Gone Campin'! — Book Recommendations

By: Shanleigh Klassen

Ahh, summer. A time to relax, to read, and if you’re anything like the protagonists in these six book recommendations, attend a summer camp.

Though these can range from day camps at the community center around the corner to a sleepaway camp many miles away from home, each one of these stories allows their campers to experience new situations, face personal challenges, and maybe learn a bit more about themselves and the world around them while they’re at it.

Read on for some great camp stories, and be sure you sign up for our June 2022 CAMPFIRE STORIES for another great story all about friendship and finding yourself.

**Curious to know what book we’re featuring next month? Check out our spoiler page HERE, but beware! SPOILER ALERT!**

Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August
Book cover for Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John august. Image shows the silhouette of a child on a field of yellow grass approaching a pentagram-like portal, depicting a tree engulfed in flame, with a mountainous landscape in the far distance. At the base of the burning tree is an ominous figure with two horns and bright yellow eyes.

This previous OwlCrate Jr pick is the beginning of an incredible adventure series starring magical forest rangers. When Arlo’s family moves to small-town Pine Mountain, Colorado, he joins up with the Rangers thinking he’ll learn some basic wilderness skills, like camping. But Arlo soon learns there’s more to this small town than meets the eye. Along with his two new friends, Arlo begins mastering the Ranger basics by harnessing the wild magic that seeps in from the mysterious Long Woods, a parallel realm of wonder and danger. But then a dark and ancient force starts threatening the world, and whatever it is, it has its sights set on Arlo...


Stand Up, Yumi Chung! by Jessica Kim
Book cover for Stand Up, Yumi Chung by Jessica Kim. A young Korean child with shoulder-length black hair and bangs wears a blue tshirt. The child is holding a microphone in one hand and stands in front of a red curtain with a spotlight pointed on them.

Although shy on the outside, Yumi is a stand-up comedian on the inside. She takes snippets from her slightly mortifying life and rewrites them into her Super-Secret Comedy Notebook as comedy gold. So when Yumi accidentally stumbles onto an opportunity to attend a comedy camp for kids taught by her idol, she leans into it. Yumi's life soon spirals out of control between helping out with her family’s Korean barbecue restaurant, going to summer school to qualify for a private school scholarship, and maintaining her fake identity. Yumi will have to stand up for herself and tell the truth, or risk disappointing everyone she cares about.


One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Book cover for One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Three young Black children walk in a line from tallest to shortest across a stylized orange city street. In the four corners of the image are different award medals.

In the summer of 1968, Delphine and her two younger sisters travel from Brooklyn to Oakland, California to spend a month with the mother they barely know. When they’re met with a cold welcome, they quickly learn that their mother has become a dedicated poet and printer for the Black Panthers and is bitter over their intrusion into her home. To keep them out of her hair, she sends Delphine and her sisters to a nearby Black Panther summer camp where they begin to see how different a life their mother leads and what it is she and the Black Panthers are fighting for.


Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
Book cover for Connect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague. The silhouettes of two children sit back-to-back against a sunset in a desert landscape. Each child holds a flashlight, pointing up towards the starry night sky.

Following a string of difficulties at their separate schools, Aaron and Audrey are convinced they just don’t have what it takes to make friends. So when their families send them to a desert wilderness camp along with a group of other misfits, they think this summer will be like all the rest. But as they hike a 200-mile route known as the Journey to Confidence, Aaron and Audrey learn to lean on and trust the other enough that they start to feel whole. Along with their fellow campers (who each have their own complexities to grapple with), Aaron and Audrey learn that adventure and friendship are not just things other people have, but something they too can experience.


Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
Book cover for Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol. A young girl with glasses and black hair pulled into a ponytail, stands in the middle of a forest wearing a scout uniform. The child also has a red backpack on their back and is bent forward to lug a brown, overflowing duffle bag. Behind the child, there is a line of other scouts marching after their troupe leader. To the left of the main child is a blonde boy leaning against a tree, smirking at the three last girls in the line.

All Vera wants to do is fit in, but that’s not easy for a Russian girl in the suburbs. Her friends live in fancy houses and their parents can afford to send them to the best summer camps. Vera’s single mother can’t afford that sort of luxury, but there's one summer camp in her price range — Russian summer camp. Vera is sure she's found the one place she can fit in, but camp is far from what she imagined. And nothing could prepare her for the girl drama, endless Russian history lessons, and outhouses straight out of nightmares. Against the various odds, Vera starts to learn how to navigate the daunting world of impending teenagehood and friendship with humor and optimism. A graphic novel for the 10-14 crowd. 


Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy
Book cover for Silver Meadows Summer by Emma Otheguy. A young Puerto Rican child sits on the edge of a blue pond, filled with lilypads, ferns, and orange fish. Reflected in the surface of the pond is a towering house.

When Carolina’s Papi loses his job, she and her family move from Puerto Rico to upstate New York. Soon after, she and her brother are sent to Silver Meadows camp with their bossy and popular older cousin Gabriela. At camp, Carolina meets Jennifer and the two discover a long-abandoned cottage in the woods. Together, they turn the cottage into an artists’ colony where Carolina begins to reclaim the parts of her life she loved in Puerto Rico. But with the possible closure of the summer camp looming overhead, Carolina comes up with a plan to save it all.


Subscribe for the June CAMPFIRE STORIES box now and use code JRBLOG15 to save 15% off any new subscription purchase.

Click HERE to subscribe to OwlCrate Jr now!