Fast forward three weeks to a bench outside our public library where Callum and I met to talk about his reading life. The beach bag at his feet was filled with the books that he's read this summer and wanted to share with you.
The first book out of his bag was Arcade Catastrophe, the second book in the Candy Shop War series by Brendan Mull. Callum says one of the interesting things about this book is that it's about kids going into the sixth grade, just like him. His favorite genre is adventure books that have action, magic, and fighting. Callum pointed to Nate on the cover of the book and commented, "It's easy for me to imagine that I'm this character in the book."
The next book out of his bag was The Janitor's Boy by Andrew Clements. Even though this book is kind of old (according to Callum), he reports that Clements is an awesome author who writes about a boy and his relationship with his father in The Janitor's Boy. Callum is also reading two other books by Andrew Clements this summer, The Last Holiday Concert and The Jacket.
The third book Callum shared was The Mark of Athena, the book that he had been reading in June when I met him at the doctor's office. Callum remarked, "I'm pretty sure a lot of kids have read this. It's like all Rick Riordan's books where the kids are sons and daughters of gods, and they go on magical quests. This book has a lot of action, it's super funny, and it has an awesome cliffhanger ending so I can't wait for the fourth book."
Callum pulled Twerp out of his bag and observed that it is "... probably the best book I've read this summer. The book is set in the 60s so it's pretty interesting. If you combine Joey from the Joey Pigza series with August from Wonder, you kind of get what this kid's like. He's kind of disobedient at times, but in the end he makes things right which is good. It's super good, so I recommend you read it." Actually Callum's recommendation of this book when I first met him in June inspired me to move this book to the top of my TBR (to be read) pile. Look under the comments in the Books Read in June post for my review. You will need to click on Older Posts at the bottom of the blog in order to find the Books Read in June post. I gave the book 4 stars, but Callum insists that it's a 5 star read!
At this point, we continued our discussion by talking about Callum's favorite places to read - his bed, his desk, and the table on his deck where he reads with his family. Callum remembers that his dad always read to him when he was little. When asked where he finds books to read, he mentioned his classroom library where he uses this strategy to pick a book: "I pick it up, start reading, and if I like it, I keep going. But if I don't, I put it back." Callum mentioned that it's good to come back to books that you might have discarded earlier. "Last year, I tried The Candy Shop War by Brendan Mull and didn't like it. But this year I read it on vacation and loved it." When looking for new books, he likes to continue a series or author that he's liked before. His favorite place to get new books is Island Books, an independent bookstore in our community. He commented that he shops from the tables in the store. Here's the view of what's currently on the tween reader table at Island Books. Note the book Twerp in the lower right hand corner of the table.
What an interesting afternoon I spent with Callum as he shared his favorite reads of the summer! Thanks, Callum, for this delightful glimpse into your reading life!
If you've completed at least three books this summer and would like to be interviewed and featured as a guest reader, contact me at this address - Ramona.Behnke@mercerislandschools.org or leave a comment on the blog. You don't have to be one of my students in order to be a featured guest reader. I'm actually hoping for a Skype visit with Abby from Arkansas and perhaps one of Dr. Clay's granddaughters from Texas. If you're a kid or adult who enjoys reading books for tweens (students in upper elementary and early middle school), feel free to leave your favorite reads under comments in the posts, Books Read in June or Books Read in July.