We just released the 2014 Summer Reader Packages, and I'm so excited to share them with you! This is one of my favorite projects to work on, and I'm so pleased with the packages we put together.
I love reading. I love summer reading. There is something so wonderful about reading on the trampoline, or the hammock (both of which I did when I was young), or on a porch swing (which I do now...).
Growing up it rained every afternoon in Colorado, and every afternoon I'd be outside feeling the breeze pick up, watching the clouds roll in, and waiting for that first gust with a few raindrops that would chase me indoors. Reading at its finest! And I still make time for reading outside even though now I'm a mom with my own children. I guard my reading time jealously.
All through the winter months, my mom and I read as fast as we could, new books and old, so that your children's summertime can be filled with extra, fun, reading. This year's winter reading took on an extra meaning for me as I spent 6 weeks huddled in my room and taking baths as I dealt with the morning sickness from my 4th pregnancy. It was such a blessing to escape the cold winter, the constant nausea, and just feelings of "bleh" by reading. My girls spent hours playing downstairs while I devoured book after book. The only thing I felt like devouring.
Over several months, my mom and I read through hundreds of books. Checking and re-checking our lists. Comparing books we had put into a large pile on my mom's sewing machine in her basement. We had to make sure they truly were as good as we remembered. Or, if we'd just been reading so many terrible books, that they didn't appear better than they really were.
That's the thing about books: there are tons of them. Tons of terrible books! Poorly written. Poorly edited. Poor storyline ... lots of ways to produce a truly terrible book. So, we take a lot of time and sort and sort and sort. And say, "No, that one's fine but it's not great. It's okay, but I wouldn't read it again. I'd read it again, but this one's better!" Those last ones, few and far between, take a lot of searching to get to. We sort and sift and read and pass books back and forth and say, "What do you think?" and things like, "If only we could find one more book, then we could do this package!"
We really want the best books for your children. It's hard work. But totally worth it.
We try to find fun and lighthearted stories, (which I think we really nail!) especially in the lower levels. But I'll admit, I love a story that moves me, and I push to include those in the upper levels. My time on the hammock wasn't all fairy tales and easy, breezy life, and I think by high school an excellently written book that tackles harder subjects can be just as enjoyable as a lighthearted tale. My mom agreed to some heavier stories as well.
All in all, I'm thrilled with this year's Summer Readers and I hope that you'll take the plunge and give your children memories of reading in the sun. Sonlight books are great, fantastic even, in their own right. But Summer Readers give your children an opportunity to continue to expand their horizons and enjoy new, and different, worlds beyond what we can fit in the school year.
To a blessed and refreshing summer,
P.S. I'm now 25 weeks along and doing great. At 15 weeks I suddenly didn't feel like the front part of my house was attacking me. Right now I'm loving the opportunity to cook and be outside. Baby number 4 is planned to arrive in August. Dave and I like the surprise so we are not finding out the gender. If you'd like to partner in prayer for us, in addition to the general prayers for health and safety, I would humbly ask for prayer to be awake and able to hold my new baby shortly after the birth, something I've never had. If you think of me over the next few months, I would treasure those prayers. Thanks friends!