Suggested Reading for the Dog Days of Summer

by Debbie Gonzales on May 1, 2011

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K. A. Nuzum’s award-winning THE LEANIN’ DOG is the perfect selection to begin a summer of solicitous ReaderKidZ reading. This heartwarming novel features protagonist Dessa Dean, a broken, isolated, lonely girl, and the healing power of a stray chocolate lab. Dessa Dean has given up on living outside of the confines of her home. Her life is forever changed when a warm and wonderful dog lovingly lopes into her life. It is no wonder why THE LEANIN’ DOG has been touted a best book of the year (2008) by School Library Journal. The book is simply unforgettable….trust us.

And, for some additional summertime fun, consider entering the author’s THE LEANIN’ DOG poetry contest. For submission information click HERE. Tell the author that ReaderKidZ sent you!

In keeping with the ReaderKidZ theme of Dog Days, Sharon Creech’s novel in verse LOVE THAT DOG is not to be missed.  Short, poignant and profound, this tiny book packs an everlasting poetic punch. LOVE THAT DOG is a book to be savored slowly. Take care to observe the dated entries as they relate to the timid narrator’s subtle changes in literary confidence and the tender emotional support rendered by his teacher, Mrs. Stretchberry, who ultimately helps the young poet find his voice while helping to heal his broken heart.

LOVE THAT DOG is masterfully crafted.  Access a complimentary teacher guide HERE and learn more about poetic terms such as alliteration, consonance, and metaphor. Celebrate “Nonsense Day,” and collect crazy words such as “tintinnabulation.” This guide extends the poetic pleasures of a wonderful book dedicated to a slobbery, smiling, yellow dog and the boy who loved him.

Ever wonder what life would be like as a dog? How your perception of the world would be formed by the hands and hearts of different types of people existing in it? And how is it that a dog’s heart is forever filled with love, even in the most unlovely of situations? The fascinating book A DOG’S LIFE: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF A STRAY compellingly explores these questions and more.

In it, travel with Ann Martin’s Squirrel, a dog protagonist narrator, to discover the bold, blissful, bitter, and beautiful aspects of living the life of a stray. “I can’t speak for all dogs. Not all dogs are alike. And most certainly, not all dogs have the same experiences…,” says Squirrel. This summer, take the time to read about a stray dog’s harrowing experiences and delight in the novel’s heartwarming resolution. You’ll be glad that you did.

Lastly, enter the pleasantly predictable doggy world of Mister Bud in Carter Goodrich’s charming picture book SAY HELLO TO ZORRO – a happy world, that is, until Zorro moves in. What was once Mister Bud’s own house, bed, toys, dish, and schedule must now be shared with a noisy, grumpy, grabby new dog who is not going away. He must learn to share all he cherishes with Zorro and, in doing so, finds a friend.

Before rushing out to gather up your ReaderKidZ summer reading selections, click HERE to peruse through a collection of Goodrich’s marvelous covers for the New Yorker magazine. In particular, take a second to enjoy the one dated July 20th, 1998 in which a bitsy, curly-haired blonde child on the beach, surrounded by several harried cell-phone-talking-lap-top-poking adults, delights in the whooshing sound of a nautilus shell she holds next to her ear. Stunning, isn’t it? Our wish for you this summer, as this tiny girl suggests, is that you’ll cut through the chaos of life and enjoy the summer sun with a book, a child, and maybe the cold-nosed love of a dog beside you.

Happy dog days of summer from ReaderKidZ!

Cheryl Hardy Phillips May 2, 2011 at 7:57 pm

Love this post! Just find me a beach house and bring on the books. I’m ready for summer reading.

Dianne May 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

Seriously! We’re all ready for beach, books, and fun, aren’t we?

Debbie Gonzales May 3, 2011 at 3:42 pm

Beach, books, fun, and DOGS!
Glad you enjoyed the post, Cheryl.


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