Our Top 5 Books for Summer Reading + A Giveaway!

You may have noticed, through reading along or following Kid-Smart Spaces on social media, that we're pretty huge fans of summer reading. Reading is an amazing way to quietly pass the long summer months, especially when friends aren't available for play dates, and it also benefits children of all ages immensely, through improved vocabulary, general knowledge, grammatical flexibility and much more. 

We pretty much love all books, but these five top the charts for best summer reading material this year. Take a peek and see if you agree!

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Mixed Me

With the follow-up to his debut book, Chocolate Me, actor and father, Taye Diggs continues to help children understand and deal with the unique set of questions that arise as part of an ethnic identity. Having already addressed what it's like to be a young, black child, Diggs has moved forward with Mixed Me, dedicated to his bi-racial son, to give mixed children something to identify with and a positive role model for accepting and being comfortable with who they are. 

With his main character, Mike, in Mixed Me, Diggs not only helps bi-racial children through what can be a tough growing period, he also provides an incredible example of of self-love, acceptance and optimism in the face of adversity, teaching not only children, but parents as well that it's absolutely worth it to be proud of who you are.

Role Model Ricky's Big Birthday Bash

Chances are, you want your children to make good decisions, know how to share, respect others, and have good values. It's a dream come true for most parents, including Jeremy and Janel Miller. The two parents of three boys decided to write a book after seeing that there were not enough books on the market to help teach children how to have exhibit good behavior. Role Model Ricky's Big Birthday Bash is their answer to this lack.

Jeremy may be a Minnesota State Senator and Janel may work full-time, but instilling good values in their children from a young age is something these two parents clearly value, for both their sons and many other children.

Little Banty Chicken and the Big Dream

We're increasingly living in a world where children are no longer taught to nurture their dreams, since they aren't tested and measured. For Lynea Gillen, this is a message worth disputing. The Portland yoga teacher and licensed professional counselor has been writing for and sharing her love of literature with children for over 30 years, and Little Banty Chicken and the Big Dream is the newest in her effort to bring dreaming back to childhood.

 With a heartfelt message, this beautifully illustrated book teaches children the importance of dreams and how sharing them can lead to discovering ways to make them come true. With the help of barnyard animals, children and their families, kids learn how beautiful, important dreams turn into actions that ripple out toward the creation of positive outcomes.

Happy!

If there's anything better than summer reading, it's being genuinely happy! Grammy winning musician, Pharrell's 2014 hit, "Happy" had adults and kids around the world tapping into their happiest moments, and his hardcover picture book of the same name translates that into still images and picks up where Pharrell's music video left off. 

With so many intense things going on in our world, it can sometimes be easy for little minds to lose track of the joy of happiness. Happy! serves as a beautifully composed and photographed reminder of what it means to be happy, something we could all use a little more of!

Asthma Is Not Stopping Me!

This upcoming book is the latest release in Emergency Room Physician's Assistant, Tolya L. Thompson's award-winning Smarties Books Series. Thompson and her Smarties Books Series are dedicated to bringing kids useful information about staying healthy and out of the ER in a fun, interesting way they can understand, all the while promoting literacy. 

For Piper Lee, the book's main character, asthma might be an issue she has to deal with, but she's not letting it define her. Through Asthma Is Not Stopping Me! and other health-oriented books, Thompson has created a very effective and valuable approach to opening dialog on coping with asthma in a way kids can understand, teaching children how to conquer asthma and be unstoppable!

ENTER OUR SUMMER READING GIVEAWAY

In tribute to our love of summer reading and this collection of amazing books just for kids, Kid-Smart Spaces is excited to launch a summer reading giveaway! Over the next three weeks, we will be giving away one copy of each:

Role Model Ricky's Big Birthday Bash

Little Banty Chicken and the Big Dream

Asthma Is Not Stopping Me!

Each week's winner will win one of the three books! To enter, get to know us on social media by following or liking the Kid-Smart Spaces Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram feed or all three! Then just share your details with us to confirm, and cross your fingers!

Check back each Monday, starting July 25 for winner and book announcements. Good luck! :)

8 Quotes that Totally "Get" Summer Reading

Summer is here. We made it! Take a few seconds to pat yourself on the back, whether you're a student or teacher, for making it through another school year! 

As far as we're concerned, the best part about summer isn't hot dogs, flip-flop weather or the beach, even though all of those are great. The best part of a kid-smart summer is so. much. time. for reading! These authors, leaders and all-around awesome readers get exactly what we mean. 

What are you and your littles looking forward to reading this summer? Please share in our comments so others can read your favorites too!