Thursday, 9 July 2015

Summer Sun and Holiday Fun by Pippa Wilson

How many sleeps 'til the holidays start?

With kiddies and teachers already fizz-popping with excitement, I thought I'd put together a selection of Middle Grade books, old and new, to celebrate the glorious freedom of the long summer break. So, dig out your buckets and spades, find a nice comfy spot on the beach or in the garden, and settle down with one of these.

First off I've picked Flotsam, a wordless picture book, by David Wiesner

An inquisitive boy finds an old-fashioned camera on the beach, and after taking the film in to be developed, he discovers an intriguing mystery with a surreal twist. This is a wonderful book for kids to share with grown ups, and to pore over the pictures and imagine your own story; and perfect  for middle Grade readers to use their visual literacy skills to interpret how the story unfolds. A 2007 Caldecott Award winning book.

Dead Man's Cove by Lauren St John.
This Blue Peter award winner tells the story of Laura, an orphan who wants to become a detective like her uncle. Set in Cornwall, mysteries and adventures abound, but the harsh realities of life are also reflected in this perfect-for-the-summer-holidays read.

Red Moon Rising by best-selling author Paula Harrison.

Laney expects a dull and boring summer holiday, until she sees a blood-red moon. She discovers that she's a faerie, and that danger threatens her Mist Tribe. Her summer turns out to be one of dark powers and magical adventures.

Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce.
This classic story tells the story of Tom, who is sent to stay with his aunt and uncle for the summer. (I love the way the first chapter is called "Exile"). Tom fears a summer of infinite boredom, but one night the grandfather clock chimes thirteen. He thinks, "Even mad old clocks never struck that", so he goes to investigate. What he sees before him is a scene of past times. Is he dreaming? Are the people he's watching actually ghosts? Tom's summer has suddenly turned out to be much more interesting!

Binny For Short by Hilary McKay. 

Binny has a tough life, with her mum struggling to make ends meet since her father's death. What's more, Binny misses her dog who was taken away to be rehoused. Her prickly, awkward relationship with the insensitive and elderly Aunty Violet pushes Binny to the edge of reason. But when Aunty Violet dies and leaves her house to Binny, the family moves to the seaside, meaning their lives will drastically change forever. Lots of amusing sibling situations, and high drama by the sea. One to savour on the beach!

Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson. 
Orphan Maia is whisked away from her stuffy English boarding school by a governess, Miss Minton, and is taken to the Amazon  to stay with the most loathsome relatives imaginable, with their fears of the locality and its people. Maia is lucky to have Miss Minton keeping an eye on her. One day Maia meets a boy, Finn, in a canoe, and she embarks upon a journey into the unknown. A delightful story that will transport you to an amazing, exotic rainforest (even if it's pelting down with rain mid-August here!)

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan

A thought provoking picture book which follows two brothers during their summer holidays, with surreal images which make the reader work hard to figure it all out...or just be left wondering!

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne. 
Take a trip around the world with Barnaby Brocket, the boy who keeps floating up and up. As he sets off on a quest to find his parents, Barnaby meets a diverse bunch of characters who, like him, are "different" in one way or another. This is a heart-warming read that makes you think about kindness and tolerance and I found Barnaby Brocket is a character who I often wonder about long after reading the book!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid-The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney.

In my humble opinion, no other writer at the moment comes close to Jeff Kinney when it comes to a humorous yarn. The Heffleys set off on a road trip to enable them to enjoy some quality family time...yes, you know it's not going to end up that way. Before long the Heffleys have won a pig, who becomes a tricky travelling companion, especially when they end up at some appalling hotels. This is a real hoot from start to finish. With so many laugh out loud moments, you probably shouldn't read this in an over-crowded public transport situation!

The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton.
It does amaze me, but kids today still seem to love the freedom and adventure of Enid Blyton's stories (this book has 2380 ratings on Good Reads). The Island of Adventure is, perhaps, Blyton's ultimate summer adventure. Philip, Dinah, Lucy-Ann, Jack and Kiki the parrot set off on a holiday to stay in at Craggy Tops in Cornwall, but adventures lead them  to a world of tunnels and mines. One for families to share-and discuss how things have changed since the book was written.

My final pick is Over Sea, under Stone  by Susan Cooper. 
3 children go on holiday to Cornwall, find an ancient treasure map, and before you know it they are fighting evil in their quest to find the Lost Grail. A good book to launch an interest in King Arthur.

See how many books are set in Cornwall! I was going to include a Michael Morpurgo story set in Devon, but with so many to choose from, I couldn't pick one above the others. So how about working your way through a boxed set? Or maybe take a set of audiobooks to listen to in the car? The Classic Collection 1, for example, features The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, and is set in Slapton in 1943. My children have listened to this evacuee tale dozens of times, and never tire of hearing it.

Any we should have included?

Have a lovely summer break.
Pippa @hellopipski
(photos from my holiday at Lyme Regis)


  1. Hi Sunita! What books do your pupils enjoy?

  2. In summer every one want to play with snow. You can find a lot of snow in Hilly areas. So come at Manali for here.

  3. Delhi to Himachal Tour with AC Volvo, 3*Hotel, Meal,Sightseeing, Car & More. 6 Days Kullu Manali tour package.Volvo, 3* Hotel, Meal, AC Car & much more

  4. This is another testimony on how Chief Dr Lucky cured my HIV disease. Do you need a cure for your HIV disease? Do you want to be cured from your cancer disease? Or you want to be free from any type of disease. Kindly visit his website . He just cured my HIV disease and I’m very grateful to him, he is the only herbalist that can cure you.  
    WhatsApp number : +2348132777335 
    Via Email :
    Thank you all for reading,
    God bless"