Sunday, June 28, 2009

What are the first children reading?

Everyone is interested in Malia and Sasha Obama - role models for American girls - and children around the world. What are they wearing? (pretty and tasteful) Where are they traveling this summer? (Europe) What flavor of ice cream do they like (vanilla custard). But there's something else that's much more important and revealing: What do they like to read?


It might be difficult to find out the names of their favorite books, but there are certain books they will probably be reading this summer... Their School, Sidwell Friends, has a summer 2009 reading list for each grade. For Malia, who is entering grade six in September, the recommended reading list includes 45 novels, five collections of short stories, nine non-fiction titles, five books of poetry and six biographies: Sidlist6. In addition to selecting from these titles, incoming sixth graders are asked to read one of the following for literature circle in the fall:

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass 

Reaching for Sun by Tracie Vaughn Zimmer 

Shackleton’s Stowaway by Victoria McKernan 

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt 

The Misfits by James Howe 

For Sasha, who will be entering third grade, the summer reading list is divided into categories: Six books of Animal Tales, four Fantastic Adventures, five Stories about Friends and Families, eight non-fiction books, and five books of poetry: Sidlist3.

The recommendations for both grade levels include classics like The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett and Stuart Little by E. B White, along with contemporary writers, like Alexander McCall Smith, who has written a series of books about an African boy named, Akimbo. If Sasha chooses, she could read a book by Judith St. George - So You Want to be President?

More on the Obama girls summer reading list coming up! There are glaring gaps in my own knowledge of the canon - so I'm selecting certain books from their lists for my own summer reading and blogging. I'll keep you - how should I put this - posted.


Unknown said...

Very interesting - excellent info, and not at all invading their privacy.

Marci Hersel said...

Thank you for the great information...very interesting!

Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

I'm so happy to see James Howe's "The Misfits" on the list for incoming 6th graders! It's such a good book, dealing with great issues - politics of the "other," outsider status, fat, gay, too smart, too weird... I loved it!

what a cool post, thanks Peggy!

Stephanie Denise Brown said...

Great post! I haven't read a few of those books either so I will be adding them to my summer list as well. :)

Nettie Hartsock said...

Very insightful post! Thanks for this.

Reiza said...

This is so neat! My twins are also going into 3rd grade and they are fascinated by the first daughters. I must show Sasha's reading list to my girls. I'm willing to bet money they'll want to read some of them.

Melissa Walker said...

What a great post. Thoughtful and sweet, and informative!

Rita said...

Super post! I'm fascinated by school/summer reading lists in general, and this angle is really neat. I feel the need to fill in gaps in my knowledge of these books now, too.

Megan Frances Abrahams said...

Delighted to get your comments. More on the substance of the summer reading list - and other less substantial things - to follow.