Thursday, July 14, 2016

Sara K Joiner: Summertime Is Here!

Are you dreaming of going to the mountains this summer?
Or would you rather be at the beach?
photo of the Grand Tetons by Sara K Joiner
Ahh, summer. A time of fun in the sun, sleeping late, and spending time with friends. A time of vacations, camps, and picnics.

But that's now.

What about summers past? How did children pass their days then?

There was planting on the farm or fighting in a war, wasn't there? There were no lazy days or long visits with friends. It was work, work, work!

Of course, you know what you did during the summer when you were young. Maybe you spent your days working on your tan or maybe you spent your days simply working. Either way, it doesn't seem that long ago.

As adults, we often don't realize what "the past" means to current middle graders. The year 2000 can seem like ancient history to them.

And that opens up a whole new world of historical, relatable summer-set novels. Here are some historical books set during the lazy days of the more recent past.

Lucky: Maris, Mantle and My Best Summer Ever by Wes Tooke
Set in 1961, Louis is a bat boy for the New York Yankees while also having to deal with his father's remarriage and the family's move to White Plains.

Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos
Set in 1962, Jack is forced to help an elderly neighbor who wants Jack to type obituaries. First in a series.
2012 Newbery Award winner
2012 Scott O'Dell Award winner

Painting the Rainbow by Amy Gordon
Set in 1965, cousins Holly and Ivy uncover family secrets and learn the truth about their uncle and his friend Kiyoshi in a Japanese internment camp during World War II.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Set in 1968, Delphine and her two sisters travel from Brooklyn, New York to Oakland, California to visit a mother they barely know. First in a series.
2011 Coretta Scott King Author Award winner
2011 Newbery Honor book

Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning by Danette Haworth
Set in the 1970s, Violet is pretty happy with her life and her friends in Florida, but a newcomer from Detroit, Michigan starts to turn her world upside down.

Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge
Set in 1980, Tracy is an adoptee from Vietnam who discovers a soldier's dogtag in her father's things that brings up painful memories for her and her father.

The Summer I Learned to Fly by Dana Reinhardt
Set in 1986, Drew helps in her family's cheese shop but has difficulty coping when her widowed mother begins dating again.

Sara K Joiner is the author of After the Ashes. She is also a public librarian.

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