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On the bookshelf: A selection of great reads for all ages

By: Ellen Lampe

After the final bell rings and school’s out for summer, many children either will be heading off to camp for the first time, experiencing a new camp or returning to the beloved one they attend year after year. The spring months are a time to prepare for these upcoming, exciting summer experiences, which can have a lasting impact on children.

In addition to talking with your child about what’s in store for them, a great way children can learn and become excited about camp is through the wondrous world of books.

Books about summer camp experiences get children’s imagination and excitement flowing and often include worthwhile lessons about trying new things, making new friends and being brave while away from home – not to mention consistent reading over the summer helps children stay sharp.

The following are several books on camp that received rave reviews and come highly recommended by the American Grandparents Association:

“Froggy Goes to Camp” 

by Jonathan London (Ages 3-6)

Tag along on Froggy’s wacky adventures at summer camp. While light-hearted and entertaining, the book also touches on fears children may have about leaving home for the first time, such as homesickness or nerves. Whether ready for sleep-away camp or not, kids will enjoy this entertaining tale.

“Cowboy Camp” 

by Tammi Sauer (Ages 5-7)

A resourceful book for kids who sometimes feel like they just don’t fit in. Avery feels like he can’t get things right at Cowboy Camp. A tale about how it’s not only okay to be yourself, it’s what being a true cowboy is all about.



by Louis Sachar (Ages 7-12)

Stanley Yelnats finds himself committed to a juvenile delinquent camp for a crime he didn’t commit. Daily, the boys are sent into the hot sun to dig five-foot holes to “build character.” Stanley soon discovers that there’s more than character development going on at Camp Green Lake.


“How Tia Lola Saved The Summer” 

by Julia Alvarez  (Ages 8-12)

The creative Tia Lola decides to start her very own summer camp to make her summer worthwhile. A book about how one girl’s definition of “camp” brings two families together into one big happy familia. Complete with Spanish words and phrases, this book doubles as educational.


“The Summer Camp Survival Guide” 

by Chris Pallato and Ron Defazio (Ages 8+)

A useful and entertaining guide for both parents and kids. The book covers everything from choosing the right camp to packing secrets to settling in and making friends – complete with a punch-out postcard to make it easy to stay in touch. Great for first-time sleep-away campers.


“Sleepaway Girls” 

by Jen Calonita (Ages 11+)

Not wanting to spend her summer hanging around her best friend and her new boyfriend, Samantha Montgomery applies to be a counselor-in-training at Whispering Pines camp in the New York Catskills. A light read with a good message about the possibilities and experiences to be had at summer camp.


Check back in West Newsmagazine’s April 4 issue for more great camp reads for children.

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