If your kids are heading to residential (sleepover) camp this summer, you will no doubt soon be compiling a list of items to pack for them. As you fill the duffle bags with bug spray, sunscreen, rain boots and a flashlight, leave at least a little space for some books.
Sure, the kids will spend a good part of the day doing activities outside with friends, but most camps have a mandatory “quiet time” when campers might enjoy losing themselves in a great story. And once they are done with the book, campers may want to share it with their friends — yet another way to bond and build memories. So here are a few titles your kids may enjoy this summer (even if they aren’t going to camp).
In a Dark, Dark Room and Other Scary Stories
(I Can Read, $4.99) by Alvin Schwartz – Ages 6 to 8
This classic collection of seven scary short stories is perfect for your child to read with friends around the campfire. The book includes some of the creepiest stories ever written, such as the Green Ribbon, which tells of a mysterious bride who never removes the green ribbon around her neck, only for her groom to discover it holds a gruesome secret. It seems that almost everyone has memories of this story and there is no more perfect place to discover it than around the campfire surrounded by the darkness and echoes of the woods. For younger kids who may not be going to camp, it is a great book to share with friends. What makes this book particularly fun for kids is that it is perfectly designed for reading aloud as the stories have short sentences and are only a few pages long.
I Want to Go Home
(Scholastic Books, $6.99) by Gordon Korman – Ages 8 to 12
Few writers can spin the experiences of childhood into such comedic adventures as popular Canadian children’s author Gordon Korman. This book, first published in the 1980s, tells the story of Rudy, who has been sent to camp by his family. Unfortunately, Rudy finds camp to be the equivalent of Alcatraz and, just like Al Capone, he is determined to escape. Rudy enlists his new friend Mike, a shy and quiet camper who also feels trapped, to help him break free. Together they begin to concoct elaborate getaway scenarios to get off the island where the camp is situated. Unfortunately, camp counselor Chip is equally determined to keep these two new buddies in check and is prepared to go to equally elaborate lengths to foil their plans. The book quickly becomes a fun cat-and-mouse game and readers will enjoy flipping through the pages to see if the dynamic duo will succeed in their multiple attempts at escape. Korman captures the magic and mayhem of camp experiences, which ultimately lead to a lifetime of wonderful memories.
Tom Brown’s Guide to Nature and Survival for Children
(Berkley Books, $18) by Tom Brown – Ages 10 to 13
Tom Brown is a renowned naturalist who runs a survival school in the United States. In this book, he emphasizes having respect for nature as well as learning basic wilderness survival skills such as building a shelter, finding food and administering first aid. The book is separated into two sections: Awareness and Survival. Awareness has chapters that teach children about observing nature and tracking animals. The next section offers some survival tips for kids who may wander and get lost or are walking in the forest on a camp-organized hike. The knowledge contained in the book will give children a newfound appreciation of nature and help them realize that working with nature rather than against it is much more beneficial. These are great lessons to put into practice in a camp setting and that can also be carried over into everyday life.