Our local library (whilst we still have one)  organises a reading challenge every summer. This year the apprentices have embraced the experience with great enthusiasm – not least because they have created special reading places to which they retreat with a book, a cold drink and something yummy to eat. Needless to say, all these places are out of doors.

We’ve tried a tent kitted out with rugs and cushions and a lantern for evening reading sessions, Grandad’s campervan, the middle of the enormous bean wigwam we created and a sunflower den. But the favourite place by far is a hammock strung between two large trees in the shade. No we don’t have large trees and acres of space either – but we do have access to some fabulous communal spaces.

Hammocks. are relatively straightforward to make apparently- even for someone as needle and thread challenged as I am. We think the instructions here are easy to follow – or you could buy one custom made of course. This year we cheated and ‘borrowed’ one belonging to a friend but making our own is on my ‘To do’ list for the Winter months. Apart from the inevitable Harry Potter, Michael Morpurgo and football fact books here are the favourite hammock reads from our patch……….

Twelve books for children to read in a hammock in Summer

  • The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber
  • The Famous Five or Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton
  • Paddington Abroad by Michael Bond
  • The Midnight Fox by Betsy Byars
  • The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett
  • The Greengage Summer by Rumer Godden
  • Josie Smith in Summer by Magdalen Nabb
  • The Minnow on the Say by Phillipa Pearce
  • Swallows ans Amazons by Arthur Ransome
  • The Growing Summer by Noel Streatfeild
  • Charlotte’s Web by E B White

All suitable for confident readers aged  7-12. Some of these books were recommended by Jane Brocket in her highly entertaining aspirational book ‘Ripping Things To Do’. And some are our own personal favourites. Either way, it’s a great way to spend a few hours from time to time in the Summer hols; and if the rain comes down (or maybe when would be a better description?) you can always retreat indoors with your book and a mug of hot chocolate.

I wonder which books you’d recommend? One day I might have a garden in which  I can while away the hours in a hammock – instead of shifting tonnes of compost. Then again I quite like shifting compost.