At my first summer camp, when I was eight, my roommate and I heard a rumor that some boys had put itching or sneezing powder on the beds in the girls’ dorm. We were so convinced we had a counselor search our beds.
I wasn’t entirely satisfied, but I didn’t know how the boys would’ve gotten in unseen, nor did I know what itching/sneezing powder is. I still don’t. Pepper, maybe?
However, I loved going to my church’s annual summer kids’ camp. In fact, since much of my summer camp perceptions were built around the movie The Parent Trap (starring Hayley Mills), I was a little envious my own camp lasted only five days instead of multiple weeks like the movie camp.
Camps are still a huge thing for kids. And there are so many options to choose from: church camps, sports camps, art camps, music camps, scouting camps, 4-H camps, etc. They often involve making crafts, swimming, boating, horseback riding, and singing around a campfire.
There are lots of kids’ books about summer camp. Here are more than 25 (most of which are new to me):
Picture Books and Early Chapter Books:
- The Berenstain Bears Go to Camp by Stan and Jan Berenstain
- Cam Jansen and the Summer Camp Mysteries by David A. Adler
- A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee
- Cowboy Camp by Tammi Sauer, illus. by Mike Reed
- The Fabulous Bouncing Chowder by Peter Brown
- Froggy Goes to Camp by Jonathan London
- Agnes Parker…Happy Camper? by Kathleen O’Dell
- Camp Confidential series by Melissa J. Morgan (more than 20 books)
- The Baby-Sitters Club Super Special Edition #2: Baby-sitters Summer Vacation by Ann M. Martin
- The Great Summer Camp Catastrophe by Jean Van Leeuwen
- Holes by Louis Sachar
- How Tia Lola Saved the Summer by Julia Alvarez
- I Want to Go Home by Gordon Korman
- Letters From Camp by Kate Klise, illus. by M. Sarah Klise
- Like Bug Juice on a Burger by Julie Sternberg, illus. by Matthew Cordell
- Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill by James Patterson, Chris Tebbetts, and Laura Park
- Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman
- Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
- Runaway Ralph by Beverly Cleary
- Spy Camp by Stuart Gibbs
- Summer Camp, Ready or Not! by Sandra Belton
- Hidden by Helen Frost (older MG/younger YA)
- Jersey Tomatoes are the Best by Maria Padian
- Lumberjanes series by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Shannon Watters, and Brooke Allen
- There’s a Bat in Bunk Five by Paula Danziger (older MG/younger YA)
Did you go to camp as a kid? As a counselor? What are some of your favorite camp memories? What are your favorite camp books? What books should I add to the list? Do you know what itching/sneezing powder is?
I read a lot in the summer.
That’s been true since I was a kid. Summers meant long, unscheduled days and lots of reading time. The best part was that I didn’t have to do any reading for school, so I could follow my own interests.
That meant reading and rereading animal stories, the Nancy Drew series, and books by Louisa May Alcott and Laura Ingalls Wilder. As an adult I still like to reread favorites once in a while, but that is not an exclusively summer thing for me.
Now my summer reading habits aren’t much different from the rest of the year, except when I travel or go to the pool. Then I want books that don’t take too much concentration and aren’t too dark or sad.
My one summer reading habit is that I love to read Caroline Lawrence’s Roman Mysteries books while I’m at our local wave pool. I’ve read so many while soaking up the sun and listening to lapping water that those things are linked for me.
I recently heard someone say that each summer he reads about America’s Founding Fathers. I hadn’t thought before about focusing an entire summer on one topic or one author. That could be a rewarding experience.
Do you adjust your reading habits for summer (types of books, locations, etc.)? Do you make a summer reading list, read best-sellers, old favorites, one series? What constitutes a summer read for you?
My summers during high school were wonderful! I had long amounts of reading time, and my favorite place to read was in our front porch swing. I spent many happy–hot–hours on that swing.
I have multiple places I like to read now, but during the summer, one of my favorite places is in front of the wave pool at our local water park. I can catch some sun, cool off in the wave pool, listen to the waves, not feel guilty about undone chores–and even though I’m surrounded by people– be totally alone with my book.
There are a few hazards, though, such as the starling that landed on my head. I’m thankful he didn’t leave any parting gifts!
During my porch swing days, I’d devour huge historical fiction novels. I can still dig into big or deep books during the summer. But, I’ve learned that when I take a book to the wave pool, it has to be just the right kind of book.
It must be:
- an easy read–there are lots of distractions at the water park
- not too serious–I’m willing to wipe a few tears, but I don’t want to bawl in public
- paperback–to keep my bag light
- a book I own, not a friend’s or the library’s–there will be water and sunscreen involved.
I’ve found that Caroline Lawrence’s The Roman Mysteries Series are perfect for reading at the wave pool. Lawrence has described her middle grade series as Nancy Drew set in AD 79. Here’s a photo of The Twelve Tasks of Flavia Gemina (book 6) from last summer. I finished book nine a couple of weeks ago. I’ve already ordered book ten.
Where’s your favorite summer reading spot? What do you like to read there?