During the summer, I read whatever books I wanted. The summer I was 14, I walked across the street to our neighbor's yard sale with $25 in my pocket. I came home with empty pockets and a giant box of romance novels -- which, I proceeded to chain-read the rest of the summer.
Not once did my parents say, No, stop! You're not old enough for those books!
Last summer I read all the Harry Potter books for the first time. Today I am reading HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD. Summers have always meant books for me. And adventure.
We were of that generation of kids who lived outside all day and only came in when it started getting dark. We invented our own worlds -- my favorite and the most lasting was our version of "Egypt," mostly inspired by multiple viewings of the movie THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. We used trees as forts, the creek as a dividing line between lands, our ponies for transporting needed supplies like blankets and books and snacks, puddles with tadpoles in various stages as our gardens, and above all, we had each other.
Summers especially we pretty much lived a middle grade novel. When I remember my childhood it is always steamy and sunshiny and my skin is brown and dotted with mosquito bites and/or poison ivy. Maybe that's why none of my middle grade novels include school?!
I am so grateful!
Irene Latham is the award winning author of two novels for children LEAVING GEE'S BEND and DON'T FEED THE BOY. She also serves as poetry editor for Birmingham Arts Journal and has published three volumes of poetry for adults. Named the winner of the 2016 International Literary Association-Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, her current focus is on poetry for children. Titles include DEAR WANDERING WILDEBEEST, which was named an SCBWI Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor book, FRESH DELICIOUS: Poems from the Farmers' Market, and WHEN THE SUN SHINES ON ANTARCTICA. irenelatham.com