(Natalya Balnova/For The Washington Post)

School involves a serious amount of reading. And some of that reading is serious. But in the summer, reading should be just about fun. That’s why we picked the theme “Laughing Matters” for this year’s KidsPost Summer Book Club.

We’re determined to put you in a good mood with funny fantasies about giants and unlikely heroes. We have stories of kids who move to new places and use humor to fit in. There’s a silly host of a reality-TV show, a prankster and a gamer who thinks he can outsmart his parents and his entire school. Even if you’re not a laugh-out-loud reader, you’ll have a hard time suppressing a smile with these stories.

We will explore the books further over the next eight Wednesdays. We’ll also suggest other humorous stories. Most of our eight selections are available in local public libraries. The titles also will be in stock at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington and at Hooray for Books in Alexandria. So crack open a book with us. Just for the fun of it.

(Book photos by Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)



By Roald Dahl. Ages 8 to 12.

When a large-eared giant kidnaps Sophie, the girl fears that he aims to eat her. But the Big Friendly Giant doesn’t want to harm her. The funny-talking BFG simply wants to keep her from telling other “human beans” about him. His neighbor giants, however, aren’t so nice. When Sophie learns that they regularly feast on people, she decides she and the BFG must stop them.


El Deafo

By Cece Bell. Ages 8 to 12.

Cece, a rabbit-girl, feels shy about her deafness. Then she discovers an amazing superpower: Her hearing device allows her to hear whatever the teacher says and does at school — even in the bathroom! Pretending to be the superhero El Deafo, Cece learns to deal with the situations that embarrass her — and become a real hero.



By Kim Baker. Ages 8 to 12.

Ben is a prank mastermind. After filling his sixth-grade classroom with ball-pit balls, he decides the school needs more amusing surprises. So Ben starts a club of secret pranksters named the League of Pickle Makers. It’s a great idea — until a wild prank threatens to expose them all and the group’s secrecy damages Ben’s friendship with Hector, the grandson of the school principal.


The Hero’s Guide

to Saving Your Kingdom

By Christopher Healy. Ages 8 to 12.

Forget about Prince Charming. The real heroes — the overlooked heroes — are Liam, Frederic, Duncan and Gustav, who saved damsels but ended up being kicked out of their castles. Now they have to step up and take on trolls, dragons and other nightmares that walk their fairy-tale kingdoms.


It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

By Firoozeh Dumas. Ages 10 to 13.

An Iranian girl named Zomorod is always switching schools because her father’s job moves him from one place to another. When the family arrives in Newport Beach, California, in the late 1970s, she decides to change her name to Cindy. That new name is just the beginning of her efforts to fit in. But life becomes difficult when Americans are taken hostage in Iran and Cindy’s classmates don’t know what to think of her.



By Carl Hiaasen. Ages 10 to 13.

Wahoo grew up around animals, but when his animal-wrangler dad is hired to work on a reality TV show called “Expedition Survival,” things get a little too wild. On location in the Florida Everglades, Wahoo befriends a girl named Tuna while his dad has to control a wacky star who plans to hunt a bat and eat it.


The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

By Uma Krishnaswami. Ages 8 to 12.

Dini loves movies. Especially Bollywood movies, which are made in India and feature larger-than-life action and wild songs and dances. When Dini moves from suburban Maryland to the tiny Indian town of Swapnagiri (its name means “Dream Mountain”), she finds her life becoming more and more like the stuff of her favorite films.



By Gordon Korman. Ages 8 to 13.

For Cameron Boxer, life is a game. A video game, that is. But when he nearly lets his house burn down because he’s focused on the screen, Cam is told he must “get involved.” The middle-schooler and his friends dream up a fake service club they hope will get Cam off the hook. But the club soon ends up with a very real mission.

(Family photo)
And the winner is. . .

Julia Brunetti is an example of persistence paying off. The 11-year-old from Garrett Park, Maryland, has entered the KidsPost Summer Book Club bookmark contest for three years. This year, she won over the judges with her colorful design and message about how laughter can connect kids from all over the world.

Julia, who is home-schooled, said she used the computer program Pixlr to create her artwork. The concept, she said, was adapted from her 2015 contest entry, which featured kids standing on a globe holding hands.

Once she had the idea, the design process was not lengthy. “It took about 20 minutes,” she said.

Julia said she enjoys reading funny books, especially Lincoln Peirce’s “Big Nate” series, and drawing her own comics.

KidsPost will send Julia a package of goodies and tickets to see “The Little Mermaid” at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland.


The Summer Book Club is open to kids ages 5 to 14. Members may read some or all of the books on our list. Beginning in July, everyone who is registered will receive a laminated copy of the bookmark at left designed by Julia Brunetti.

To join the club, kids must be registered by a parent or guardian. To register, that adult must fill out our form at kidspost.com (Click here for the form.) or send the child’s first and last names, age and address to KidsPost Summer Book Club, The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.