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GEM Summer Reading Guide.. What’s In Your Bag?

By: Sang Thi Duong

Raise your hand if you read a book in the last 30 days. Gone are the days of the Hardy Boys and Little House on the Prairie series. Enter the world of utopias, vampires, tears, laughter, and love.

I am certain everyone has read the “Fifty Shades of Grey” trilogy by now, and if you have not, what are you waiting for? My 75-year-old grandma has read them all! So without any further delay, let’s kick off this summer’s hot reading list for everyone of all ages.


Brown Bear Brown Bear by Bill Martin – This is a great series of books with gentle rhyming and colorful art to engage the energetic child with his rhythmic rhyming.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle – This is a timeless classic that appeals to all ages.  Best of all, the text is very simple as are the illustrations, so the book will appeal to toddlers as well as the pre-K and kindergarten crowd. In fact, it may appeal more to toddlers, because the story is so very simple.

Dick and Jane Series – These books are so plain and simple; many parents will write them off, thinking there will not be enough pizzazz to entertain their children. But what so many parents forget is although it may not entertain adults, children do not need much.

Fancy Nancy Series by Jane O’Connor – These are by far my favorite! I have these in my own nightstand.  From the top of her tiara down to her sparkly studded shoes, Nancy is determined to teach her family a thing or two about being fancy.


A to Z Mysteries Series (author unknown) – The fabulous series is pure kid’s imagination and will draw you in to read all 26 in a matter of no time.  Each letter of the alphabet is portrayed in its own mystery!

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel This story is riot because the kitty does not want to eat the vegetables because all of her favorite foods have disappeared.  Take a ride and find out what happens to everyone who stands in the way of the Bad Kitty.

Dear America series by Ellen Emerson White – Very popular America series teaching different stages in history.  These books make for much more fun than the boring history class. Go back to school and impress your teacher with more than an apple.

Land of Elyon Series by Patrick Carmen — An extraordinary series weaving magic and heroism into a classic tale of good and evil, featuring a heroine you’ll never forget.


The Hunger Games series by Suzanne CollinsI was hooked after reading just the first few pages, I loved the book and couldn’t put it down…finished it in just one day!  Great story engaging and the characters are well-developed.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin –  This is a moving collection that will leave you melting for the next page.  The book is funny, deals with grief, death, and loss that will stay with you even after you have finished reading.

The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer – Vampire love story. Need I say more?


House of Night Series by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast Twilight meets Harry Potter.  This amazing series weaves together a world where rising darkness threatens and brave teens risk everything.  There a total of nine books in this series.

Murder on The Orient Express by Agatha Christie – Agatha Christie’s knowledge of the early Twentieth Century Middle East, with one of her most intricate plots, keeps you turning the pages and enjoying every word. If you like intellectually challenging mysteries, this is one for your shelf.

37 Things I Love by Kekla Magoon – Ellis only has four days of her sophomore year left, and summer is so close that she can almost taste it. But even with vacation just within reach, Ellis isn’t exactly relaxed.  Find out what unexpected turns in Ellis’s life change her life forever.

BZRK by Michael Grant – Love the Hunger Games?  This book is set to light your mind on fire. BZRK unfolds with hurricane force around core themes of conspiracy and mystery, insanity and changing realities, engagement and empowerment, and the larger impact of personal choice.


Dragon Ryders of Pern Series by Ann McCaffrey – Those looking to discover a magical place, there are incomparable tales of danger, deceit, and daring, just waiting to be explored by you.

V is for Vengeance by Sue Grafton – A spider-web of dangerous relationship lies that leads to suicide – or is it murder. Find out why someone received a punch in the face, two black eyes, and a busted nose on their birthday.

Night by Elie WieselThis book is about endurance and survival.  This book will change you and your mindset until the very last punctuation mark.

Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish – This was a great read for me after my mother passed away several years ago.  Annie Freeman dies of cancer, and before she dies she arranges a “traveling funeral” for her closest friends. She sends them airline tickets, rental car vouchers, and credit cards to take a journey around the country to places that gave her life meaning.

Are you reading a great book right now? Share with us what you are reading.


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