The Story of the Walnut Tree by Don Staheli, illustrated by Robert T. Barrett Based on some of President Gordon B. Hinckley’s experiences, this story of a “man who loves trees” is certain to inspire children and adults of all ages.
Leonardo: Beautiful Dreamer by Robert Byrd This playful biography celebrates the accomplishments of the great artist and thinker Leonardo da Vinci, with layers of information and colorful drawings that bring Leonardo’s accomplishments to life. (Ages 9–12)
The Baby Sister by Tomie dePaola Tommy is excited about the upcoming arrival of his baby sister. But when the family’s plans change and his Nana comes to stay with him instead of his beloved aunt, Tommy isn’t sure he likes the new arrangement. Find out how Tommy and Nana find common ground. (Ages 4–8)
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan Esperanza enjoys a comfortable life on her family’s ranch in Mexico until a tragedy turns her world upside down. She and her mother are forced to flee to the United States, and Esperanza must find a way to adapt to her difficult circumstances. (Ages 9–12)
Buster by Denise Fleming Buster is a dog who has everything he could ever want—fancy dishes, a sandbox, good music, and a good owner. But when a cat enters the picture, Buster isn’t sure if he will ever be happy again. Will these two pets ever become friends? (Ages 3–6)
Deserts by Nancy F. Castaldo True or false: Deserts aren’t always hot. Gerbils from the pet store are the same as gerbils found in Asian deserts. There are deserts in both Antarctica and California. Find the answers to these and other questions in this activity guide, which illuminates the magic and wonder of lands that are sometimes considered barren and uninteresting. (Ages 6–9)
Family Reading Activities
Act out a story! After reading one of your favorite stories, put together some simple costumes and props and have fun living in the story! You can act out scenes from the book, or make up some of your own.
Record yourself reading some of your favorite stories on a cassette tape. Then give the tape and book to another child as a gift, send a copy to Grandma, or save it for a rainy day of reading at home. You could also call the main branch of your local library to volunteer to record stories on tape for those who are visually impaired.
Write your own story! Choose one of your favorite characters from a book and imagine them in a new situation. Then write it down. Share your stories with your family.
Make a summer book chain! For this activity, you’ll need strips of colorful paper and tape or glue. Every time you finish reading a book, write the book’s name on one of the pieces of paper and tape or glue it into a link. When you finish the next book, add another link to the chain. By the end of the summer, you could have a chain that stretches across the room (or farther!).
For budding artists: draw your own pictures of the stories you read. They can look like the pictures in the book, or any way you want them to!
Play Book Bingo! Create game cards by drawing a five-by-five-square grid on a piece of paper. In the boxes, write different subject categories—for example, science, history, biography, mystery, and so on. When you read a book in one of the categories, mark off the spot. The first person to mark off five spots in a row wins—and has had the chance to read lots of different kinds of books!
Many local libraries have summer reading programs that offer activities, prizes, etc. Ask your local library if they have one.
For more fun reading ideas, visit the Reading Is Fundamental Web site at www.rif.org/parents.
Cut out the bookmark on this page and glue it to heavy paper. Or create your own bookmarks to share with your family.
Illustrated by Matt Smith
“How marvelous a thing is a good book!” —President Gordon B. Hinckley
Note: If you do not wish to cut pages from the magazine, this activity may be copied, traced, or printed out from the Internet at www.lds.org. Click on Gospel Library.