What’s In This Year’s WITSummer Books Bag?

Kristen StrobbeBooks, Events, Support

Each year WITS gives every student in our one-on-one mentor programs a set of brand-new books.  This is year is no different. In fact, children having access to books at home is important now more than ever. We hope that these books remind students of the time spent with their mentors and encourage them to read over the summer. We strive to give our students diverse books that they’ll enjoy reading again and again, and hopefully share those stories with family members and friends. Here are a few highlights of the books we’re giving to our students this year.

Bilingual Picture Book

Summer can’t get here soon enough! Speaking of, we’re very excited that one of our kindergarten books is “What Can You Do with a Paleta” by Carmen Tafolla and illustrated by Magaly Morales.  This lovely bilingual in Spanish book will have kindergarten students on the lookout for a paleta cart so they can have their own sweet, cool treat. This is one of several bilingual in Spanish books that we’re happy to offer our students.

Sending bilingual books home with students is an important way to give more families the opportunity to read together at home. In addition to the social-emotional value of reading aloud to young children in any language, studies show that students who are read to in their home language have an easier time learning to read in English.

Non-Fiction Books

WITS likes to provide a variety of fiction and non-fiction books for students that appeal to different levels of ability and interests. We have some very fun non-fiction options this year.

For our mid-day mentoring students we have “What If You Had Animal Eyes” by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam. Students love this series that gives them a glimpse (pun intended) into what it would be like to have the features of different animals (others in the series include animal teeth and animal hair). Our curious students love to learn when the topic is presented in a fun and engaging way. Wouldn’t it be cool if you had chameleon eyes? You’ll have to read to find out. We’re also going to get students reading about bears, fossils, pyramids and the perennial favorite – “National Geographic EXTRA Weird But True.”

The Return of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The crowd-pleaser is back in our WITSummer book bags. Our older students will be receiving the latest, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball” by Jeff Kinney. This story follows main character Greg and his family as they receive an unexpected inheritance and embark on home renovations. Chaos, drama and hilarity ensue! What’s so important about WITSummer Books is that we value giving students brand new books that they want to read. Through the WITSummer Books campaign we can give students the newest edition of one of the most-popular children’s book series.

Graphic Novels

Graphic novels are tremendously beneficial for students: they often have complex narrative structures have sophisticated themes and require students to “read between the lines” when the illustrations allude to characters’ feelings, actions, time passing, and more. Graphic novels give students access to high-quality stories that they might not be ready to tackle without the support of illustrations. Most importantly, our students love them!

We’ll be giving students two different “Babymouse” graphic novels by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm. “Babymouse #10: The Musical” and “Babymouse #11: Dragonslayer.” For those new to the “Babymouse” world, the titular character is a young mouse seeking adventure, fame and glamour but she still must go to school and try and tame her wild whiskers. This series is always a hit for students – the stories are funny and kind and Babymouse is a character you can’t help but love.

Other graphic novels students will be getting include “New Kid,” by Jerry Craft, “Stargazing” by Jen Wang and “Sanity and Tallulah,” by Molly Brooks.

For the full list of books or if you have questions about the books our students will be receiving, please email Kristen Strobbe at kristens@witschicago.org.