By Guest Blogger Ellen Bryant Lloyd

Grilling out, making s’mores by the fire pit, spending time with family and friends, catching fireflies, making homemade ice cream, and relaxing by the pool with a great book are some of the enjoyable things that come to mind when I think of summer. This is the perfect time of year to catch up on all the books I have wanted to read throughout the year. It is also a great time to nudge children to turn off the television, put away electronic devices, and pick up a good book that will transport their imaginations to far away places.

Find fun ways to encourage children to read this summer. On your way home from camp or other summer activities, why not plan regular stops to your local library? Another idea is to give children gift cards to a bookstore as payment for extra efforts to help out around the house and yard, then plan a special trip to the bookstore so your child can purchase a new book. Also, check out library and bookstore schedules for story times and author events. It is always exciting to meet an author!

Special Announcement! FRECKLES and The Great Beach Rescue will be featured at the July 26, 2016 story time at Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center at 11:00 am. I will be there (I’m the author :)) to read the story to everyone, and will also be available to personalize and sign books. I look forward to seeing you all there!

Another Special Announcement! Last month, I featured Serafina and The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty. If you have read the book or plan to do so, you might be interested to know that Robert Beatty will be at Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center in Greensboro, on Thursday, July 21, 2016 at 6:00 pm! Beatty will be there to speak about and sign his new book, Serafina and the Twisted Staff. This will be a great event that you don’t want to miss!

Preschool — Olivia by Ian Falconer (board book edition)

Olivia is undoubtedly the most adorable pig in the world! I discovered Olivia when my daughter was very young, and have loved all her adventures. She is cute, precocious, sensitive, busy, spunky and curious. Olivia has big dreams, big thoughts, and wears her heart on her sleeve. Children will easily relate to her. This book is a wonderful introduction to Olivia and her fun-loving personality as she experiences her day and some of her many adventures. And, my favorite part — Olivia ends her day by asking her mom to read her a stack of books. She is definitely a girl after my own heart!

Elementary — Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

This is a classic story of a peddler and his adventure with a mischievous group of monkeys that steal his caps. Children will enjoy the monkeys’ antics, and will relate to the frustration the peddler expresses during the ordeal. However, the unexpected resolution will bring a smile to the reader’s face, and the realization that there are many ways to solve problems.

I believe this book is perfect for toddlers and elementary-aged children. For younger children, it is a fun story with repetition and mischievous monkeys, but for elementary children, themes of patience, creative thinking, cause and effect, and problem solving are introduced, and offer opportunities for rich parent-child discussions.

Special note Caps for Sale will be the featured story time book at Barnes & Noble, Friendly Shopping Center, on Tuesday, June 28th at 11:00 am. Mark your calendars and plan to attend!

Middle School — Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo 

Because of Winn-Dixie will capture your heart, plain and simple. The story begins with ten-year-old Opal’s trip to the grocery store to purchase groceries. However, she ends up coming home with a dog that she names Winn-Dixie, the same name as the grocery store. It is because of Winn-Dixie that Opal finds the courage to learn more about her past and begins making friends, even non-traditional ones. Opal’s life is forever changed that fateful summer. She discovers more about who she is and her place in the world. This is a warm and classic story  — a definite must-read.

High School — Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

After I read Stargirl several years ago, I thought it would be an important book for every high school student to read. It offers great insight into the world of teenagers, and the challenge they face to be who they really are.

Stargirl is different. Different from any other girl Leo Borlock had ever known. She captivated him from the first look. In fact, everyone seemed to be captivated by her and her seemingly magical charm. However, her magic seems to eventually turn on her, and the warmth from others is replaced with coldness, even meanness. This is a story that encourages all to embrace individuality and personal expression, and to recognize the gift in being your true self.

Moms — The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This is one of my all-time favorite books. It is not only extremely well-written, but it tells the story of a time in history that we all need to remember. Many people may have seen the movie, and although the movie is good, the book is even better.

The story is set in Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 when racial tensions were rising. The Help centers around Abiline, a black maid, her friend, Minny, also a black maid, and Skeeter, the white socialite and recent college graduate that is determined to blaze her own way in the publishing world. Abiline, Minny, and their friends all work for white families in this deep south community. They spend their days cooking, cleaning and taking care of children, essentially allowing the women of the home to live full, social lives. Many injustices that were commonplace during that period are revealed when the three women join together to write an anonymous, tell-all book about their lives and work as black maids. They story is sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes hard to read. It will definitely make you think and reflect a lot on our society, where we have been and where we are today. This is a book that I honestly didn’t want to end.

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.

CLICK HERE to read March’s Book Nook Blog.
CLICK HERE to read April’s Book Nook Blog.
CLICK HERE to read May’s Book Nook Blog.