Your old friend, a REAL book

By Katelyn Cole

Thinking about my favorite summer activities, the things at the top of my list are

traveling somewhere sunny and sandy, enjoying live entertainment in Sundance

Square, exploring new restaurants with friends, and reading. Reading has always been

one of my top priorities. It keeps me sane. It brings me back to center. It forces me to be


Photos curtsey of Katelyn Cole

With the recommendations to stay home, this summer is probably not going to look how

we pictured it. Flights have been cancelled, live entertainment has been postponed, and

social gatherings with friends and family are limited. The one constant that remains is


Whether you’re a scorned reader from a book you were forced to read 100 years ago, a

hustling mom who has killed the online learning game and needs a little “me” time, or a

desperate parent in need of ways to fill their kid’s suddenly open schedule, I would like

to reintroduce you to your old friend: the book.

“Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.” -Mason Cooley

This summer, I invite you and your family to get back to the basics by picking out a

summer read! Let’s find renewed joy in being at home and getting lost in a book. Let’s

make personal connections with characters that build empathy in us and our children.

Let’s open up opportunities for discussion and connection. I encourage you to make a

memorable experience without having to leave your home!

Below are some of my five-star reads in 2020 for adults, along with highly-rated reads

for children in each age range.

Adult Five-Star Reads:

  • The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

  • The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

  • In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

  • Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager (publishes 6/30)

  • Untamed by Glennon Doyle

Teenage Novels and Series:

  • The Selection series by Kierra Cass

  • The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyers

  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Ages 10-13:

  • The Winterhouse series by Ben Guterson

  • Hazardous Tales series by Nathan Hale

  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier

  • Refugee by Alan Gra

Ages 7-9:

  • I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis

  • The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths

  • Ivy and Bean series by Annie Barrows

  • My Weird School series by Dan Gutman

Ages 4-6:

  • Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems

  • Pete the Cat series by Eric Litwin

  • The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

  • The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Katelyn Cole is an elementary educator in Roanoke and an avid reader. She maintains

a social media platform, where she reviews upcoming releases and builds community

through reading! You can reach out to her and find more recommendations on her

Instagram page @bookcasebeauty

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