright board books, like Calling All Animals and Flowers. Porter's art is filled with wide-eyed animals that he paints on wood panels. He is a north Seattle dad, and gets what toddlers and their parents want to read.

Yes, Let's by Galen Goodwin Longstreth and Maris Wicks captures perfectly the exuberance of maximizing the joy of a summer day. The kids sneak into their parents' bedroom as the sun dawns, to wake up extra early so the adventures can begin. Load the car, eat a feast, catch a minnow, choose a stone, tend to bug bites, and do all that summer means. Yes, Let's gets it all there, in a perfect rhyming picture book. Great for ages 3 and up.

Horatio's One Wish by new local author Joshua Kriesberg has all the right elements for an epic summer read-aloud: a brave hero, a lost friend, two humorous sidekicks and the adventure of a lifetime. Horatio the hedgehog and his delightful woodland pals learn archery, raft a wild river, and brave ghosts in Screech Forest. This paperback chapter book is perfect for third graders or older, or to read to younger children.

The Cinderella Smith books by Laurelhurst's own Stephanie Barden are the new Junie B. Jones books. Cinderella, nicknamed such because she seems to always be losing her shoes, is a normal kid who has problems with a capital P. The clever and funny ways that she deals with mean girls, annoying neighborhood boys, and the ever-changing social scene of a school make for great conversation starters. These three chapter books are just right for third and fourth graders, both boys and girls.

The Fellowship for Alien Detection by Ballard's Kevin Emerson unite two very different kids as they travel across the country on a summer research grant to see if aliens exist. It's a thrilling story about self discovery and friendship, as Dodger and Hayley try to figure out why people are missing in towns throughout the country. We loved that the parents are major characters in the plot. This book lends itself to discussions about Roswell, The X Files, and to debates about best pancake recipes.

Open since 2008, Mockingbird Books ( is a primarily children's bookstore in the Green Lake neighborhood, specializing in knowledgeable, friendly service.

About the Author