Fun Books For Summer Vacation

The tense scene just before a bloody clash between pro-OAS (Secret Army Organisation) protesters and the French armed forces in Algiers, during which around 40 protesters were shot dead and 150 wounded. (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)
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It's summertime, and kids can trade their schoolbooks for pleasure and fun.

But that does not mean that young children should forget about books altogether. Valerie Lewis, owner of Hicklebee's in California and one of the leading promoters of children's literature in the country, visited The Early Show to share her choices for good reading for kids.

In addition to owning a bookstore, Lewis is the co-author of "Valerie and Walter's Best Books for Children." The following are her book suggestions

Waiting For Wings: A book for preschoolers. This is a colorful, early science book. "It starts out with half-pages and then grows and grows to become an oversized book," says Lewis. "It traces the life of a butterfly, beginning with pictures that show the little eggs on leaves and progressing to full butterflies. It shows kids the process of science, and the back pages show different kinds of butterflies. It's a real discovery book for kids."

Albert: Good for children in kindergarten through third grade. Lewis says, "This is my favorite book on the list. Our store, Hicklebee's, gives a 'Book of the Year Award,' and this was our selection. Albert is a man who doesn't leave his house much. He finds the world a little confusing. Sometimes it's too hot, sometimes too cold. One day, he sticks his hand out the window, and a bird builds a nest in his hand. This is a fun book - total fantasy. It's a dear, sweet and beautifully illustrated story."

A Is For Amber series: These are more books that are good for children in kindergarten through third grade. "These books are part of an early reader chapter series," says Lewis. "Summertime is a great time to introduce kids to series books. The summer title is 'What a Trip, Amber Brown'. It's a book about Amber's summertime travel."
The next four books are take-offs of classic fairy tales. Lewis says, "Kids need to know the actual tales, because they will encounter them throughout their lives. And, after all, how can they enjoy a 'take-off' if they don't know the original?"

And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon: Lewis says, "This is a take-off on the old nursery rhyme. Only this time, the dish and spoon run away and don't return. The little dog, the cat and the cow go off to find them. The rhyme requires the dish and spoon to return before the riddle can be told again. This book has fabulous illustrations"

Wait! No Paint!: This book is good for ages 5-8. Lewis says, "This book also has great illustrations. It's another version of 'The Three Little Pigs,' but, in this book, the story goes along until the illustrator becomes part of the story by spilling his orange juice on one of the illustrations and one of the pigs' houses disappears. Then the artist runs out of red paint, and the pigs are pale instead of pink, and they demand to be put in another story."

The Three Pigs: For ages 8 -10. Again another 'Three Little Pigs' tale" says Lewis. "This book is brilliant. The characters come in and out of the reality of the story and in different artistic styles. It's a very funny book."

The Three Little Pigs: Also for ages 8-10. Lewis says: "This is yet another example of a great story, another retelling of 'Three Little Pigs.' Two of the pigs get eaten and the only survivor is the last little pig. It shows good winning out over evil."

Drawing For The Artistically Undiscovered: "This book is brilliant in concept," says Lewis. "On the very first page, it states, 'This is a book to draw in....don't be afraid to ruin it. Sign your name straight off at the beginning and make mistakes.' It is a good way to get you into those pages. It teaches and shows you how to draw. You begin with brooms, rakes, mops and dusters. It's also very funny and good for the whole family. A great book to take on vacation."

Time Stops For No Mouse: This is a book for fourth through seventh graders or a read-aloud book for younger children. Lewis says this is "an 'unknown gem' from a small publisher. It was handed to me by someone who said, 'You should read this.' It's a fun, adventurous take of a clock-making mouse, and it's a chapter book."

The Seventh Towers: For fifth graders through high school students. Lewis says this is a fabulous fantasy series. "It started strong and has become even more popular with kids. There is magic and warriors - it's really sci-fi fantasy. Tal lives in a tower protected from the sun. There are seven towers in the kingdom and each tower is a land of its own. It offers the reader distinctions between your place in life and others."
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