According to the National Summer Learning Association, summer learning loss amounts to two month’s worth of reading for lower income students. Jonathan Auxier’s lifelong love of children’s books has turned into a career as an author, writing for readers ages 8-14. He’s recommended some books young readers will enjoy spending time with this summer.
Auxier, who has children himself, knows the most important aspect of children’s books.
“Most of the things that I’m telling my two year old right now, who’s acting out a lot, I’m basically constantly informing her about what it means to be good, and what it means to be bad. I think kids are really sensitive to that profound moral question about what goodness and badness truly is, and children’s books, unlike adult books, which I think can be a little coy about those.”
In the battle between good and evil, Auxier lays out his picks for young readers. He first recommends Magic Marks the Spot by author Caroline Carlson, a book about adventurous Pirates. There's also a new series from the author of A Strange Case of an Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger, it's titled The Quick Pick Papers: Poop Fountain, a story about children without adult supervision on Christmas Day.
For those moral lessons beyond good and evil, Auxier recommends The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm. In this novel, a young girl is protected from learning about death, as her parents switch out her dying goldfish, which is beginning to float upside down. The story continues, however, with the girls’ grandfather, a slightly discredited scientist, who has figured out the secret to cell regeneration and has now turned himself into a 14 year old boy and must attend middle school with his granddaughter.
Auxier also recommends Monster, what he describes as "a heavier novel" from beloved children’s author Walter Dean Meyers, who recently passed away. Monster is about a 16 year old boy on trial for murder. Kids will hear all sides from witnesses, learn about courtroom procedure, and learn that the boy was basically at the wrong place at the wrong time. Monster brings up more serious issues as well, such as race equality.
Johnathan Auxier’s latest novel for young authors is called The Night Gardner, a “classic haunted house story.” The two children, heroes of Auxier’s novel, are escaping the Irish Potato Famine in the 19th Century, and take a job at a creepy mansion in a remote valley. Auxier’s latest novel is available now.