Jul 16, 2013 by Norene Wiesen

kids’ summer reading list Are your kids making progress with their summer reading list? Are they having fun with it? The following books are highly recommended to kids who are still looking for a compelling recreational read.

Pre-K – Kindergarten

Wolf’s Coming (Joe Kulka)

Wolf is coming and all the forest animals go into hiding. But things are not what they seem, and there’s a surprise ending that kids love.

One (Kathryn Otoshi)

Red picks on Blue, but Orange, Green, and Purple are afraid to stand up for their friend. Then One comes along and shows all the colors how to band together against a bully.

If I Built a House (Chris Van Dusen)

A young boy designs a marvelously imaginative dream house for himself and his family in this beautifully illustrated picture book.

Early Grades

Galaxy Zack Hello, Nebulon!(Ray O'Ryan and Colin Jack )

When Zack moves from Earth to Nebulon, he’s sad about leaving his best friend behind and nervous about starting a new school. It turns out that Sprockets Academy isn’t as bad as he’d expected, but there’s still a lot he has to get used to on Nebulon.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa (Erica Silverman)

Set on a cattle-ranch, this chapter book for beginning readers tells four stories of the friendship between Cowgirl Kate and her talking horse-friend, Cocoa.

Roscoe Riley Rules #1: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs (Katherine Applegate)

Roscoe means well when he tries using superglue to solve a problem and save his class’ performance at the school open house, but things don’t turn out quite the way he planned.

Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown: Lunch Lady #4 (Jarrett J. Krosoczka)

When Lunch Lady and the Breakfast Bunch gear up for fun at Camp Fun Times, what could possibly go wrong? Well, there’s the legendary swamp monster, for one thing. Fortunately, the Breakfast Bunch has a track record of helping Lunch Lady defeat the bad guys—with the aid of cool cafeteria-tech like Taco-vision night goggles, of course.

Middle Grades

One Crazy Summer (Rita Williams-Garcia)

Three sisters are sent by their father from New York to California to spend a month with the mother who abandoned them. A bittersweet tale set in urban Oakland in 1968 during a turbulent moment in history.

The One and Only Ivan (Katherine Applegate)

Ivan the gorilla, who lives in at the local mall, tells the story of his captivity. This book appears on many “Best of” lists for 2012.

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin (Liesl Shurtliff)
Finally, Rumpelstiltskin (aka Rump) tells his own story—and it’s not the story you know. Rump is a page-turning adventure with magic, fairytale creatures, a scrappy hero, and a clever ending.

Mockingbird (Kathryn Erskine)

A middle school girl with Asperger’s syndrome must come to terms with her beloved brother’s death in a school shooting.

Young Adults

I’ll Be There (Holly Goldberg Sloan)

Brothers Sam and Riddle have spent most of their lives acting invisible. Trapped in a transient life with an unstable father, they live around the margins of society until one day music-loving Sam wanders into a church to hear the music and meets a girl named Emily, and their lives begin to change.

Eleanor and Park

Park, son of a veteran, and Eleanor, a misfit with a difficult home life, bond over comic books and punk rock. Not surprisingly, the budding romance begins to falter when their very different worlds intersect.

Code Name Verity (Elizabeth Wein)

A young female spy is captured in Nazi-occupied France, making for an exciting adventure story about courage and friendship.

The Fault in Our Stars (John Green)

Hazel is sixteen and living with terminal cancer. When her doctor sends her to a support group for kids, she meets Augustus—also a cancer survivor—and together they contemplate the meaning of life and death.

There’s no better time than summer to help kids discover the pleasure of a lazy afternoon immersed in a book that they can’t bear to put down. What must-read books would you add to this list?

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Related reading:

18 Ways to Encourage Students to Read This Summer

Antidotes to Summer Brain Drain (Part 1): Tips and Tools for Fun Math Skills Practice

Antidotes to Summer Brain Drain (Part 2): 5 Ways to Pull the Plug on Learning Loss