2014 Summer Book Club


We all look forward to summer!  We enjoy the slower pace, days spent at the pool, family vacations, and a break from the structure of school.  But did you know that research shows that students can lose up to 3 months of reading progress during the summer?  Wonder how you can encourage your child to continue reading over the break?  The non-profit group, Reading is Fundamental, compiled a great list of ideas including combining activities with books, leading by example, talking it up, and reading aloud.  Discovery Junction Children's Museum is excited to share our 2014 Summer Book Club that combines these ideas to help you encourage reading in your own home.  We hope you'll join us and share in the fun of discovering new literature to enjoy with your children!


DJCM has selected 10 books to coincide with the 10 weeks that PWC schools are on summer break, beginning with the week of June 22nd.   The selected books are all award winning and/or written by critically acclaimed children's authors.  The books and activities were chosen with elementary aged students in mind.  However, these books can certainly be enjoyed by younger children.  Some children may prefer to read independently but they are great read aloud stories as well.  The purchase of these books would be great for your home collection but we made sure to choose books that can be found at the Prince William County Library.  Many of the titles are a few years old so can likely be found at a used book store such as McKay's.  If you participate with a few other families you could also rotate who purchases the book for the week and share. 


Gather some of your child's friends, or keep it simple with just your family, and follow along with us each week as we enjoy an engaging story and participate in a fun activity that enhances the message of the story.    The following is the order that we will be reading the books as well as a brief discription of the activity to go along.  You are welcome to follow any order you would like and feel free to completely change the activity.  There are no strict rules.  The purpose of Summer Book Club is to encourage the enjoyment of reading.  Each Sunday we will be sharing our experience with Summer Book Club on Facebook. We hope that you'll share your Summer Book Club with us as well!






























































































































Marian called it Roxaboxen. (She always knew the name of everything.) There across the road, it lookedlike any rocky hill -- nothing but sand and rocks, some old wooden boxes, cactus and greasewood and thorny ocotillo -- but it was a special place: a sparkling world of jeweled homes, streets edged with the whitest stones, and two ice cream shops. Come with us there, where all you need to gallop fast and free is a long stick and a soaring imagination.

June 22 - June 28                    Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran   

Roxaboxen celebrates the imagination of children in a seemingly barren plot of land.  After reading the book encourage your book club to go outside and play.  It could be at the neighborhood playground, a backyard, even a favorite hiking trail.  There are no rules for how to play, just let them enjoy the freedom to live inside their own imaginations. 

June 29 – July 5                          Aunt Chip and the Great Triple Creek Dam Affair by Patricia Polacco

How much TV is too much TV? Welcome to Triple Creek, where the townspeople watch TV day and night. They watch it when they're eating, working, playing, and sleeping. They even use TVs to teach the kids at school. But when Eli's eccentric Aunt Chip (who refuses to own a TV) discovers that her nephew and her neighbors don't remember how to read, she pulls the plug on the whole town using books that have been piled high to build a dam to spread the magic of reading all around.

Aunt Chip and The Great Triple Creek Dam Affair is a silly reminder of the joy of books and a glimpse into what life would be like if we only watched tv.  After reading the book, create Bored Jars with your book club.  A Bored Jar can be made from a mason jar, a recycled tin can, a tupperware bowl, anything you have on hand.  Together, brainstorm a list of activities that can be done over the summer on those days when boredom strikes.  Write the ideas on strips of paper and place them in your Bored Jar.  Next time your child feels bored have them pick an activity from their Bored Jar before they turn on that tv.  It's worth a try!


July 6 - July 12                        The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers

Poor Duncan just wants to color. But when he opens his box of crayons, he finds only letters, all saying the same thing:  His crayons have had enough! They quit! Beige Crayon is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown Crayon. Black wants to be used for more than just outlining. Blue needs a break from coloring all those bodies of water. And Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking—each believes he is the true color of the sun.

This clever book is great for inspiring the artist in all of us.  Enjoy creating art with your Book Club after reading the book.  Have a variety of paper and art mediums available to the children.  Let them choose what they would like to create.  You could add some excitement to the activity by taking it outside.  Tape some butcher paper to a fence and let them create a group mural.  This would be a good opportunity to check out some "how to draw" books from the library if you have a child who is interested in drawing actual images.  Let the interests of your Book Club members lead the type of art experience you have.

July 13– July 19                     Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet

Bulldozers push the raccoon and his friends from their home, but they are able to find a new one after a terrifying train ride.

A hike in the woods is the perfect compliment to reading Farewell to Shady Glade.  As you walk, discuss the wildlife that you see.  Imagine where it would all go if the land was developed.  How would the area be different?  Why is it important to protect our land and make sure it is developed responsibly?  Children growing up in PWC see a lot of development.  This book gently teaches why maintaining natural habitats is also important.


July 20 – 26                                 Fireflies by Julie Brinkloe

A young boy is proud of having caught a jar full of fireflies, which seems to him like owning a piece of moonlight, but as the light begins to dim he realizes he must set the insects free or they will die.

Catching insects is a favorite summer activity for many children.  Learning that we can't keep them forever is a lesson we all learn.  After reading Fireflies make bug habitats  with your Book Club.  Make an environment where bugs will be comfortalbe and able to live for a bit before being released. 

July 27 – Aug 2                          The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Aug 3 – Aug 9                             Building Our House by Jonathan Bean

While out exploring one day, a little boy named Liam discovers a struggling garden and decides to take care of it. As time passes, the garden spreads throughout the dark, gray city, transforming it into a lush, green world.


Mom and Dad are going to make the new house themselves, from the ground up. From empty lot to finished home, every stage of their year-and-a-half-long building project is here. And at every step their lucky kids are watching and getting their hands dirty, in page after page brimming with machines, vehicles, and all kinds of house-making activities!

Create your own curious garden with your Book Club using egg shells.  Crack open a dozen eggs along the top 1/3 of the egg.  Fill the eggs with soil, add grass seed, water, and place in a window.  Use the egg carton to hold the egg plantings.  For added fun you can draw faces onto the eggs to give them the appearance of faces growing hair.


After reading the book construct birdhouses with your Book Club.  You can create your own using recycled materials such as milk cartons.  Or pick up a hammer and build one from wood.  There are links to birdhouse kits in our store if you would like to build one with our child but are not sure how to get started.

Aug 10 – Aug 16                         The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool

One small boy has a special gift—he can weave cloth from the clouds: gold in the early morning with the rising sun, white in the afternoon, and crimson in the evening. He spins just enough cloth for a warm scarf. But when the king sees the boy's magnificent cloth, he demands cloaks and gowns galore. "It would not be wise," the boy protests. "Your majesty does not need them!" But spin he must—and soon the world around him begins to change.

The Cloud Spinner beautifully illustrates the importance of taking care of our natural resources.   Prince William County is the home to some beautiful natural parks.  Enjoy your Book Club at a park and bring along some rubber gloves to do a little park clean up. 

Aug 17 – Aug 23                           The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

In a rainbow-colored station wagon that smelled like a real car, the relatives came. When they arrived, they hugged and hugged from the kitchen to the front room. All summer they tended the garden and ate up all the strawberries and melons. They plucked banjos and strummed guitars.  When they finally had to leave, they were sad, but not for long. They all knew they would be together next summer.

The Relatives Came is a vivid story about time spent visiting relatives in Virginia.  Members of your Book Club are sure to see some similarities and differences in their own experiences visiting with friends and family.  You may even be inspired to begin a photo journal documenting the visit.

Aug 24 – Aug 30                         How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague

Some kids spend their summer vacation at camp. Some kids spend it at Grandma's house. Wallace Bleff spent his out west...on a ride, a rope, and a roundup he'll never forget.


Summer is nearly over and the members of your Book Club have likely had some fantastic adventures.  The little boy in

How I Spent My Summer Vacation tells of his adventure using great hyperbole.  Encourage your Book Club to make up and share exagerated versions of their own tales of summer.