Long summer days can be made magical with the transformations that come from reading a good book. There are 
libraries filled with the classics, as well as books new to the scene. Harry Potter and Magic Tree House. Dr. Seuss and Eric 
Carle. There are timeless favorites that you may have read with your children over and over again. Is this the summer to 
try something new?

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) is the world’s largest organization dedicated to library service for 
children. We have pared down their recommended book list to those written since 2011. Find the entire booklist at 

Grades K-2

Boot and Shoe

by Marla Frazee

This is a charming and very funny story of two dogs who share their daily routine, until a squirrel mixes things up.

Chirchir Is Singing

by Kelly Cunnane, illustrated by Jude Daly

Chirchir, who lives in rural Kenya, wants to be helpful to her family, but nothing ever seems to go right.

Chu’s Day

by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Adam Rex

Chu goes on outings with his mother and father, who continually worry that he might sneeze.

The Eagles Are Back

by Jean Craighead George, illustrated by Wendell Minor

A young boy helps a ranger feed and watch over one of the last pairs of bald eagles in the Hudson Valley region.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match/Marisol McDonald no Combina

by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios

Marisol is Peruvian, Scottish and American. She has brown skin and red hair, and loves peanut butter and jelly burritos.

Grades 3-5

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything

by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Abigail Halpin

Bollywood fan Dini is moving to India. Will she get a chance to meet her favorite movie star?


by Jason Shiga

In this choose-your-own-adventure style graphic novel, a boy’s choice of chocolate or vanilla ice cream leads to wild adventures.

Tales: One Dead Spy

by Nathan Hale

Just before Nathan Hale is executed as a spy in the Revolutionary War, he tells others some American history.

The One and Only Ivan

by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao

When Ivan, a gorilla who lives in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant, he decides that he must find her a better life.

Out of My Mind

by Sharon M. Draper

A brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy is given her voice with a technological device, opening the door to a new life.

Grades 6-8

Axe Cop

by Malachai Nicolle, illustrated by Ethan Nicolle

Axe Cop, an axe-wielding police officer, tries to save the world in this humorous graphic novel.

Better Nate than Ever

by Tim Federle

Nate has a plan that, with a little luck, will take him from his non-fabulous Pennsylvania town into E.T.: The Musical.

Close to Famous

by Joan Bauer

Foster’s determination and her delicious home-baked cupcakes help her fit into her new home in Culpepper, West Virginia.

Friends with Boys

by Faith Erin Hicks

In this graphic novel, new freshman Maggie is determined to make friends and figure out why a ghost keeps following her around.

One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia

Three girls spend an unforgettable summer in the 1960s with their long-lost mother and learn about Black Power, revolution and forgiveness.


Scholastic also publishes booklists for summer reading. The following is a sample of their selections of non-fiction books. Find the whole list at bit.ly/1PBU6ih.

Grades K-2

The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps

by Jeanette Winter

This picture-book biography tells the story 
of the famous zoologist Jane Goodall, whose gift of observation led to years of studying chimpanzees.

Grades 3-5

100 Most Dangerous Things on the Planet

by Anna Claybourne

Describes one hundred of the most dangerous things on the planet and what to do if they happen to you.

Grades 6-8

Bomb: The Race to Build—and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon

by Steve Sheinkin

A gripping account of the development of nuclear weapons and the global fight for control of their power.


Public libraries have summer reading programs designed to develop a love of reading and help kids beat the summer learning loss.

There are also online summer reading programs, such as The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. This free, online reading program focuses on helping kids get a head start on summer learning. Each week, kids can unlock a new story and discover fun facts about some of their favorite authors, enter sweepstakes and win virtual prizes to reward them for their reading. Download reading lists and printables at scholastic.com.


Jennifer VanBuren is a Georgetown educator and mother of three.

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