By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd

I recently heard someone refer to this time of year as the dog days of summer, and I wondered what this phrase really meant. According to, the dog days of summer are defined as “the sultry part of the summer… from July 3 to August 11. [It is] a period marked by lethargy, inactivity or indolence.” I agree that this definition accurately describes this time of year! As a mom, it feels like the “in between” period of summer when the novelty of being out of school with no structure has worn off and the vacations are (mostly) over, yet we, kids and parents, aren’t quite ready for school to be back in session.

I think the dog days are a perfect time to find a cool spot and enjoy a good book. My selections for this month include two books by authors from the South, and other fun titles that your children are sure to enjoy. I hope you will check them out!

Please remember to share your comments (you can win a book when you do!) — I love to hear what other people think about the books I select. And, if you haven’t read them, consider checking out a copy from the library or buying a copy at your local bookstore.

Preschool — Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry

This is a cute story of true friendship and doing what it takes to help a friend out of a muddy, mucky situation. The illustrations are vivid and fun, and clearly depict the farm animal friends’ many efforts to help Blue, the determined, little pick-up truck, get back on the road. The story features lots of truck sounds and animal noises, and is a perfect choice to read aloud with young children.

Lower Elementary — The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

The Rainbow Fish is one of my very favorite books. It was one of the first books I purchased after my son was born, and I have lost count as to how many times I have read it, and how many copies I have purchased as gifts. It is beautifully illustrated and has the special addition of foil stamped, shiny scales on Rainbow Fish. After Rainbow Fish refuses to share his prized scales and finds himself friendless, he seeks the wise counsel of the octopus. He is guided to give his special scales away to others, bringing happiness to himself and to others. The story demonstrates the value of being selfless and sharing what you have with others.

Upper Elementary — Frindle by Andrew Clements

Is a pen really a frindle? Nick Allen decides that it is in Andrew Clements’ book of the same name. Nick is a curious young man with a never-ending supply of ideas that are sometimes cleverly designed time-wasters. After Nick was given an extra assignment to learn how words were added to the dictionary, he decides to create his own word, frindle, and assign it to what everyone had previously known as a pen. Nick never expected that a simple name change would cause such a commotion. From the Booklist review on – The war of words escalates–resulting in after-school punishments, a home visit from the principal, national publicity, economic opportunities for local entrepreneurs, and, eventually, inclusion of frindle in the dictionary… Sure to be popular with a wide range of readers, this will make a great read-aloud as well.

High School — Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is an talented author from Chapel Hill, NC, that has a substantial following for her wonderful books. I meet her years ago when her first book, That Summer, was released. I hosted an event for SCBWI Carolinas at a local bookstore, and invited her to participate. She happily accepted the invitation, and was warmly received by the audience. I have been a fan ever since!

Dessen has a strong ability to tell meaningful and entertaining stories that relate to teens. She seems to connect with them in an honest and straightforward manner. She “gets” them.

In Saint Anything, 16-year-old Sydney has always felt overshadowed by her older brother, Peyton. When Peyton is involved in a drunk driving incident that results in jail time for him, Sydney begins to feel more disconnected from her family, and frustrated that they don’t have concern for the victim of the accident. She finds friendship and a shoulder to lean on with a family that owns a pizza shop she happens upon one day. Saint Anything is a story of tragedy, the complexity of family dynamics, friendship, and more.

Moms — The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank

This book is a good summer read. Although Frank lives in New Jersey, she was raised on Sullivan’s Island, South Carolina, and writes heartfelt stories set in the Lowcountry. The Hurricane Sisters is the story of three generations of sisters that harbor many secrets and engage in a variety of antics. While the story includes the heavy topic of domestic abuse, the story is lighthearted and delivered in a conversational manner. As with all of her books, the characters are colorful, entertaining, and give you a taste of life in the South.


Remember to share your thoughts and comments, and you could be selected to win a copy of one of the books, compliments of Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro. The staff of Triad Moms on Main will choose a random winner one week after the blog runs. (Please be sure to enter your email address when you fill out your comment so they have a way to contact you.)
Ellen Bryant Lloyd is the author of FRECKLES and FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue. Please visit and to learn more about Freckles. Ellen writes a blog about her perspectives on life and parenting at and tweets at @EllenBLloyd. She lives in Greensboro with her husband and two children.

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