Angela's Answers: Great Reads for Kids



photograph by William Taufic

Summertime is the perfect time to encourage your tweens and teens to pick up a book just for the fun of it. Here are a few selections that tell stories from unique perspectives and carry young readers on historical and moving journeys.

Where Things Come Back
By John Corey Whaley
Mr. Whaley is hailed as one of the Top 10 New Voices for Teens. His critically acclaimed story is about an Arkansas teen’s struggle to figure out the odd little place he calls home while dealing with the ups and downs of brotherly love. Interspersed with a contrasting story of a missionary in Africa, the two stories become much more intertwined than you would imagine.

Inside Out and Back Again
by Thanhha Lai
This National Book Award-winning story follows the main character as she abandons her culturally rich hometown of Saigon because of the Vietnam War. We see the importance of family through the eyes of a girl fleeing America in the midst of national conflict. Beautifully written and a heartwarming story.

Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith
by Deborah Heiligman
There’s much that we know about Darwin’s theory of evolution and the resulting backlash from society over the science vs. religion debate. The author’s biography of Darwin gives an incredibly personal account of the man behind this debate and his relationship with his religious wife, Emma. It is a wonderful story that illustrates how they each stayed true to who they were and that their differences simply strengthened their relationship and helped form their views on the bigger picture of how it all began.

Okay for Now
by Gary D. Schmidt
Rooting for a main character is what many novelists strive for as they attempt to pull you into their stories via carefully constructed verse. In Okay for Now it’s hard no to feel the effect that Doug’s dysfunctional family has on him. But when things start to turn around thanks to the most unlikely sources, it’s an emotionally filled ride of self-discovery for him as well as the reader.

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy (The Penderwicks #1)
by Jeanne Birdsall
In the 1st of an incredible 5 part series, this well written book follows the Penderwick girls through a summertime adventure. Along the journey, they befriend a musically interested boy whose mother would rather send him to military school than allow him to pursue his creative desires. While she refuses to listen at first, the girls find a way to allow his mother to truly know who her son is.

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