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Summer Reads

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Chase away those summertime blues with our selection of must-read books.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Book 2)

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A deadly monster is prowling the halls of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. During his second year there, Harry again confronts evil when students are turned to stone and his best friend's little sister disappears. Though she follows the formula of the first book, Rowling keeps readers caught in her magic spell with twists, turns, and nonstop excitement.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Book 4)

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Though too young at 14, wizard-in-training Harry Potter is mysteriously entered in the dangerous Triwizard Tournament. The long-awaited fourth installment in this historic series justifies every bit of the hype. Despite the book's length, the battle between Harry and his nemesis, the evil Lord Voldemort, keeps readers excitedly plowing on for hours through thrills, complex issues, and a richly imaginative vision.

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Book Review: To Kill a Mockingbird

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Growing up in a small Southern town, Jem and Scout Finch think they know their family and neighbors. There's Boo Radley, the neighborhood recluse, whom the children attempt to lure out of hiding. Cranky old Mrs. Dubose is secretly addicted to morphine. Their odd playmate, Dill Harris, comes to stay with his aunt next door each summer. And then there's Atticus, their father, and their hero.

At first barely penetrating their world of treehouses and elaborate reenactments of pulp novels are rumors of a black man accused of raping a white woman. In 1930s Alabama, her accusation all but proves his guilt. Yet lawyer Atticus questions the charge and defends the accused man in a town steeped in prejudice. Through the eyes of the children, as they try to understand the reactions of the townspeople and make sense of the crumbling world around them, the irrationality of racism is laid bare.

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More About books, classics, reviews

Book Review: Peter Pan

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One night Peter Pan flies through the window of the Darling nursery in search of his shadow. There he meets Wendy, Michael, and John, teaches them to fly, and leads them to the home of the Lost Boys in Neverland.

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Book Review: The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, Book 1)

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Enter a parallel world, dark and cold, with daemons, boat-dwelling gypsies, armored bears, and a street child with a strange destiny. As this feisty little heroine battles the Gobblers, who separate children from their souls, and follows a mystical device to a universe-altering confrontation in the Arctic, your teens will be gripping this book with white knuckles long past lights-out.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Book 3)

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One of Voldemort's henchmen has escaped from prison and is out to kill Harry. The soul-sucking Dementors, guards from the prison, are dispatched to protect him, but Harry finds that whenever one comes near he can hear his mother dying. This third entry in the series is scarier and more intense than book two -- and even more exciting.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Book 1)

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Harry's magical parents were killed by the evil wizard Voldemort when he was just a baby. Miraculously, he survives with only a lightning-bolt scar as a mysterious reminder. Harry is taken to live with his nasty relatives -- muggles, or non-wizards -- who hide the truth about his parents. Ten miserable years later, he gets a visit from a genial half-giant named Hagrid with an invitation to study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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Ten Books Your Child Should Read By Age 10

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Two experts on children's literature share their thoughts on some of the best-known books for kids.

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