Parent Alert

Summer reading lists.

Because of our location in Ogunquit, Maine, we sell books to children from all over the country, and the world.
For 12 years we have been supplying them with their books for their summer reading lists. Roughly, these lists  fall into three categories:

1. Well chosen titles that offer excellent choices from which the students can select their 3-5 books. In this group are the lists that reflect the teachers' knowledge of good books and their respect for their students abilities.

2. Poorly chosen titles that reflect the teachers' disdain and disrespect for their student's abilities. We assist these students in selecting books of better quality at their age and reading level.

3. Last summer and this summer, we have run across a third category. In this section are books totally incorrect for the student's age. For example, to assign as required reading Elie Wiesel's Night to an 11 year old is irresponsible. As a wiser older student remarked, not only was it a dreadful choice, but it should only be read in a classroom situation where questions could be answered. .
This year, at the same school, they are assigning a novel based on the Viet Nam war.

Again, last summer, two books stand out as totally without merit. The first is Holes. Although it was a Newbury award winner, it preaches mindless punishment as a teaching device.

The other was A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. "Owen Meany is a dwarfish boy with a strange voice who accidently kills his best friend's mom with a baseball and believes accurately that he is an instrument of God, to be redeemed by martyrdom."  

In a time when we are all upset with the spectre of teen suicide and other self-destructive teen behavior, someone in the teaching establisment has got a screw loose. 

I'm sorry. I smell a nasty agenda. Not only how to spoil a child's summer vacation, but how to intimidate the children so that perhaps they'll cower when facing the world as adults. By presenting such books at such an early age, they rob the young of their enthusiasm for life. It is such a disgusting thing to do. 

My Recommendation
As parents, pay attention to the reading assignments. If you are unfamiliar with a book, read a couple of chapters.  Discuss it with your child. Be interested.

It is never correct to criticize unless you have a better idea. We do! Check our recommendations under the correct age category. If you have other suggestions, please tell us. We'll be delighted to add them to the list. We firmly believe that summer reading should inspire students by suggesting  they read great stories about people and events, either fiction or non-fiction.  Meanwhile, stop permitting the assigning books that are totally depressing to youngsters on the brink of and in the midst of adolescence.


We would be delighted to hear from you with suggestions, questions or comments. Our e-mail address is: We look forward to your correspondence.



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