A must-read summer


Vacation preparation for me includes sunblock and reading lists. This year, I’ve already started to stockpile SPFs and a list of must-reads and re-reads. I’ve consulted the bestsellers, bookstore picks, and my mom… because, well, mothers know best.

My mother was a career educator, teaching high school English and language arts. Even when there was no summer reading list, my literature (and list) loving mama made one for us. After her thoughtful introductions, I found dear friends in Christopher Robin, Laura Ingalls, and even Little Critter. I’ll never forget the first time I read The Diary of Anne Frank.

According to an article by Scholastics, Inc., kids today are reading more than ever, though the reading material may be questionable to parents. Mother told us, “you are what you eat.” How about what we read?

The same Scholastic article claims almost 1 out of every 3 teenagers in America reads and writes more than 100 text messages a day. If the article is correct, then who would have time for Jay Gatsby or Scout Finch? How could a 300-word description of a jazzy party or Maycomb, Mississippi compete for the attention of a 14-year-old?

Because it’s good. It’s foundational. And it’s lasting.

It’s meat and potatoes verses Cheetos.

Long after I’ve stopped pretending to have tea with Winnie the Pooh, the importance of lasting friendships is fixed within me. We know the importance of a wholesome ingredients in regards to the development of a child. The same can be said for quality content, not cheap fillers, in regards to reading material.

After I introduce the boys to Charlotte and Wilbur (you know, “Some Pig”), I know what’s first on my list. I’m on a book-launch team for Becky Wade, an inspirational fiction writer who has written a pleasant series about three sisters. The final book in her Bradford Sisters Series is Sweet on You. And if we are what we read, then I’m happy this one promises chocolate. I’d love to know, what’s on your list?

Neena Gaynor is a Kentucky wife, mother, daughter and beekeeper who does life in Owensboro. She also writes on her blog at and can be reached via email at


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