School’s Out For Summer

Today’s my kids’ last day of school, so summer is officially starting around our house. I love summer – the hot weather, the vacations, the feeling of “freedom” that I experience vicariously through my kids.

When I think of the summers when I was growing up in California, I remember spending days at the beach and the pool; walking to the library every few days to check out seven books (that was the limit for kids); and long hot afternoons sitting under our peach tree, lost in novels.

The last day of school was always bittersweet for me, though. I was one of those nerds who loved school. So while I enjoyed the sunshine and the endless time for reading and playing, I always looked forward to September.

These days it’s the same. I savor the summer and I’ll cherish camping, fishing and vacationing with my family. But with summer comes a much more difficult balancing act between work and play. So I look forward to August when my kids will go back to school.

What does summer mean to you? What have you got going in the next few months? Tell us all about it.

Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent

Rachelle Gardner

Literary agent at Gardner Literary. Coffee & wine enthusiast (not at the same time) and dark chocolate connoisseur. I've worked in publishing since 1995 and I love talking about books!


  1. iheartya on May 30, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    >In graduate school, one of my professors outlined a very specific summer plan, and it's one that I still like to follow:

    1. Write like crazy–creat your "Fall Offensive" (As a short story writer, submitting during the summer is ridiculous as most of the decent journals are run my overworked graduate students. Therefore, submissions are usually not accepted in the summer, so it's okay to focus on just writing).
    2. Edit like crazy
    3. Create a reading list and stick to it. Choose at least ONE difficult book that you've been meaning to read for quite some time.

    My own additions:
    1. Eat lots of popsicles.
    2. Bbq ALL the time.
    3. Enjoy the sun (with sunblock!)
    4. Hang out with friends and family as much as possible!

    –Sarah Joy– πŸ˜‰

  2. Anonymous on May 29, 2010 at 3:16 AM

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  3. patriciazell on May 22, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    >I'm going to write the final blog posts for my book, write my book proposal, and query some agents. Also, I am going to work on my curriculum with my principal (it needs updating) and get ready for school next August. I will hang with my family–we're expecting grandchild #9 in July and #10 in November. (#8 was born in April–3 grandkids in one year–cool!) And, somewhere is the midst of all that, I am going to take some time off and just chill!

  4. Kathryn Magendie on May 22, 2010 at 8:47 AM

    >Now your post title has me thinking of Alice Cooper! *laughing* (I guess that ages me!)

    I can't wait for the wild blackberries here in our mountain cove -there's so many of them and I make blackberry cobbler or put them on my yogurt or cereal!

    I also go to downtown Waynesville, on main street, and eat gelato, or to the "Big City" of Asheville and stroll downtown and eat at Tupelo Honey.

  5. Anonymous on May 21, 2010 at 11:18 PM

    >I was fortunate as a child to have the "Bookmobile" pull into my neighborhood once a week. One of the first books I pulled off the shelf that didn't come from the kiddie section was Dicken's Tale of Two Cities and the classic Sci-Fi "Invisible Man."

    I was hoping to leave Alaska this summer for a trip to the Lower 48, but I have some family members who are really itching to come up and catch some big salmon. Am I going to be selfish, or practice Christian hospitality instead? Yet to be determined.

  6. KC Frantzen on May 21, 2010 at 9:25 PM

    >Y'all are giving me great ideas! Yay on Galveston Outfitters. My Dad's family grew up in Hitchcock and one uncle was BOI. πŸ™‚

    Me? Being with my family at a cabin in CO and working with a writing coach to whip the WIP into shape. Very exciting!

    Have a great one everybody!!!

    KC Frantzen

  7. Jill Kemerer on May 21, 2010 at 8:25 PM

    >This slice of your past summers made me smile. I used to walk to the library and come home with a stack of books too. Well, I still do!

    Summer to me means meandering around the zoo, strolling by the river, lazing at the beach, and anticipating back-to-school supplies in August.

    Hope you have a wonderful kick-off to your summer!

  8. Ladonna on May 21, 2010 at 5:13 PM

    >Well, I think of ice cream sandwiches, blueberries, cherries, and strawberries. As a kid growing up in Canada, I would ride my bike around the neighborhood, then in later years my summers were filled with track meets all over the world. Now, that I have kids summer has a new meaning. Play dates, taking a drive up to Malibu, going to museums, swimming, and hanging out with good friends. The summer for me: no schedule. I love that.

  9. mary bailey on May 21, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    >Reading about everyone's summer plans is fun!

    School's out for us next week. For the first time in several years we will not be taking a big vacation. I didn't save up the cash and I refuse to use credit! We did join a swimming pool so we will likely be there every day. I'm planning lots of reading, playing and day trips!

  10. Mary Anne Graham on May 21, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    >My schedule this summer – like me -is backwards. During the school year, my eldest is away at college and Mom leaves the office at 2:30 to pick up the youngest at middle school. Mom then goes home and logs into work to finish the rest of the day.

    This summer, the eldest is home and watching the youngest. So Mom works a full day at the office.

    Sigh — Wouldn't it be nice if just one year parents stayed home and sent the kids to work!!!

  11. Terri Tiffany on May 21, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    >I live in Florida so it seems like summer all the time–but we do like to pack up our lunch and head to the beach for the day with a book:) I'm so white!

  12. ParisBreakfasts on May 21, 2010 at 1:56 PM

    >Interesting play on publishing and the slushpile at the BBC
    Called 'Cinders"

  13. Daniel Smith on May 21, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    >My day job is a high school teacher so I have mixed feelings as well. My girls are 22 and 8 months so this should be an exciting time to spend with them. But I will miss school in part. It can be bittersweet like you say.

    It reminds me most of the cycle of life and death and the seasons. Sunshine and Rain, Heat and Frost are all necessary. We wouldn't know how great the summer is without experiencing the rages of winter. I take comfort in knowing this is how God set it up and He always has our best in mind.

  14. watching the game on May 21, 2010 at 1:20 PM

    >I was a nerd just like you! While all the other kids on the bus screamed "No more pencils, no more books, no more teachers' dirty looks," I would press my face against the window and feel sad. My teacher had never given me a dirty look, and I regretted leaving her classroom behind. Now I love the unhurried days of summer, my kids coming home, and the illusion that time itself doesn't exist.

  15. Erica Vetsch on May 21, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    >*More time to take day trips to museums.

  16. Erica Vetsch on May 21, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    >I'm looking forward to some unstructured time with my kids. The last hurrah summer while I still have my eldest at home before she ventures off to college in the fall. Moe time to take day trips to museums.

  17. Care on May 21, 2010 at 12:58 PM

    >Flea markets, garage sales and antique shops. Maybe a few treasures found.
    Free vitamin D for us who live up North.
    A Barbie fishing pole for afternoons fishing with my granddaughter.
    A lot of Lego builds with my grandson…
    and hopefully a new pet to love… woof.:)

  18. Beth on May 21, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    >Summer means I have an extra set of hands (my hubby's a teacher), so I can get more writing done! πŸ™‚ Have a wonderful summer with your kids!

  19. Sandra Heska King on May 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    >Slowing down.

    New grandgirl. New great-nephew. Both due any moment.

    Farmers' markets.

    Alpenfest. Free pancakes under the pavilion. Free concerts.

    Baseball. Long walks in the cemetery. Lightning bugs. Flowers. Thunderstorms. Mosquitoes. Rocking on the porch.

    Reading. Writing.

  20. wonderer on May 21, 2010 at 11:23 AM

    >I'm working most of the summer…this time of year I wish I were a teacher! (Of course I don't envy how hard they work when school's in session.)

    That said, patio season has just arrived here. I'm looking forward to being outdoors a lot. Most of that will be in the city, but my critique group is renting a cottage on a lake as usual. We go up for a week with our laptops and no Internet – can't wait!

  21. Bittersweet Fountain on May 21, 2010 at 11:20 AM

    >After a year of nose to the grindstone in engineering grad school, summer means internship – which is actually way more of a break than it might seem. I work my nine hour day and then I go home to write and read – without feeling guilty! At school I always know there is some homework I should be doing, research I should be completing, or papers I should be grading. It's so nice to actually have time to myself!

  22. Michelle Miller on May 21, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    >I LOVE it when my kids are out of school for the summer. No more carpools, no more spelling lists, no more orchestra practice or homework projects or… Well, I could go on. I love having them around, particularly since the oldest is off to college in the fall. I love that they have more time to help around the house, and now that the oldest all have driver's licenses and can drive the younger to activities and friends' houses. I am so much more free in the summer! The only bad thing is finding a quiet place to write!

    Oh, and as far as our plans go: anything cheap! Still need to come up with that 'expected family contribution' for college.

  23. Arabella on May 21, 2010 at 10:44 AM

    >After homeschooling is over for the summer, I plan on working on my WIP full time.

    Other things: Hopefully, Pikes Peak Feis (Irish dance competition in CO), building a house, and maybe a camping trip, all with netbook in my hand to work on WIP.

  24. T. Anne on May 21, 2010 at 10:25 AM

    >Hi Rachelle! Summer starts for us June 4th and I cannot wait. I'll be spending lots of time by the pool, the beach, taking the RV out, and my daughter is in the library reading program so that means time in the stacks for me as well.

    When I was a pre-teen my friends and I would trade YA books their mothers would by at the grocery store. I don't recall having a limit at my library, but I remember exhausting my favorite author selections. I loved those years!

  25. cara on May 21, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    >I had just written a blog about how I love summer. Feel free to read.

  26. Cheryl Barker on May 21, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    >My summer will be filled with all things wedding. My youngest daughter is getting married! Exciting days ahead! πŸ™‚

  27. Nancy Naigle on May 21, 2010 at 9:39 AM

    >Lightning bugs, watermelon (followed by the mandatory seed fight!), smores, a good beach read, cookout, and naked feet — ahhh, yes I do love summer.

    I'm in Virginia, so summer also means big hair. Oh yeah, the humidity will do that to a girl.

    Hugs and happy summer wishes~
    Nancy Naigle
    Love stories from the crossroad of small town and suspense.

  28. Shannon Taylor Vannatter on May 21, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    >Last deadline in my series June 1st. School's out June 4th. I think God worked that out for me. Then I'll put my nose to the grindstone and get busy with the next proposal for my next series. First book already written, so I'll ease up over the summer. Spend my days swimming with my son, and get cracking come August.

  29. Heather on May 21, 2010 at 9:28 AM

    >Well, I guess the rest of the world is ready for summerβ€”for me in the UP of Michigan, spring just started! :0) The days are gorgeous, with 70 degree weather. I'm looking forward to day trips with my husband (we're both new to the area so there's lots to explore!), grilling, hiking, biking to the library, playing softball on an office team, and lazing on the beach. I'm also hoping to finish editing my novel and send it in to publishers.

  30. Amy Sorrells on May 21, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    >Summer = no schedule. Vacation. Toes in the grass. Boys on the move. Wine by the pool. Fish in the pond. Lemonade stands. Juicy peaches. Farmer's Market. Homemade salsa with herbs tended by my boys. Summer = TIME.

  31. on May 21, 2010 at 9:10 AM

    >I look forward to summer because we own a store in Galveston, Texas, and our business, Galveston Outfitters, is largely tourist-based. I'm really looking forward to this summer, though, because we have a new business and are no longer right on the beach so we might have a more normal schedule–which means more family time.

    I'm also looking forward to finishing and polishing my current book and starting on the next one. It looks to be a great summer!

  32. ~Brenda on May 21, 2010 at 9:09 AM

    >Nothing better than Colorado summers … once they actually get here!

    I love soaking in the sun, baseball games (my son's and Rockies), hour upon hour of reading awesome novels, and I love not constantly fighting to stay warm.


  33. MJR on May 21, 2010 at 9:08 AM

    >I hope to focus on writing–my goal is to finish my novel by the end of the summer, but I also look forward to enjoying my temporarily full nest, gardening, hiking, and a week at the ocean…

  34. Danielle La Paglia on May 21, 2010 at 8:45 AM

    >So Cal summers mean lots of sunshine and beach trips. We'll be camping and even taking (yet another) trip to Disneyland this year. It does make it harder to find that blessed quiet time to write, though.

  35. kathy taylor on May 21, 2010 at 8:21 AM

    >We the girls of my dorm are having a reunion in Charleston. Then I'll be studying with Connie May Fowler, one of my favorite authors and a fellow Floridian.

  36. Beth on May 21, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    >Summer means Bible Camp, a little break from home schooling, and more time to write than I normally have.

  37. Jessica Maybury on May 21, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    >I've just gotten out of 5 straight years of college after 12 straight years of school, but I still feel a little disconnected in the summer time. I loved school and college too, but for me as a child, summer was with my grandparents in a caravan in Arklow with my 2 first cousins David and Steven. Magical times.

  38. Rachel on May 21, 2010 at 8:01 AM

    >I'm going to swim (and by that, I mean lounge by the pool), watch movies with my kids, glut myself on novels, and write more. I homeschool, so summer is Buelah Land for me.

  39. Heidiopia on May 21, 2010 at 7:44 AM

    >Today is our last day of school and I, for one, am looking forward to the easing of the schedule (I have 5 kids ages 23-11). I have promised myself to do three things everyday this summer: train (for a half-marathon in the fall), write, and READ. My greatest luxury is uninterrupted time with a good book. My kids are old enough now to afford me some of that every day. Wish me luck! And Happy Summertime. πŸ™‚

  40. Heather Sunseri on May 21, 2010 at 7:30 AM

    >We've begun the countdown, but we're not out until June 3. I'm definitely excited for warmer weather. I like to spend lazy days by the pool and evenings grilling. This year I'm taking my daughter on her first mission trip, and I'm going on a separate mission trip by myself.

  41. Erika on May 21, 2010 at 7:27 AM

    >Such fun to read about everyone's adventures and excitements ahead (and thought with you, Krista, as you look forward to your new joy).

    My husband is a teacher so our girls and I are SO lucky to get to have his company all summer–it's such a gift. We will be here in NC then up in Maine with my family and old, dear friends.

    In between, I'll be working on edits and digging back in to book number two…

    Happy summer to everyone!

  42. Krista Phillips on May 21, 2010 at 6:50 AM

    >Summer means–kids go to g-ma and g-pa's house for 2 weeks to give Mom and Dad a much needed break (although I miss them like crazy!)

    This year, summer also brings a new baby to our house so that is exciting and a bit scary all at the same time. I suspect that I'll be spending the second part of summer in the hospital with her (she has a heart condition) so summer is looming ahead of me just a little bit this year. But, I'm still looking forward to seeing my baby girl!!! AND looking forward to not being prego anymore! Swollen feet (in the summer not doubt) is NOT something I'm anticipating.

    Hello air conditioning:-)

  43. Katy McKenna on May 21, 2010 at 6:41 AM

    >I was a lucky child who could check out EIGHT books at a time from the public library. Unfortunately, we lived 16 blocks each way from that great storehouse of summer pleasure, and until I was 12, we did not have a car. But did THAT stop me? At the end of the summer, every kid who had library records showing they'd read 40 books got a prize. I read forty books each MONTH. My poor Mom, pushing the baby pram with the middle kid staggering along beside and me hoisting my 8 books at a time! Great memories!

    This summer will be given over in every way to the expectation of and preparation for our FIRST grandchild, a baby boy due on August 31. My darling daughter is due home for a visit (and baby shower) on June 3, CAN'T WAIT.

  44. MissV on May 21, 2010 at 6:37 AM

    >Summer means my hands and feet finally thaw!

    It also means tornado warnings (I'm a big fat chicken with bad weather).

    Summer goes by so fast these days, I almost wish I were a teacher so I would have summers off and could hang out with the kids and ENJOY it!

  45. Wendy Paine Miller on May 21, 2010 at 6:22 AM

    >Yowzer…you guys get out early. My girls have another 3 or 4 weeks. I haven't even begun the countdown yet.

    I'd stay in school for the rest of my life if I could afford the time and finances.

    We are headed to lakes in Ohio and NC to visit family and we'll go camping in Maine. I'm pumped to have my netbook now to bring my WIP (well, maybe not when we're camping). No more fear of losing momentum.

    Happy Summer,

  46. shawn smucker on May 21, 2010 at 6:13 AM

    >The air was cooler in the shadows, and we'd find a spot along the bank where we could cast in our lines and then lean back against a tree, reading. I lost many a worm, more concerned about the adventures of the Sugar Creek Gang than any carp.

    My family and I have moved back to this place after 15 years away. This is my first summer back in the country. My kids keep begging me to take them to those shadowy spots along the creek, where I grew up.

  47. Catherine West on May 21, 2010 at 6:12 AM

    >I love summer!! I always hated school, so longed for the end of it! We always had a family vacation planned, but outside of that I was at the beach, swimming, sailing, going to summer camp, it was paradise. My kids have pretty much grown up with the same experience. We purchased property on a lake in Northern Ontario when my eldest was just entering high school, so we've had the benefits of both island and lake summers. I love my time up north and can't wait to get up there again. As much as I love the ocean, the heat of August is pretty brutal down here. My kids are doing there own thing this year, which is weird, but I'll get a lot of writing time in!

  48. Katie Ganshert on May 21, 2010 at 6:09 AM

    >I'm so jealous! We have one more week left. Summer is my favorite part of being a teacher. HA! (Okay, the kids are okay too). No, seriously, I love summer. I love not worrying about grading papers and staying home with my son and writing when he naps. I have so much more free time in the summer and I absolutely love it. We've got no plans, which makes me happy. I'm not much for plans.

  49. Lydia Sharp on May 21, 2010 at 6:02 AM

    >When I was a kid I lived my summers at the local library and the public pool. As an adult, I wish I had that freedom.
    But living right next to the public high school and the library now, I still get that "Yay, summer's here!" mentality when the weather warms. And by late August, when I can see and hear the football drills, I feel that back-to-school enticement again.
    I honestly don't think I'll ever tire of it.

  50. Cecelia Dowdy on May 21, 2010 at 6:00 AM

    >Our son will be graduating from his preschool/day care and starting kindergarten in late August! He's growing up and we've heard that things get kind of hectic once your child starts "regular" school! We'll see about that! πŸ™‚

  51. Adventures in Children's Publishing on May 21, 2010 at 5:47 AM

    >Rachelle, I'm jealous! Out in the DC area, we have school until the third week of June. As an elementary teacher, you can pretty much guess what summer means to me. I can't wait to have much more time for delving into writing, reading, researching, and so on. I agree with you- I was a nerd in school and couldn't deny I was sad to see school go on the last day.

    At the school where I currently work, we go outside at the end of the day on the last day and wave off the kids on the buses. Watching the range of emotions on the kids' faces is priceless. Some are giddy, while others are hysterically crying. Regardless, summer is something I think we all look forward to!


  52. Creepy Query Girl on May 21, 2010 at 5:00 AM

    >I work with the school system in France so I'll have three months off- one of which my kids will be back in schol (they start in September but I don't go back to work until October) We're planning on going camping in the sound of France (we live near paris) and visiting some family. But mostly I look forward to long afternoons in the garden, sprinklers, kiddie pools and lots of reading and writing!

  53. Amie McCracken on May 21, 2010 at 4:04 AM

    >It's all up in the air right now. Lots of traveling since it's our first year in Germany. Trying to plan a trip for memorial day weekend this moment! In November we're headed back to the states for a few weeks, but before that who knows.

  54. Keli Gwyn on May 21, 2010 at 2:47 AM

    >I'll be enjoying a California summer with abundant sunshine, plenty of sweet tea, and more time than usual with my teacher hubby, who gets two months of vacation. What I won't have is as much time with our one and only as I'd expected. After her first year of college, I was anticipating having her home again. She had other plans. Her summer job is in her college town. While I'm happy to see her embrace her independence, I'll miss her.

    I'm also looking forward to getting my first taste of the East Coast when I travel to Orlando to attend the Romance Writers of America National conference the last week of July. There's nothing quite like being surrounded by 2,000 others who share my passion for writing romance.