Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Parent & Afterschool Resources

ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.



HomeParent & Afterschool ResourcesPodcast Episodes

Podcast Podcast

Episode 35 — Summer Magic


E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

Listen Now

Grades K – 5
Podcast Series Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers
See all episodes in this series

iTunes Subscription
Duration 11:44
Original Air Date Published June 08, 2011

Music in this podcast is provided by Freeplay Music.


Book Chat

Expert Chat


Book Chat

Any Which WallAny Which Wall
Author: Laurel Snyder
Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
Publisher: Yearling, 2009




The summer seems like any other summer but on a bike ride one day into a cornfield, Roy, Henry, Susan, and Emma find a wall, a wall that looks really out of place. As they study the wall, they find a key and then a keyhole in the wall in which the key fits perfectly. After some frustrating wishing, the kids realize that the wall doesn’t make any wish come true; it will only take them to places where there is a wall. The magic wall can turn into any wall that they wish for. And once they realize that, the wishing is on. Each gets to make a wish to a different place, and each wish turns out a little differently than they had imagined. After they have all made one wish, the magic wall has to go somewhere else. So all the kids are left with is a magical summer with many magical memories and the knowledge that if they only keep their eyes open magic can be just around the corner.


Book coverPenny Dreadful
Author: Laurel Snyder
Illustrator: Abigail Halpin
Publisher: Random House, 2010




Penelope Geraldine Grey has everything a girl could want except the one thing she really wants: friends (and maybe an adventure or two). Penelope decides to make a wish: she wishes something interesting would happen when she least expects it, just like in a book. And her wish does come true—only not the way that she imagined: Her father quits his job. Now all of a sudden, her family is in dire straits.
So she makes her second wish: she wishes that something would happen to just make everything better right away. And something does happen; her mother inherits a house from her aunt Betty, a house that’s all the way in Tennessee. So that’s where her family goes. Just when things are looking up, Penny’s family finds out that Aunt Betty left them a lot of debt and if they don’t find a way to pay it, then they will lose the house.
Penny makes one last wish: to find something that will help her fix the problem. She just knows that if she can find the hidden treasure of the mountains then everything will be fixed, but what Penny discovers is that while a treasure is great, and the stories in books are great, what is the best are the ups and downs in life especially when you have friends and family by your side to help you along the way.


book coverBigger Than a Bread Box
Author: Laurel Snyder
Publisher: Random House, 2011





Rebecca’s parents are in trouble—heading for divorce trouble. Rebecca’s mom decides to load up Rebecca and her little brother Lew and leave Baltimore to live with her Gran in Atlanta in order to try to sort things out. It is in Atlanta that the bread box enters Rebecca's life. Rebecca found the magical bread box up in her Gran’s attic and she discovers that whatever she wishes for, as long as it can fit inside a bread box, will be. Rebecca uses the bread box to wish for things that will help her fit into her new school—candy, the "right" kind of jeans, an iPod, a cell phone. The one thing that she can’t make the bread box understand is how to give her something that will get her parents back together. And then something even worse happens. Rebecca realizes that everything she’s been wishing for isn’t magically appearing; it’s being taken from other people and other places. Rebecca tries to right the wrongs and in her efforts maybe helps her parents find a way to talk to one another.

Expert Chat

Join Laurel Snyder and Emily as they discuss Laurel’s newest book Bigger Than a Bread Box. Learn how Laurel came up with the idea of the magical bread box, hear her talk about how Rebecca deals with some of the difficult situations in the book, and find out what Laurel would wish for if she had a magical bread box.