Summer Reading Your Kids Will Actually Enjoy (And You May Too)

Why don’t teachers assign books more like these?

The excitement of summer vacation is somewhat dampened by the distribution of summer assignments, in particular the summer reading list. I thought students would appreciate classics that are humorous and fun, so here are a few books that should make readers laugh:

Ages 7-8

Mr. Bliss by J.R.R. Tolkien: Written and illustrated for his children, this short story proves that even a literary giant can be silly sometimes.

James and the Giant Peach by Raold Dahl: a transatlantic flight and a lesson about insects rolled into one.

Ages 9-10

The Thirteen Clocks by James Thurber: a clever spoof on "happily ever after".

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit: be careful what you wish for – it might come true!

Ages 11-12

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene duBois: a twist on the eruption of Krakatoa.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: apathy turns to adventure in a world of literal meanings.

Ages 13-14

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth: true life story about an exceptional family.

The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovanni Guareschi: post-WWII Italy seen through the eyes of a parish priest.

Ages 15+

All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot: autobiographical anecdotes about a Scottish veterinarian’s first job.

Travels with My Aunt by Graham Greene: a zany vacation with an elderly relative.

Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ. This article was first published at


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