The Next Chapter's summer reading list for kids


Every summer, Ken Setterington and Michele Landsberg come up with an ultimate children's reading list. Setterington is an author and former librarian, while Landsberg has published several books on children and reading. Together they bring more than 60 years of experience in the children's book scene to the book lists they present each summer on The Next Chapter. You can listen to their conversation with Shelagh Rogers in the audio player below:

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The Islands of Chaldea by Diana Wynne Jones


Michele says: "Diana Wynne Jones is one of the greatest fantasy writers of the past century. She wrote 30 sparkling, delightful books. So, if there are kids out there who loved Harry Potter or Tolkien or any of the fantasy writers, she's got the goods. Her plots are so insanely complex, and yet children can always follow them. The Islands of Chaldea is about a young girl on a quest. It is a wonderful adventure and anyone nine and up would love it."

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel


Ken says: "It's a mix of history and Canadian history, fantasy and mythical creatures. It's about a train that's nine kilometres long that's going from Halifax to Victoria. It's the fastest train and there's a young boy on it. His father is the engineer and they're carrying the body of Cornelius Van Horne in the middle of the train in a locked compartment. It's great fun. It's exciting, it's thrilling and there are Sasquatches in it."

Outside In by Sarah Ellis


Michele says: "Sarah Ellis is one of the greatest Canadian writers. She has the perfect ear for youngster dialogue and for contemporary culture. She gets it. Outside In is about Lynn, who is happy at school. She has good friends. She's about 13 years old. She is rescued in a traumatic incident on the street by a mysterious girl her own age, who then disappears. Lynn hunts for her, and when she tracks her down Lynn finds that the girl is part of an unsuspecting culture called The Underlanders, who live off the grid. She's part of a family that lives, unknown to the authorities, in an abandoned reservoir. It's a wonderfully magical book."

Revenge on the Fly by Sylvia McNicoll


Ken says: "It's a story from 1912, where there is an epidemic of flies. In 1912 they decided flies were the reason for all the illness in the city. And, so in Hamilton (Ont.) they had a contest: what child can kill the most flies? This is a fictional account of a young boy that has come from Ireland with his father. They've got nothing. His mother has recently died, his sister has recently died, and he knows germs were caused by these flies, so he goes on an all-out war. It's an exciting book and one that I found riveting."

The Good Pie Party by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton


Michele says: "This is a charming, charming picture book. With just a few strokes, she conveys so much expression on these kids faces. It's about three little girls who decide they hate to part, but they have to move. They decide that instead of having a goodbye party, they had a 'good pie' party and cheered themselves up by baking a pie and inviting all the neighbours. I love a picture book that makes you feel emotion, and this one is so humane and charming."

From There to Here by Laurel Croza, illustrated by Matt James


Ken says: "From There to Here is by Laurel Croza and illustrated by Matt James and is about a kid who's moving from Saskatchewan to Toronto. It's basically just the differences between there and here, and just how life moves on and things are different but things work out. It's a wonderful book."

Michele and Ken's comments have been edited and condensed.