Summer Reading Fun… for All! by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

Ahhh, summer is finally here! “No more classes, no more books…” wait! No more books? That’s not what anyone really wants, is it? Surely no one reading this blog, in any case! 🙂 One of the things we like most about summer is that there’s even more time for even more books–and the very best part is that they can be books selected purely for enjoyment.


But with some books, the enjoyment even goes beyond the reading. How is that possible, you ask? Well, some of the most gratifying feedback we’ve gotten from readers of the Two Truths and a Lie series is about how they’re strengthening their family connections by sharing the book with each other. Some families have shared the stories all together while playing around the pool; others incorporated it as a car game on their summertime road trips; others used it to spark multi-generational discussions over Sunday brunch; and more.


All of which got us thinking . . . how else can books and reading be built into family fun time, whatever the ages of the participants? Here are some tips we’ve come up with, to start things off!


  • Why not start a summertime family book club? You know the basic idea: everyone reads the same book and then you share your questions and thoughts with each other. Start by putting together an appropriate list of choices and letting every family member vote for their favorites. (Or take turns being the “chooser.”) Note that this can even work even work with grandparents who are far away! The discussions can take place in person or online–or even via handwritten letters– whatever works. Just make sure everyone brings a question to add to the discussion. You may want to consult Seth Carpenter’s Guide to Father-Son Book Clubs or Lori Day’s Her Next Chapter for ideas.


  • Take turns reading aloud to each other, whether from a novel, a nonfiction work, or a picture book. Be sure to discuss the reasons each book was selected, as well as sharing your thoughts on the book itself–both while reading it and after you have finished. When you finish a book, allow someone else to choose the next one, so everyone gets a chance.


  • Get a book of science experiments and try doing some together. Talk about how the projects worked, or discuss why they didn’t! Did things go the way you expected them to? Why or why not? Make sure everyone helps setting up… and cleaning up afterward, too!


  • Let each family member pick out an activity book, such as a craft book, a coloring book, a sticker book, etc. Then make time to work on the activity together. (Don’t forget lots of snacks!) Talk about each of your choices, your challenges, your mistakes, and your successes. These can also be great opportunities for reminders about the importance of grit and developing a growth mindset.


  • Select an audiobook for long car rides. Or, have someone volunteer (who won’t get carsick!) to read and share facts out loud from a nonfiction book, quiz-show style. Don’t forget to discuss what you’ve heard. . . and learned!


  • Decide on a regular time to check in with all family members about what they’re reading independently. Discuss why they chose that particular book, and what they think of it so far. Who would they recommend it for… or not? What are they learning from it? This can be a great way to gain some quality family bonding moments at mealtimes, during car rides, while waiting in lines, etc.


  • Play Two Truths and a Lie, or a variation! Take turns telling each other two true facts or stories and one made up one, with the rest of the family trying to figure out which one is the fake. The facts/stories could be about anything: yourself, the book you’re reading, an unusual object in your home, a famous person, etc. (Hint: You might even want to start with Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive! and/or Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries.) No matter how you decide to play the game, you’ll all probably learn something new, and it might even encourage some independent research on both sides! For detailed game tips and ideas, look here.


Summer should be a time for relaxing and enjoying one another’s company, and what better way to do that than through books? Reading can–and we think SHOULD–be a family affair, after all. We’d love to hear your ideas for how you share summer reading with your own family members, whether they are near or far, young or old. Please share them in the comments below!


Ammi-Joan Paquette loves caves, hates mushy bananas, and is ambivalent about capybaras. She is the author of the novels The Train of Lost Things, Paradox, and Nowhere Girl as well as the Princess Juniper series and many more. She is also the recipient of a PEN/New England Susan P. Bloom Children’s Book Discovery Award honor. Joan lives outside Boston, Massachusetts, where she balances her own writing with her day job as a literary agent. You can visit her online at


Laurie Ann Thompson loves capybaras, hates caves, and is ambivalent about mushy bananas. She is the author of several award-winning nonfiction books, including Emmanuel’s Dream,  a picture book biography of Emmanuel Ofsu Yeboah, which was the recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award and was named an ALA Notable Book and a CCBC Choice, among other accolades. She lives outside Seattle with her family, and you can visit her online at





Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries

By Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

Published by Walden Pond Press, and Imprint of HarperCollins

ISBN: 978-0062418869

Publication Date: June 26, 2018

Unbelievable TRUTHS about outrageous people, places and events—with a few outright LIES hiding among them. Can you tell the fakes from the facts?

Did you know that a young girl once saved an entire beach community from a devastating tsunami thanks to something she learned in her fourth-grade geography lesson? Or that there is a person alive today who generates her own magnetic field? Or how about the fact that Benjamin Franklin once challenged the Royal Academy of Brussels to devise a way to make farts smell good?

Welcome to Two Truths and a Lie: Histories and Mysteries! You know the game: Every story in this book is strange and astounding, but one out of every three is an outright lie.

Can you guess which stories are the facts and which are the fakes? It’s not going to be easy. Some false stories are based on truth, and some of the true stories are just plain unbelievable! Don’t be fooled by the photos that accompany each story—it’s going to take all your smarts and some clever research to root out the alternative facts.

From a train that transported dead people to antique photos of real fairies to a dog who was elected mayor, the stories in this book will amaze you! Just don’t believe everything you read. . . .


6/19 Library Lions Roar
6/21 Roadmap to Reality: Helping Kids Find Their Way in a World of Fake News
6/21 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
6/21 Geo Librarian  
6/26 The Official Tumblr of Walden Media
6/26 Bluestocking Thinking
6/27 Unleashing Readers
6/27 Nerdy Book Club
6/28 The Book Monsters
6/29 Writers Rumpus
6/29 Pragmatic Mom


Now available in paperback:

Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!

By Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson

ISBN: 978-0062418814