Although I personally wouldn’t know it from the seemingly endless cold, snowy, and very un-springlike weather we have been experiencing where I’m from, summer is right around the corner! Now, that may leave you cheering or wanting to run for the hills, but either way, I’m here to discuss one of my favorite summer activities: reading.
I can remember when I was a kid, reading was the activity that took up most of my free time – especially in the summer. I would go to the library, check out a bag full of books, get comfy in my room, and…well…my mom wouldn’t see me again for a very long time. It was a win-win for both of us! (Kidding! I think.) Anyway, I’m sure I speak for all of us at A Grade Ahead when I say we want all children to experience the magic of a great book. And since not everyone gets summer reading recommendations from teachers at school, we thought we would share our favorites!
Summer Reading Recommendations from Teachers & Other A Grade Ahead Staff!
Pre-K / KG + Suggestions
- Piggie Pie by Margie Palatini
This is a crossover with the witch from “Hansel and Gretel” and Old McDonald’s Farm.
- The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
Was the wolf really big and bad? Find out what really happened!
- The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
“This is one of my favorite children’s books and my number one baby shower gift for new parents. It’s simple, visually entertaining, and lots of fun!”
- Catundra by Stephen Cosgrove
Poor Catundra is sad because the other animals make fun of her weight. Will an unlikely friendship with a mouse help solve her problems?
- Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
As Sal picks blueberries with her mother, she encounters a hungry baby bear who likes blueberries, too! The sweet story and lovely illustrations of this book make it a perennial favorite with kids.
1st-4th + Suggestions
- The Avalon: Web of Magic Series by Rachel Roberts
Follow three young teens: Emily, Adriane, and Kara, as they are drawn to a secret place deep in the woods where they discover a portal to another world!
- The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright
This is a mystery story with a little mix of the supernatural.
- The Fairy Rebel by Lynne Reid Banks
Fairies as babysitters? What more could you ask for in a book?
- The Girl with the Silver Eyes by Willo Davis Roberts
This is a sci-fi story with psychic main characters.
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
This is a story with a strong, independent female main character who must find a way to survive against all odds.
- The Horse of Hurricane Hill by C.W. Anderson
A wild horse that thinks it’s a deer? What could be more intriguing to a young boy who loves horses and yearns to ride!
- James Herriot’s Treasury for Children
If your child loves animals, this book is a must! It’s a collection of short stories from the life of famous veterinarian, James Herriot. The stories are heartwarming true tales, and the pictures in the book are gorgeous!
- Quillworker, a Cheyenne legend adapted by Terri Cohlene
Learn how a constellation came to be with this beautifully illustrated Cheyenne legend. Check out other Terri Cohlene adaptations, too, to see legends from other Native American cultures.
- Oh Say Can You Say? by Dr. Seuss
“No book list is complete without Dr. Seuss, and Oh Say Can You Say? is one of my favorites. Trying to say the tongue twisters out loud is so much fun!”
5th grade + Suggestions
- The Alex Rider Series by Anthony Horowitz
Follow Alex Rider as he uncovers top-secret missions and must outsmart his enemies.
- The Charlie Bone Series by Jenny Nimmo
It is suggested that if you like Harry Potter, then you should check out this series!
- Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
This is a story about a princess who isn’t going to stand for being married off, so she takes matters into her own hands and goes off to find a dragon to work for.
- The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White
This is a great book for older students who are looking to extend or maintain their writing knowledge over the summer. Not fiction, this book explores grammar, and, as the title suggests, writing style.
- The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson
In this story, the world’s adults have all died, leaving the children to fend for themselves. The main character is a girl who takes charge to protect her sibling and eventually creates her own city.
- The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Follow Harry Potter through his years of magical education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
- Holes by Louis Sachar
This is a summer read for children who enjoy unique stories mixed with a little bit of fantasy.
- The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
This is another nonfiction book. It explores the truth behind scientific and medical discovery by examining the case of Henrietta Lacks.
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
This is a unique book with lots of pictures, but it is still a great read for middle-schoolers.
- The Kingdom Keepers Series by Ridley Pearson
Follow the adventures of group of five friends who have been transformed into holographic hosts at Disney’s Magic Kingdom!
- Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
This book was quoted as simply, “an amazingly good read.” That sounds good enough to me!
- Any Mythological Series by Rick Riordan
If your child has an interest in mythology, have him or her check out these books – especially the Percy Jackson or The Heroes of Olympus series.
- The Selection Series by Kiera Cass
These books – a mix of drama and a little romance – follow a “beautiful” plot that is set in a utopian society.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
If your child is into the Netflix series, suggest he or she take a peek at the original!
- The Sports Beat Series by John Feinstein
This interesting series combines sports and mystery!
- The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter
Follow the story of the wild ThunderClan cats and Rusty, a regular housecat, who just might turn out to be a warrior after all.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
This suggestion received the following quote: “I loved this book as a kid. It was probably one of the first fantasy stories I got to read as part of a class reading project.”
- Another Fine Myth by Robert Aspirin
Robert Aspirin’s myth series is full of fun adventures centered around Skeeve – the rather sheltered wizard’s apprentice trying desperately to make his magic work the way it should.
- Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
Tiffany Aching’s little brother is annoying and only wants sweets, but that doesn’t mean she’ll sit back and relax when he’s kidnapped by faeries! “These books are lighthearted and fun, but they teach good lessons about responsibilities and courage. And the reading level doesn’t mean adults can’t enjoy them – my parents got hooked, too. :-)”
- Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
An interesting twist on the traditional Cinderella story, Just Ella tells the story of a practical, down-to-earth girl who wants more from her life than cleaning or wearing pretty clothes.
Still looking for more? Why not look at books by the same authors? For example, Margaret Peterson Haddix has many series in different genres (fantasy, YA, and more) and so do many of the authors listed above. You can also check out another summer reading list, 3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade suggested reading, or even this more genre-specific list!
But in the meantime, what do you think? Have you or your children enjoyed any of these books or series before? Do you have further suggestions for a fiction-filled summer? We’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Author: Emily Karth, Writer and Teacher at A Grade Ahead