Good Reads for Camp

file0001799683072Sandwiched in between ordering and attaching name labels, scheduling doctor visits and filling out medical forms, turning the living room into a packing station, buying endless pairs of socks that would be never be allowed back home, and last-minute trips to Target was the joy of scouring the bookstore with my kids in search of good reads.

Thoughts of those days leading up to overnight camp came to mind yesterday as I spent part of the afternoon at The Book Stall amidst a high energy (fueled in part by the proffered candy) group of future campers and their parents gathered for a presentation by Robert McDonald.

Although I have been known to make purchases from, I really care about supporting indie bookstores, in general, and my local indie bookstore, in particular. Certainly, I’m fortunate in that my local bookstore—The Book Stall–is the best bookstore in the country. Lest you think I exaggerate, Publishers Weekly bestowed that title on The Book Stall last year.

Robert, who heads up the wonderful children’s department at The Book Stall offered his suggestions for fiction and activity books for children of camp-going age and generously allowed me to share them. Of course, these selections should hold a child’s interest whether at camp, at home or on a family vacation. In fact, you can arrange with The Book Stall (800.678.2242) to ship care packages of books and other fun items to camp or to the child’s home. This would be a great idea for you grandparents looking to stay in touch with your grands over the summer.


11 Birthdays  (ages 8 – 12) by Wendy Mass is a kind of Groundhog’s Day for the young set.

33 Minutes (Until Morgan Sturtz Kicks My Butt)  (ages 11+) by Todd Hasak-Lowry is narrated by middle-schooler Sam as the clock ticks on.

The Apothecary (ages 11+) by Maile Meloy follows a 14-year-old American girl whose life is transformed when she moved to London in 1952 and gets swept up in a race to save the world from nuclear war.

The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows (ages 9 – 12) by Jacqueline West is a creepy but whimsical tale about an 11-year-old girl who moves into a Victorian mansion and discovers she can enter another world through the antique paintings.

Calli Be Gold (ages 9 – 11) by Michele Weber Hurwitz tells the story of Calli Gold, the quiet third child in a family of boisterous overachievers.

Close to Famous (ages 10+) by Joan Bauer is about spunky Foster, who bakes the best cupcakes in town, dreams of having her own cooking show one day and has a severe learning disability.

Dark Life (ages 9 – 12) by Kat Falls combines likeable teen characters, adventure, fast-paced action, and a little romance in a futuristic, underwater setting.

Darwin Arkwright and the Peregrine Pact (ages 9 – 12) by A.J. Hartley is about an 11-year-old who must move from England to Georgia.

Deadweather and Sunrise (ages 10+) by Geoff Rodkey is an adventure story about a 13-year-old on a pirate-infested island.

Divergent (ages 12 +) by Veronica Roth is set in the future and recounts the story of a 16-year-old forced to choose her life-long identity.

The Emerald Atlas (ages 8 – 12) by John Stephens is the first volume in a fantasy trilogy.

The False Prince (ages 10 – 13) by Jennifer Nielson relates the story of Sage, an orphan living on the streets and chosen to participate in a lethal contest.

Finally (ages 10 – 13) by Wendy Mass is about fitting in and growing up.

Floors (ages 9 – 12) by Patrick Carman is a mystery set in the unusual Whippet Hotel.

Football Genius (ages 10 – 13) by Tim Green, a former NFL player, is the action-packed story of a 12-year-old who can predict any football play before it happens.

The Homemade Stuffing Caper (ages 9+) by John Madormo intoduces us to 7th-grader Charlie Collier who fancies himself a detective.

Insignia (ages 12+) by S.J. Kinkaid is about 14-year-old Tom, a genius at virtual reality games and a military recruit during World War III.

One for the Murphys (ages 10 +) by Lynda Hunt relates the story of a foster child who tries to adjust to her new, loving family.

Out of My Mind  (ages 10+) by Sharon Draper tells the story of 5th-grader Melody who has cerebral palsy coupled with a good mind and determination.

Pie (ages 9 – 12) by Sarah Weeks is about a secret world-famous pie-crust recipe.

Powerless (ages 10 – 13) by Matthew Cody is about a group of kids who have super powers.

Rise of the Wolf (ages 10 – 13) by Curtis Jobling is about a world ruled by werewolves.

Sparrow Road (ages 10 – 13) by Sheila O’Connor is a mystery involving 12-year-old Raine.

Summer of the Wolves (ages 12 – 14) by Polly Carson-Voiles is about the rare bond between a 12-year-old foster girl and an 11-day-old wolf pup.

A Tale Dark and Grimm (ages 10+) by Adam Gidwitz features the characters Hansel and Gretl who walk out of their own story and into eight other classic Grimm fairy tales.

Ten (ages 9 – 11) by Lauren Myracle shares Winnie’s view on turning ten—at home and at school.

Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer (ages 9 – 12) by John Grisham focuses on 13-year-old Theo finding himself in the middle of a sensational murder trial (what else would we expect?).

Virals (ages 11 – 14) by Kathy Reichs is the story of a group of teenage sci-philes who become involved with some secret and dangerous medical experiments.

Wildwood (ages 9+) by Colin Meloy is a tale of suspense.

A Wizard of Earthsea (ages 11 – 16) by Ursula K. LeGuin is the first title of a powerful science fantasy series by this brilliant writer.



Can You Survive Series (ages 8+) by Matt Doeden describes incredibly severe geographic conditions that some people do indeed survive and even thrive in.

Coke or Pepsi (ages 11 – 14) is an ice-breaker.

Flapz (8 – 14) is a pocket fame of brain-ticklers.

Mad Libs (9+) is an essential part of packing for camp.

Spot It! (9+) features four fast-paced games.

Tell Tale (all ages) is a game that challenges your imagination.

Time for Kids 2014 Almanac (ages 8 -12) is informative and entertaining.

Weird But True: 300 Outrageous Facts (ages 7 – 10) is a fun reference book by National Geographic.

Wreck This Journal (ages 11+) is an illustrated book with intriguing prompts.

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6 Responses to “Good Reads for Camp”

    • belindambrock

      Carol, I enjoyed your review—and it certainly got me thinking, as I spent several summers in Michigan at summer camp as both a camper and counselor. Thanks for the info!

  1. barbara miller

    thanks Belinda. “Gramps” and i are our driving our 2 grandkids across the country this summer and your suggestions are extremely helpful.

  2. belindambrock

    Wow, I’m impressed, Barbara! You might also want to check out the movie suggestions in my last post for viewing on the road. Safe travels!

  3. Grandma Kc

    What a great list! Thank you! I will have to check with Amara’s Mommy as to which ones she may already have but some of these look like ones she would really enjoy.