Raising Readers, Read-alongs, Reading Guides, Reflections, Resources, Series Posts
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Around the World in 60 Days: Summer Reading Challenge for Kids

***The Book Giveaway below is over (click here to see who won), but the reading adventure is just beginning!  Feel free to enter your name in the comments to receive the read along newsletter.

We have also added a section at the beginning where we will link to all the Summer Reading Challenge posts.  Hopefully it will make them easier to find!***

Looking for a fun and educational way to spice up the summer for your family?  Here’s an idea: how about our summer reading challenge?  We actually have two summer reading tracks–one we’ll announce soon for teens and adults (stay tuned for that), pharm and the one we’re announcing today–a family-based challenge!



Who, What, and When?


Who: The primary audience is kids who can read chapter books through middle grade level books.  But we’ll include book suggestions, movies, crafts, etc. to involve the entire family.

When: June 3-July 31, 2013

What: A summer reading challenge!  Over the course of eight weeks, we’ll cover the globe through novels of intrigue and adventure.  We’ll include discussion questions from a Christian worldview, as well as insights to help your kids get the most from the books.  In addition, each week we’ll invite food and craft bloggers, authors, missionaries, etc. to help us on our journey.  It will be an exciting journey to help you and your kids see that “The earth is the Lord’s and all it contains!” (Psalm 24)


The Book Schedule


We know you’re busy.  And some of you will have already read a few of our picks.  So, we’re keeping things simple but flexible: your kids only need to read 5 of the 7 novels to complete our challenge.  Plus, we’ll unveil our 100 Great Adventure Books list on June 3 filled with alternates.   Some of these stories may be found online as audiobooks which would make them accessible to younger kids as well.  But we hope most of you will find this an enticing list…and join us!

June 3-7: Around the World by Matt Phelan (Graphic novel, 240 pgs.)

June 10-14: The Middle of Somewhere by (our own) J.B. Cheaney(U.S. travel novel, 224 pgs.)

June 17-21: Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater (U.S. & Antarctic, animal/humor classic, 160 pgs.)

June 24-28: Nate Saint: Operation Auca (Torch Bearers) by Nancy Drummund (South America, missionary story, 170 pgs.)

July 1-5: off

July 8- 12: The Light Princess (Sunburst Book) by George MacDonald, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (British fantasy classic, 120 pgs.)  Be forewarned that this version has “naked babies” that many librarians and parents have taken a marker to over the years.  I’m not above doing the same for my kids, but another version will work fine if your bothered by the idea.

July 15-19: The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1) by Rick Riordan (Roman gods, 400 pgs.)  *Note: This is also available in graphic novel form.

July 22-26: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (China, contemporary award-winner, 304 pgs.)


Get the Books at a Discount!


We put together a discounted package of the books with an independent Christian bookstore here in Nashville, Logos Bookstore.  (Their website is www.goodtheology.com.)  Except for one book, they were able to beat Amazon’s prices and offer the entire summer reading package for $54.97.  To order, call them directly at 1-800-925-6467.  This price is for a limited time, so don’t wait too long!


Contests, Prizes and More


You know we have to have prizes, right?!  First, we’re giving away the entire package of books next week!  To sign up for the Summer Reading Challenge newsletter, leave a note in the comments below by midnight Tuesday, May 28th, and you’ll be automatically entered to win the books!

After that, we’ll be running two writing contests: a storytelling contest for your little ones and a more challenging writing contest for the older kids.  Look for details about that the first two weeks of June.

And what will your kids get if they complete the challenge?  Besides the feeling of accomplishment, a love of reading, and a whetted appetite for lands unknown….well, each kid who completes the reading challenge will be entered in our final drawing for a $25 Amazon gift certificate.  Not a bad way to cap off the summer!  You can check out this site, biblionasium, to help your kids keep track of their reading if you’re interested.


Special Guest



Most weeks we’ll host a special guest to help us keep our energy up.  To kick us off, we’ve invited my new favorite comedian, John Branyan, who also happens to have created one of the funniest (and yet totally educational!) picture books I’ve seen: a retelling of The Three Little Pigs as if by Shakespeare.  Check him out here!   He’ll tell us how he came to be such a literary comedian, and give some tips on how your kids can write hilarious stories, too.

While you’re leaving a comment below to sign up for the Summer Reading, we’d love to know what you’d like to see on our 100 Great Adventure Books list?  Any adventure books your kids wouldn’t want to do without?  Click over to our Summer Reading Challenge tab to see the books we’ve already covered in our journey.

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  1. Candace says

    Yay! We have only read Mr Popper’s Penguins from this list. Sounds like fun!

  2. Kim says

    Looks like our library doesn’t have most of these, so maybe we won’t be able to join in afterall. 🙁

    Unless of course I win the books! 🙂

    • Emily says

      Sorry you’re having trouble finding the books! You might try asking your library to stock them. Our library is pretty good about responding to patrons. You can also check amazon for used copies, which can often be had for two or three dollars. You can get free audio versions of The Light Princess various places across the web. And if you can’t do anything else, why not get your kids involved and try a lemonade stand?! $55 bucks to support a Christian bookstore, our website, and your kids’ education all at once would be money well invested!

  3. Jen says

    We are in! I will pass on the info. to my students and their families, also!

  4. Stephanie says

    I am always looking for great books for us to read, we have read 2 out of the seven so we will give the others a try and look forward to seeing the list of 100. The Hobbit would have to be my children’s favorite adventure book to date.

  5. Sunny says

    Wahoo! This should be fun! DD9 has read most of them (and will love to re-read them!) and I will have to see how to get DS7 involved. 🙂

  6. Tonya Roth says

    The summer reading challenge sounds like just what we need to kick-start the summer. Thanks for all you do!

  7. Bridgette Boudreaux says

    Whew! This means we need to finish “James and the Giant Peach” by next week. Sounds exciting though!

  8. Sarah Mathes says

    Our family would love to join in! Mr. Poppers Penguins is a favorite of ours!

  9. johanna says

    Always looking for great suggestions to fill our summer reading hours!

  10. Sarah from Canada says

    Sounds like fun! My kids devour books like candy, so I’m always looking for more reading material! 😀

  11. Jessica B. says

    I used to love summer reading challenges growing up.
    Now that my oldest is an avid reader I know he would love it also!

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  13. Kelly says

    I love this! We’ve done the public library summer reading program for years and we excited to do something different. I think my boys will love your selections!

  14. Just a children’s librarian here with old kids, but I can’t wait to see your 100 adventure book recommendations — Personally I’d like to see Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes on it. But mostly I want ideas to buy for the school year next year.

  15. Stacy says

    We’re in! My kids have already started asking about summer reading contests! I surveyed my kids for their favorite adventure books and here’s what they said (not sure they all qualify as adventure, but it’s what they like right now!): Homecoming, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter series, Mandie series (by L. Leppard)

  16. Pat says

    What an awesome way to start the summer. We are all looking forward to it!

  17. Karen says

    We would love to win a stack of books!! The best adventure series according my sons would be anything in the Redwall stories.

  18. Catherine says

    This sounds wonderful! I can’t wait to see what you come up with for your top 100 adventure novels. We just finished listening to the classic of all adventure stories, Treasure Island.

  19. Laura says

    I’m excited to take this summer reading adventure with my oldest son–thanks for doing this!

  20. Amie says

    Thanks for choosing books that appeal to a wide group of ages and both genders! We love the Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright. I consider these adventures because of the hilarious things four children find to do in New York City and in their own home. Great Read alouds!

  21. Julie Plocher says

    Our kids are up for the challenge. To get them to read this summer is going to be 1 up and I as a mom think this is wonderful
    thanks for the opportunity

  22. Leslie says

    We love to travel around the world through books! We are ready for the trip!!

  23. Angela says

    Looking forward to participating in this summer’s reading challenge with my kids!

  24. Elizabeth says

    We’re always up for reading! Your list looks interesting. Our fabulous library has all of these books on the shelf, but it would be great to own them all.

  25. Michelle L says

    We’re stuck in a TLF in Hawaii for the duration of the adventure, but if we can find the books in the local library, we’re in!

  26. Kim says

    Emily, we live in a rural area so the lemonade stand wouldn’t work (and also why our library is pretty lame), but I will see if any friends of mine might have them I can borrow. 🙂

  27. Oh, this looks fun! We’re in. We recently read Mr. Popper’s Penguins, but I’m guessing I have kids who would go for it again.

    What a great idea…

    Adventure books — hmmm. The Hobbit would top the list. We’re currently working on the LOTR trilogy as a read-aloud here.

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  29. Shana says

    Now this is right up our alley! Thank you for a great opportunity and great reading list to kick off our summer.

  30. Shawna says

    This sounds great! I think Jace will really enjoy reading these books this Summer! This is a great idea! Thank you for sharing! 🙂 We would love to win the books package! 🙂

  31. Lorna says

    We are so excited to learn about other places! Can’t wait to see the list of 100 recommendations! Thank you for the opportunity for a chance to win the books ~ that would be a blessing to this financially challenged family. God Bless!

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  33. Marijo says

    We’ll participate, if we can get our hands on all the books!

    • Emily says

      Too late to win books, yes, but not too late for the reading challenge, Kristen. Welcome aboard!

  34. Tamara says

    Your blog has been really helpful for finding books for my voracious reader. We’ll definitely participate, as long as we can get all the books.

  35. Jennifer says

    We got the books. My daughter has already finished reading two of them. I had to tell her it’s reading for the summer. (-:

  36. Joanna says

    Missed getting in on the give away, but we’d love to join the reading challenge. My kids love to read!

  37. Tina says

    Missed giveaway, however interested in receiving the newsletter. Thank you, going to get Around the world today!

  38. Gina says

    Please include us in the newsletter! We recently enjoyed 21 Balloons as an adventure story.

    • Emily says

      Not at all, Sheri! We’ll get you added for the next one in two weeks.

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