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Summer Reading Program

The Picaresque of Ímagine Purple by Beth Fine is an Educational Fiction Mystery Series with teachable moments. The books are Grade Level and Age-Appropriate.

At last it’s summer. Time to kick off my shoes, wiggle my toes in the grass, go swimming, play outside, stay up late, read comic books, and glare at the stack of books someone picked out for the dreaded summer reading program. After a school year of having to read two or three books per month, I don’t like being told to digest two or three books per week?


Whoever invented the summer reading program idea must have thought it a good way to keep kids out of trouble. What grown-ups don’t understand is most kids never dream about getting into trouble. We’re too smart for that. We’ve figured out that doing what’s right brings privilege but doing what’s wrong brings punishment. So why would we take the bumpy road?


Perhaps, long ago some librarians and teachers, with good intentions, got together to start a summer reading program. They were not sadists who hated kids but simply book buffs who loved literature and hoped kids would too. But, when some cruel tyrant decided to make the summer reading program mandatory, my enthusiasm for summer reading flew the coop.


That’s strange because as a little kid, I loved to read. I looked forward to Monday nights when the library stayed open so adults could check out books. While my mom looked for the latest best-seller, I went to the bottom kids’ shelf to see if a new orange biography had arrived. Those books had only 200 pages divided into short chapters and reported the history of famous people:

I read about Captain John Smith, Pocahontas, John and John Quincy Adams, Ben Franklin, James and Dolly Madison, Ben Franklin, Aaron Burr, Alexander Hamilton, George and Martha Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, Sacagawea, Daniel Boone, Davy Crocket, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, General Grant, Florence Nightingale, Jane Addams, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt and others.


Wow! It surprises me how many of their stories I still remember. Perhaps that’s because I got to choose the books for my own summer reading program. So, why didn’t anyone ask me to make a list for this year’s summer reading program? If so, I would have written down only books I’ve heard about or that sounded interesting…like the first two books of that new mystery series called The Picaresque of Ímagine Purple. Why then, I’d be right back as happy as I was when reading those orange biographies on the bottom shelf.

Hmmm. Let me check this new summer reading program list: The Last Passenger Train Across Newfoundland and The Scary Ferry to Nova Scotia. Those sound full of fun and mystery to please me and full of geography and history to please teachers. If the books aren’t in the library yet, I’ll ask my folks to buy them online at picaresqueofimaginepurple.com.

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Beth Fine
Beth Fine
Beth Fine Beth Fine  Beth Fine