I love the third Tuesday of the month over at 5 Minutes for Books. That's when we have the chance to tell about the books that our kids have enjoyed in the last month.
We just returned from our long driving vacation, and reading is always a part of the plan. My husband likes to do the driving, so I'm free to read in the car. Amanda also enjoys the hours of daylight when she can read, read, read. Young Kyle has been learning to read and I wondered if this was the year for him to independently entertain himself with books on a trip.
I bought a selection of Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books after checking one out at the library (and via Dawn's recommendations) in the hopes that new-reader Kyle (5) would also join in the family pursuit. That he would actually sit quietly and read a book ("Reading in his mind" is what he called it). He usually read out loud, but that was okay. He needed help on a few words, and we actually liked listening in on the first read-through anyway. Every day of the journey, I gave him a new book or two. He loved them all. What I especially like about these books (other than the fact that we all love them -- him, big sister, and parents), is that they are very re-readable, and as I said, very accessible to early readers. There are some big words, but they repeat, which I know helps build Kyle's reading vocabulary.
I would say that 10-year-old Amanda's favorite book was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. Yes, I let her read it right after I did (linked to my review), giving the hefty tome double value in the books-packed department. But the books I bought to surprise her on the trip were the rest of the Emily Windsnap books by Liz Kessler. We had bought the first one on clearance somewhere, and she's had a hard time finding the other books in the library. So she was really pleased to receive books two and three (and I just noticed that there's a fourth coming out in October).
When we were visiting my sister, she and I went to the library, and I helped her pick out some books for my nephew Ross (age 11). He loves to read when given a great book, and Karen said that he reads in gulps when he finds a book he likes. Browsing at their library I saw Code Orange by Caroline Cooney, which is one of our state's Nutmeg book award nominees for this year. Amanda loved it and many of her friends loved it too. We showed Ross the two books we had brought home, and he grabbed that one, sat on the stairs and started reading. He didn't move for a few hours until he had finished it! So Code Orange trumped the XBox!
The links of others' suggestions are in the comments at 5 Minutes for Books Kids' Picks, so check them out.