Scary, Sporty and Oddball Stories Your Child Will Love

Great book ideas to keep your child's mind entertained this summer vacation.

ByABC News via logo
February 11, 2009, 8:59 PM

June 26, 2008 -- After a long school year full of homework, school has now officially given way to summer vacation.

But for parents who don't want their children's minds to melt over the hot summer holiday, "Good Morning America" tips you off to books your children will love.

First, you've got to get your child interested in reading. Try gathering a group of age-appropriate books on subjects your children like. From that assortment, let them choose which books to read.

To help you in your quest for the perfect summer read, here are some of the most popular themes in kids books that are aimed at younger readers, ages 8-12, and young adult readers, ages 12-17.

For Younger Readers:

Goosebumps HorrorLand #3: Monster Blood for Breakfast By R.L. Stine (Scholastic)

You probably remember the "Goosebumps" series, which sold more than 300 million copies about a decade ago. Well, a new spine-tingling series is back, featuring strange and terrifying goings-on at a theme park, billed as the "scariest place on earth." This is the ultimate page-turner for middle-school scare-addicts.

For Young Adult Readers:

Generation DeadBy Daniel Waters (Hyperion Books*)

The premise of this book is that American teenagers who die come back to life, but they're not the same. They attend school, but they stutter, move slowly and are pale. They're considered "living impaired" or "differently biotic," and they are shunned by the living ... except for Phoebe, a goth girl who develops a crush on Tommy, who is strong, silent -- and dead. So the slightly creepy setup is set off by lots of humor and attention to themes likes cliques and crushes, which all preteens and teens will relate to.

Suck It UpBy Brian Meehl (Delacorte)

It's a very funny novel about a young vampire, Morning McCobb, a graduate of the I.V. (international vampire) league who is given the responsibility of bringing vampires out of the closet, or the casket, so to speak. He drinks a soy-blood substitute, dreams of a vampire pride parade and epitomizes the geek/outcast/hero to highly comical effect.

For Younger Kids

Six InningsBy James Preller (MacMillan)

Although this is a book about two Little League teams playing six innings of the biggest game of their lives, it goes beyond fastballs and double plays to the lives of the players in a way that even a nonbaseball-loving 9-year-old girl will love. It's about friendship and family and life, and is reminiscent of Judy Blume novels.

Swindle By Gordan Korman (Scholastic)

Griffin Bligh sold his most valuable baseball card to a con artist named Swindle. Now Griffin gets a band of misfits to try their best to retrieve the card. Will they recapture what's theirs?

For Young Adults

Saturday Night: A Motor NovelBy Will Weaver (Farrar, Starus and Giroux)

If you have a young car-racing fan in your family, this book is the perfect summer reading choice: It's a face-paced story about a struggling speedway in northern Michigan and features a great cast of characters, all car-obsessed teens. Great for boys and girls.

Football HeroBy Tim Green (HarperCollins)

Tim was once a member of the "GMA" family and is now a full-time young adult novelist. This is the moving triumph-over-tragedy story of a 12-year-old orphan, Ty Lewis, whose chance to play for the football team is thwarted by his tyrannical uncle. He winds up involved in a gambling scheme that has ties to the mob and holds the potential for a very tense outcome.

For Very Young Readers

Cool Zone With the Pain and the Great One By Judy Blume (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers)

Seven new stories center on spunky siblings Jake (aka the "Pain") and Abigail (aka the "Great One"). From Jake's refusing to get a haircut (afraid his ears might get cut off) to Abigail learning to overcome her fears by riding a bicycle, this comical book will have you and your child in stitches.

For Young Readers:

The Calder Game By Blue Balliett (Scholastic)

When Calder Pillay traveled to England, he didn't expect to disappear. But that's exactly what happened, with a mystery that involves garden mazes and a strange sculpture. An imaginative mystery adventure story that weaves together art, philosophy and great storytelling.

*Hyperion Books is a part of the Walt Disney Company, parent company of ABC News.