First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Announces Top 10 Summer Reads

Press Release Date:  Tuesday, June 23, 2009  
Contact Information:  Jay Blanton
Sarah Baird

FRANKFORT, Ky. - In an effort to increase student reading across the state over the summer months, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced her Top 10 Summer Reads as part of a new First Lady’s Reading Recommendations initiative.

“Reading is the primary vehicle on the road to success,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Students who love reading, love learning, and are more likely to be engaged in the classrooms. Children who are eager to go to school have higher test scores, stronger retention rates and are more likely to go on to explore post-secondary education. These books will help students at all levels foster a love of the written word.”

First Lady’s Reading Recommendations: Top 10 Summer Reads

  1. Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis: “I read this classic series to my sons Andy and Jeff when they were little. From the first book to the last, this series is brimming over with tales of magic, adventure and daydreaming. Families could read one book a week between July 4th and Labor Day to finish the whole series!” (All Ages)
  2. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices, Paul Fleischman: “This Newberry Medal Award (1989) winner is a great way to introduce children to poetry while make it tangible, interactive and fun. Friends or siblings can take separate parts of the poems and read them aloud in tandem with each other.” (Ages: 8-12).
  3. Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes, Mollie Katzen. “Getting kids into the kitchen and learning how to cook is a great way to teach about food, health and nutrition using the bounty of summer produce.” (Ages: 4-8).
  4. The Coal Tattoo, Silas House: “Silas House is a Kentucky treasure, and has become nationally known for his stories about Kentucky’s Appalachian hills. This book would be ideal for high school students, who definitely will want to read his other works—Clay’s Quilt and A Parchment of Leaves—upon finishing.” (Ages: 14-17).
  5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick: “An award-winning book from Scholastic, this innovative work tells a unique tale based on a historical, true story using equal parts written text and elaborate illustration.” (Ages: 8-14).
  6. The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, Jeanne Birdsall: “A breezy, light and whimsical work that follows the summer adventures of four sisters—a perfect outdoor read for an afternoon in the sun!” (Ages: 10-14).
  7. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Roald Dahl: “As one of the most prolific and influential young adult authors of the 20th Century, Dahl shines with this book as with all his works. By the end, readers, too, will want to join in with the taunts of the farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean.” Ages: 7-11).
  8. The Eleventh Hour, Graeme Base: “An interactive and gorgeously illustrated ‘mystery’ tale where readers can follow along and track clues as to who may have eaten all the food at Horace the Elephant’s birthday party.” (Ages: 4-8).
  9. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L. Konigsburg: “A book about a precocious 12-year-old who runs away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Her exciting adventures will captivate students.” (Ages: 10-15).
  10. Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak: “I can’t wait to read this beautifully illustrated, spirited book to my grandsons. It’s one of my favorites.” (Ages: Birth-4).

In addition to the Reading Recommendations program, Mrs. Beshear signed on last month as a “Scholastic Reading Ambassador,” encouraging children across Kentucky to read four or more books during their summer vacation.

Mrs. Beshear hopes this new initiative will be able to expand as a resource for communities across the Commonwealth. “It is my hope that schools and libraries will utilize the Reading Recommendations program to generate discussion about the books, encourage parents to read to their children and allow students to see reading in a fun and interactive light.”