Summer Reading Booklists and Note to Parents


 In Elementary school, each child is developing on their own continuum, and it is not always helpful to try to assess your child’s strengths as a reader by his/her reading level alone. To develop strength as readers, children need lots of time to read lots of booksthat are “just right” for their abilities.


No!Exactly the opposite can happen!

 It is critically important that children not read books that are too difficult for them. Research has shown that reading books that are at the “frustration level” can actually stunt a readers’ growth, or send them backwards in their development.

 When in doubt, help your child select books that feel “friendly/familiar” to other books they have enjoyed. Also, check out series books — many of the books on these lists are part of a series. Not only is it fun to follow familiar characters through new adventures and experiences, but reading through a book series can help readers grow.


Good question, but proceed with caution!

 “Harder books” often deal with themes and issues that are more mature. These books might be “readable” or “understandable” by your child, but they may not be developmentally appropriate for your child’s age. Also, please keep in mind that just because readers can read each word on the page smoothly and without error, does not mean that they are able to comprehend the sophisticated themes and layered plot lines that these texts may contain. Remember, just because they can read it, doesn’t mean they ought to read it. Save some of those harder books for later.

 If your child is desperate to read a harder book, read it aloud together! Their ability to comprehend a story by listening to it read aloud is much higher than their ability to understand it alone. Plus, it’s a lovely way to bond with your child over your shared love of reading. Turn off the TV and read aloud together!

If you help your child maintain an active reading life over the summer, you ensure that your child will have the best start to their next grade in the fall.

Have a Great Reading Summer!

Summer Reading Lists for : First Grade, Second Grade, Third Grade, Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade, Sixth Grade

Summer Reading List for Students

Going into First Grade

Summer Reading is Essential for Kids!

Dear Parents,
Reading experts note that most young readers suffer a backslide in reading skills during summer downtime. Families need to make reading a priority during the summer, and children will learn that people never take a vacation from learning!

Dear Students,
Welcome to First Grade! Here is a list of books you may want to read over the summer. Some are good to share with Mom and Dad. Some you may be able to read yourself. Some you might like to read together: you read one page, and someone else reads the next page.
Have fun with books this summer!
Mrs. Fiscus and Mrs. Scott

Borreguita and the Coyote by Verna Aardema
A little lamb uses cleverness to keep a coyote from eating her up.
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett
The weather is odd in the land of Chewandswallow…(The sequel is Pickles to Pittsburgh)
Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
A little girl knits colorful sweaters for her community from an unending ball of yarn and changes their lives.
Dancing by Denys Cazet
Baby brother is crying so much that Dad and older brother escape to the porch for a conversation.
Ginger Jumps by Lisa Campbell Ernst
Ginger is a circus dog who is afraid to jump from the high dive.
How My Parents Learned to Eat by Ina Friedman
A little girl relates her story of why they use both silverware and chopsticks.
Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
A classic, with lots of repetition for ease in reading.
Little Red Hen (and other books) by Paul Galdone
Paul Galdone retold and illustrated many classic tales that everyone needs to know.
Let’s Get a Pup, said Kate by Bob Graham
Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
More silly rhymes and word play…

The Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall
Beautifully illustrated by Barbara Cooney, the Ox-cart man packs all the things his family has made through the year into his cart and travels to to sell them.
Big Chickens by Lisa Helakoski
Chicken-hearted chickens encounter enemies and discover that they really are very courageous…Very funny!!!
You Read to Me and I’ll Read to You by Mary Ann Hoberman
Wonderful stories and poems to share and read together.
The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
Mom has just made cookies, but the doorbell keeps ringing. Will there be enough cookies? Good for arithmetic skills, too.
The Hello-Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
A little girl’s view of visiting her grandparent’s house.
Jump, Frog, Jump by Robert Kalan
Large type, repetition, easy words, and a surprise ending
The Wolf’s Chicken Stew by Keiko Kasza
A wolf’s plans to eat the chicken for dinner are foiled…
Hooway for Wodney Wat by Helen Lester
No one can read this without laughing…
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
A book every child needs to hear…
A Huge Hog is a Big Pig by Frances McCall
Silly rhymes encourage playing with words.
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Little Sal and her mother and Little Bear and his mother get all mixed-up while picking blueberries in Maine.
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
How do you get rid of an enemy? Feed him enemy pie, of course!
Cowardly Clyde by Bill Peet
Other books by Bill Peet are great too!
Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco
Three children must prove to old Mr. Kadinsky that they didn’t throw eggs at his door.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
While holding a magic pebble, Sylvester the donkey makes a foolish wish and is turned into a rock. His famiy’s frantic searching eventually turns to sadness when the young donkey is nowhere to be found. Don’t miss this!
Sidney and Norman by Phil Vischer
A Must Read for Everyone!

EASY-TO-READ BOOKS: (An S means the books are part of a series.)

Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold(S)
Biscuit by Alyssa Capucelli (S)
Minnie and Moo by Denys Cazet (S)
Iris and Walter by Judith Guest (S)
Houndsley and Catina by James Howe (S)
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel (S)
Put Me in the Zoo by Robert Lopshire
George and Martha by James Marshall (S)
Joe and Sparky by Jamie Michalak (S)
Little Bear by Else Minarik (S)
Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant (S)
Mr. Putter and Tabby by Cynthia Rylant (S)
Poppleton by Cynthia Rylant (S)
Dr. Seuss books (Look for the smaller, easier books such as Green Eggs and Ham, Cat in the Hat, Great Day for Up,
The Foot Book, Fox in Sox)
Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems (S)

A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David Adler (S)
The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns
A Tree is Growing by Arthur Dorros
Baby Whales Drink Milk by Barbara Esbenson
Moonshot by Brian Floca
Imaginative Inventions by Charise Mericle Harper
The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller
Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull
The Rooster Crows: a book of American Rhymes and Jingles by Maud and Miska Petersham
Dolphin Talk by Wendy Pfeffer
Noah’s Ark by Jerry Pinkney
Follow the Dream: the story of Christopher Columbus by Peter Sis
Exodus by Peter Spier
Math Fables by Greg Tang
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Weatherford

Summer Reading List for Students

Going into Second Grade

Summer Reading is Essential for Kids!


Dear Parents,

            Reading experts note that most young readers suffer a back slide in reading skills during the summer downtime. Families who make reading a priority during the summer teach their children that people never take a vacation from learning! And even though your child has made great strides in reading this year, please don’t stop reading TO them. At this point in their learning, children can understand much more than they can read for themselves. There is nothing better than a Family Reading Time.


Dear Second Graders,

Welcome to Second Grade! Here is a list of books you may want to read over the summer. Some are good to share with Mom and Dad, and many of them you will be able to read by yourself. Have fun with books this summer!

Mrs. Scott


Read Alone:   (An S means the book is part of a series.)

Cam Jansen and the Birthday Mystery by David Adler (S)

The Golly Sisters Go West by Betsy Byars (S)

Mercy Watson Fights Crime by Kate DiCamillo (S)

Three Stories to Read to Your Cat /Dog by True Kelley (S)

Emma’s Magic Winter by Jean Little

Follow the Drinking Gourd by F.N. Monjo

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (S)

The Lighthouse books by Cynthia Rylant (S)

The High-Rise Private Eyes by Cynthia Rylant (S)


Picture Books:

The Squire and the Scroll by Jennie Bishop

The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop

The Summer My Father Was Ten by Pat Brisson

Dogku by Andrew Clements

Duck for President by Doreen Cronin

Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken by Kate DiCamillo

Roxaboxen by Alice McLerran

The Bear that Heard Crying by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

The King’s Equal by Katherine Paterson

Thank You, Mr. Falker by Patricia Polacco

The Sign Painter’s Dream by Roger Roth

The Bicycle Man by Allen Say

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say

Down the Road by Alice Schertle

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

Wangari’s Trees of Peace by Jeannette Winter

Letting Swift River Go by Jane Yolen


Chapter Books:

The Wonderful Wizard of Ozby L. Frank Baum (S)

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

The Tale of Despereaux  by Kate DiCamillo

A Toad for Tuesday by Russell Erickson

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

The Dragonling by Jackie French Koller (S)

Catwings by Ursula K. LeGuin (S)

LuLu and the Duck in the Park by Hillary McKay (S)

The Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne (S)

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

Down Girl and Sit by Lucy Nolan(S)

Encyclopedia Brown Takes the Case by Donald Sobol (S)

Scaredy Dog by Jane Resh Thomas


True Books and Poetry:

The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns

For Laughing Out Loud: poems to tickle your funny bone selected by Jack Prelutsky

Sing a Song of Popcorn: every child’s book of poems: selected by Beatrice Schenk de Regniers

The Amazing Life of Benjamin Franklin by James Cross Giblin

Wilma Unlimited by Kathleen Krull

The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford

When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan

Joseph by Brian Wildsmith

Exodus by Brian Wildsmith

Locomotive by Brian Floca

Michelangelo by Diane Stanley (She has written other picture book biographies that are very good too—DaVinci, Shakespeare, Joan of Arc)

So You Want to be President?  by Judith St. George

Martin’s Big Words  by Doreen Rappaport

Tales of Famous Americans by Peter and Connie Roop

When the Wolves Returned by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent

Mummies Made in Egypt by Aliki

Miss Frizzle’s Adventures in Ancient Egypt by Joanna Cole

An Octopus is Amazing by Patricia Lauber (s) This is a tremendous series called Let’s Read and Find Out Science. There are many different authors and an incredible number of titles such as Germs Make Me Sick, Who Eats What ?, How Mountains are Made, etc. They are worth searching out.

Summer Reading List for Students

Going into Third Grade

Shorter Chapter Books:

Ace Lacewing, Bug Detective by David Biedrzycki

A.Lincoln & Me by Louise Borden

Julian’s Glorious Summer  by Ann Cameron

Molly’s Pilgrim by Barbara Cohen

Absolutely Lucy by Ilene Cooper

Esio Trot by Roald Dahl

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dalgliesh

Mercy Watson to the Rescue (and other books in the series)by Kate DiCamillo

Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner

How to Talk to Your Dog by Jean Craighead George

How to Talk to Your Cat by Jean Craighead George

The Bat-Poet by Randall Jarrell

The Canada Geese Quilt by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

Pompeii: Buried Alive by Edith Kunhardt

Catwings (and others in the series) by Ursula K. LeGuin

A Place for Zero by Angeline LoPresti

Down Girl and Sit: On the Road  (and others in the series) by Lucy Nolan

Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop

A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy

Journey by Cynthia Rylant

Third Grade Detectives by George Stanley

Hannah by Gloria Whelan

Meow Means Mischief  by Ann Nagda Whitehead


Longer Chapter Books:

Tornado by Betsy Byars

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

Bread-and-Butter Indian by Anne Colver

Bread-and-Butter Journey by Anne Colver

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Just Grace (and others in the series) by Charise Mericle Harper

A Mouse Called Wolf by Dick King-Smith

Three Terrible Trins by Dick King-Smith

Ben and Me by Robert Lawson

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat

Albert by Donna J. Napoli

The Prince of the Pond by Donna J. Napoli

The Dragon of Lonely Island by Rebecca Rupp

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden (If you like this, there are many sequels)

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White



Handel, Who Knew What He Likedby M.T. Anderson

Abraham Lincoln by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

Daniel Boone by James Daugherty

The Columbus Story by Alice Dalgliesh

Inventing the Future: a photobiography of Thomas Edison by Marie Delano

George Washington’s Breakfast by Jean Fritz

And then what happened, Paul Revere?  by Jean Fritz

The Librarian who Meas ured the Earth by Katherine Lasky

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

When Marian Sang by Pam Munoz Ryan

Starry Messenger by Peter Sis

Cleopatra by Diane Stanley

Shaka, King of the Zulus by Diane Stanley

Tapenum’s Day by Kate Waters

Samuel Eaton’s Day by Kate Waters

Sarah Morton’s Day by Kate Waters

Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led her People to Freedom by Carole Weatherford



Folktales, Legends and Poetry:

Bronzeville Girls and Boys by Gwendolyn Brooks

D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek Myths by Ingri and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire

Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, Johnny Appleseed all by Steven Kellogg

Fables by Arnold Lobel

The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame

The Donkey Prince by Jean Craighead George

John Henry by Julius Lester

The MacMillan Book of Greek Gods and Heroes by Alice Low

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Random House Book of Fairy Tales adapted by Amy Ehrlich

The Random House Book of Poetry selected by Jack Prelutsky

Animal Poems by Valerie Worth and Steve Jenkins



 Summer Reading List for Students

Going into Fourth Grade

Animal Stories and Fun Reads:

Dog Diaries by Betsy Byars, Betsy Duffey, and Laurie Myers. At the first annual meeting of the WOOF Society, dogs from all over the world come to listen to the stories and tales of their friends.

Freddy the Detective by Walter R. Brooks. Freddy is a pig and his friends are talking farm animals who remind you very much of humans you just might know. Great fun!

The Enormous Eggby Oliver Butterworth.  What happens when the giant egg hatches into a dinosaur…

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. Don’t miss this book just because you saw the movie.

We the Children by Andrew Clements. The first of a series about a century-long mystery at the old school, that comes to light when developers want to demolish the school and turn the property into a seaside amusement park.

Love That Dog (Hate That Cat is the sequel) by Sharon Creech. Five Stars!!!

Hank the Cowdog series by John R. Erickson. The first one is called The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog. If you like it, there are more than 75 Hank the Cowdog books!

Three Terrible Trins by Dick King-Smith. The terrible trins (like twins, only three of them) are about to turn things upside down at Orchard Farm and teach the farmer’s cats who is boss. A delightfully written animal fantasy by the author of Babe: the gallant pig.

The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney. Humphrey is a classroom hamster who writes about his exciting year. He goes home every weekend with a different student and manages to solve lots of problems with his hamster’s eye view of the world. There’s also a sequel—Friendship According to Humphrey.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater. Mr. Popper was always dreaming of far-away places. He especially loved the South Pole, but he never expected the package that was delivered to him one day….

Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson. This is an oldie, but goodie. The creatures on Rabbit Hill are excited that new folks are moving into the Big House. They hope that the new people are farmers who will plant all sorts of vegetables for them to eat and they hope there is no family dog or cat…

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden. The adventures of a country cricket who unintentionally arrives in New York and is befriended by Tucker Mouse and Harry Cat.

The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White. When Sam is camping in Canada, he makes friends with a young trumpeter swan who is different than the rest of his family. With Sam’s love and attention, the young swan learns to communicate in amazing ways, and soon is no longer disabled, but a swan of distinction.

Regarding the Fountain by Kate Klise.  A book written in letters from the kids in school who suggest what type of water fountain they would like….

Fantasy and Fun:

The Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander. Jason and his cat, Gareth, travel through nine lives together—nine lives anywhere and any time in the world… (The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander is also good.)

Jack Plank Tells Talesby Natalie Babbitt. Jack is too nice to be a pirate, so he is living at a boarding house and on the lookout for a new job. Every night at supper he tells the boarders why the job he applied for today will never do….

The Wonderful Wizard of Ozby L. Frank Baum. And don’t miss this one either, just because you saw the movie. Baum wrote many other Oz books which you might like also.

The Secret History of Tom Trueheart by Ian Beck. All Tom’s older brothers are named Jack and they have all the good adventures in Storyland…until Tom is sent to rescue them all…

The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman. Join Alexa to discover why there are giant walls around the town of Bridewell and what evil the walls are protecting the townspeople from. The two other books in the series are Beyond the Valley of Thorns and The Tenth City.

Half Magicby Edward EagerFour children find a magic coin that grants half of a wish.

The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame. The dragon in this book doesn’t really much like fighting. He’d prefer to read and write poetry. Only the cleverness of an ingenious boy finally persuades him to agree to fight St. George.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. And don’t miss reading the Narnia series, just because you saw the movies….

Punished by David Lubar. A wacky book about puns, oxymorons, palindromes, and anagrams. Don’t know what they are? Look them up, but beware strange librarians with dusty books….

The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli. Having been turned into a frog, the ex-prince makes the best of his new life: he finds a frog wife, has a bunch of tadpoles, and starts them thinking in new ways.

The Story of the Treasure Seekers by E. Nesbitt. The fortune of the Bastable children has changed since Mother died, and they finally decide that it’s up to them to restore the family to wealth, and the best way to go about this is to find treasure.

Shredderman series by Wendelin Van Draanen. Fifth grader Nolan Byrd, tired of being called names by the class bully, has a secret identity — Shredderman!

Historical Fiction:

Black-Eyed Susanby Jennifer Armstrong.  The hardships of pioneer life are made clear in this loving family story about Susie and her parents who homestead on the Dakota prairie in a sod house.

Bread-and-Butter Indian by Anne Colver. Barbara befriends a hungry Indian by giving him some bread and butter; he later comes to her rescue. The sequel is Bread-and-Butter Journey. These are two great stories of life on the Pennsylvania frontier.

The Matchlock Gun by Walter D. Edmonds. The story of a young boy’s bravery during the French and Indian War.

Mandyby Julie Edwards.  Mandy has always lived in the orphanage and is mostly happy there, but she longs for something to call her own. Then she climbs over the wall one day to explore…

The Cabin Faced West by Jean Fritz. A young girl misses the life she had in Gettysburg before they moved west into the Pennsylvania wilderness, until a special visitor comes to call.

The Year of Miss Agnesby Kirkpatrick Hill. When Miss Agnes came to teach at the Innuit school one year, everything changed…

Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters by Patricia C. McKissack Stories the author heard as a child in the south, sitting on the porch in the summer.

The Night the Bells Rang by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock. Josiah is torn in his feelings for Aden Cutler, the bully who has picked on him all year, but suddenly does something brave.

Gifts from the Sea by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock.  When Quilla’s mother dies, it is just her and her father alone on the tiny island where Papa is the lighthouse keeper. It’s mostly a solitary life until after a storm one morning when Quilla finds a parcel washed up onshore.

Journey to the New World: A Diary of Remember Patience Whipple by Kathryn Lasky. This is just one of the Dear America series. Remember’s amazing diary makes the Pilgrim’s journey come alive.

The Sarah Plain and Tall series by Patricia MacLachlan. The beloved frontier story of Sarah, the mail order bride from Maine, has five books in the series. Read them in order: Sarah Plain and Tall, Skylark, Caleb’s Story, More Perfect than the Moon, Grandfather’s Dance


Runny Babbitby Shel Silverstein. A billy sook filled with packy woems.

Animal Poems by Valerie Worth and Steve Jenkins. Great poems with great illustrations.

Journey by Cynthia Rylant. Join these animals as they migrate—sometimes more than 6,000 miles. This is a wonderful book about animals who take journeys—monarch butterflies, locusts, eels, and whales.

Moonshot by Brian Floca. Gorgeously illustrated story of the moon landing.

The MacMillian Book of Greek Gods and Heroes by Alice Low. Classic stories of the Greek gods, goddesses, and heroes.

Koko’s Kitten by Francine Patterson. Koko the gorilla learns sign language and adopts a kitten.

The Adventures of Marco Poloby Russell Freedman. Marco Polo was one of the first Europeans to visit China.

The Childhood of Famous Americans biography series. This is one of the most popular series ever for children. By many different authors, these books range from Sacagawea to Helen Keller; from Neil Armstrong to Langston Hughes.

Animals in the House: A History of Pets and People by Sheila Keenan.

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin. The story of the man who first photographed snowflakes.

Math Potatoes by Greg Tang. New ways to think about math….

We are the ship: the story of Negro League baseball  by Kadir Nelson. Stories of early baseball with magnificent illustrations.


Summer Reading List for Students

Going into Fifth Grade

Great Summer Reads:

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken. Bonnie’s lovely parents must go away for the summer, so they leave her in the care of her distant fourth cousin, Miss Slighcarp. Suddenly the grand life at the Willoughby Chase estate takes a sinister turn…


Jinx by Sage Blackwood. An orphaned boy named Jinx encounters magic and danger as he grows up in the deep, dark forest known as the Urwald and discovers that the world beyond and within the Urwald is more complex than he could imagine. The second book is Jinx’s Magic.


The Penderwicks: a summer tale of four sisters, two rabbits, and a very interesting boy by Jeanne Birdsall.  Four lovable sisters and their absent-minded professor father spend a summer vacation in the Berkshire Mountains. While there, they share adventures with a local boy, much to the dismay of his snobbish mother. Two other books in the series are The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, and The Penderwicks at Point Mouette and they are just as good!


The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney. When Eben reads about the Seven Wonders of the World, his imagination is fired up. He itches to escape the boring life of Sassafras Springs, Missouri.


The Secret Gardenby Frances H. Burnett. When pampered Mary comes to Misselthwaite Manor, she is spoiled and angry—for her father has just died, leaving her to live with these strangers in the countryside. Mary discovers the gardens hold a secret mystery.


No Talking by Andrew Clements. The noisy fifth grade becomes suspiciously silent when the boys challenge the girls to a no-talking contest.


Wonder by R.J. Palacio.  JUST.  READ. THIS.  BOOK.


The Railway Children by E. Nesbit. When Father must suddenly leave, Mother and the children move to a little country cottage. The children’s gloom decreases when they discover the wonderful train station that brings most interesting people into the children’s lives.


Wonderstruck  by Brian Selznick. Twelve-year old Ben, whose story is told in words, loses both his mother and his hearing and leaves home to seek the father he never knew, while Rose, whose story is told in pictures, is also compelled to search for what is missing in her life. Amazing Book!!!


Hatchetby Gary Paulsen (Sequels to this are The River; Brian’s Winter; Brian’s Hunt,) Brian is the only passenger in a small bush airplane that goes down in the wilds of Northern Canada when the pilot has a heart attack. The only things he has to survive with are what he can scavenge from the plane wreck, and winter is coming…


Miracles on Maple Hill  by Virginia Sorensen. Father has come home from being a Prisoner of War different—and damaged. Mother suggests they leave their home in Pittsburgh and move north to Grandma’s farm which has mostly been abandoned since Grandma died. They are hoping that country life will provide what Father needs to cure his depressions.



Animal Stories and Adventure:


Gentle Ben  by Walt Morey. Mark’s best friend is a tame brown bear that Fog Benson keeps chained up and starving in a shed. Mark visits him every day after school, until he hears that Fog is going to sell the bear…


Rascal  by Sterling North. Sterling has a most unusual pet—Rascal the raccoon who eats with him, sleeps with him, and goes to school with him. Not everyone shares his enthusiasm for Rascal, however, especially the neighboring farmer whose corn has been raided


Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner. Four kids meet at an elite brain injury clinic in the Everglades and discover that the doctor there is on a top-secret mission to change them and the world as they know it. Can they get people to believe them? Can they get out in time?


My Side of the Mountain  by Jean Craighead George. Sam runs away from his New York City home to live and survive in the Catskill Mountains. He learns to make fire with flint and catches animals in homemade traps. An amazing story of survival.  Sequels are On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful’s Mountain.


Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein Twelve-year-old Kyle gets to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by his hero, the famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello, with other students but finds he must work with friends to solve puzzles in order to escape.


Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat. The neighborhood boys in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan are the proud owners of some strange pets—rats, snakes, gophers and one very proud owl called Wol.


Mrs. Frisby and Rats of NIMH  by Robert O’Brien. This is a great fantasy that tells the story of friendship between a mouse family and a band of highly intelligent rats who have escaped from the scientists’ laboratory at NIMH.


Where the Red Fern Grows  by Wilson Rawls. A moving story of a poor boy and the two coon dogs he trains, and the hair-raising adventures they share.



Fantasy, Legends and Poetry:

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander.This is a high fantasy series that begins with Col the assistant pig-keeper, and ends in a final clash of good vs. evil.The books can be read independently, but really—read them in order for a grand summer foray into fantasy. The books in this series are: The Book of Three; The Black Cauldron; The Castle of Llyr; Taran Wanderer; and The High King.


Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes  by Jonathan Auxier. A grand adventure, which isn’t quite historical, and isn’t quite fantasy. The author lives in Edgewood. His new book is just brand new out now and called The Night Gardener. He is having a book signing party and book giveaways at C.C. Mellor Library on Saturday, May 31, from 2-4.


Jabberwocky and other poems by Lewis Carroll. A classic of nonsense poems.


Castle Corona by Sharon Creech. A royal family, a pair of orphaned peasant siblings, and assorted hermits, wise women, storytellers, and castle staff mix and mingle in quaint and interesting ways.


The Redwall series by Brian Jacques. A swashbuckling animal fantasy series filled with mouse warriors and rabbit knights. 18 books in the series and counting…


Talking to the Sun: an illustrated anthology of poems for young people Selected by Kenneth Koch and Kate Farrell, the poems are wonderful and illustrated with paintings and objects from the Metropolitan Museum of Art.


The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. Ignore the numbers on the books and begin with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Prince Caspian is next and don’t “not read” these books just because you’ve seen the movies.Read The Magician’s Nephew  at any spot in the series or at the end.


The Mistmantle Chronicles by M.I. McAllister. A newish animal fantasy series about the island of Mistmantle and its squirrel, mouse and badger inhabitants.The books in this series are:Urchin of the Riding Stars; Urchin and the Heartstone; and The Heir of Mistmantle.


The Bark of the Bog Owl  by Jonathan Rogers. The first book in The Wilderking Trilogy about Aidan’s quest to bring the wild land of Corenwald back to its former glory – with the help of Feetchies, and a few other odd characters…


The Wanderings of Odysseus: the story of the Odyssey by Rosemary Sutcliff. A classic retelling of the Odyssey, with cool illustrations by fantasy illustrator Alan Lee.


The Real Boyby Anne Urdu. A shy boy named Oscar, who works for the most powerful magician in the Barrow, becomes the only person who can save his village from an evil monster.


Historical Fiction:


Crispin: the Cross of Lead by Avi. Set in twelfth century Britain, a young boy known only as Asta’s son must take to the road when his mother dies, for the village priest, his only friend, has been cruelly murdered. Somehow he knows it his because of their friendship. ..


Macaroni Boy by Catherine Ayres. Mike Costa lives in the Strip District of 1930s Pittsburgh, where his family owns Costa Wholesale Foods. The bully of his class calls him Macaroni Boy, but at least his family won’t go hungry. Fast paced and full of adventures–from a banana warehouse explosion to mysteriously poisoned dead rats…


The Door in the Wall by Marguerite d’Angeli. Set in medieval England, Robin serves as a page for Sir Peter de Lindsay, but fears he will never be a good or brave knight because he is crippled. His courage is soon put to the test…


Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes. Exciting historical novel about the events that lead up to the Boston Tea Party and the first battle of the Revolutionary War.


Blue Willow by Doris Gates. All Janey Larkin has ever wanted is a real home to live in and a real school to attend—but that is only a dream to a migrant family like hers. Yet one summer, her spunk and her honesty, pave the way for her dreams to be possible.


Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Gray. In thirteenth century England, Adam and his father are minstrels, traveling from castle to castle entertaining the lords and ladies with stories and songs. One day he is separated from his father and is left alone to face many dangers…


Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes. Italy in 1944 is under heavy Nazi occupation, but for Paolo it is strictly boring because he is not allowed to go anywhere or do anything. Until the Partisans, the local anti-Nazi movement places him and his bicycle at the center of the action.


Walk Across the Sea by Susan Fletcher. A lighthouse story about young Eliza Jane who finds a China boy hiding among the rocks by their Northern California lighthouse…


A Picture of Freedom: a Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl by Patricia MacKissack. Clotee spends her hot summer fanning young William and Miz Lilly, her mistress but she doesn’t mind, for during their lessons, she is learning also. It is illegal in Virginia to teach slaves to read, but not only can Clotee read, she is keeping a diary hidden away behind the loose brick in the kitchen chimney….


Belle Teal by Ann M. Martin. Belle Teal begins fifth grade in the 60s rural south with only one cloud on the horizon—her beloved grandmother’s increasing forgetfulness. But this year desegregation brings three young African American students to her school—one in Belle’s class, and this brings divisiveness and hurt to Belle’s world.


Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. The best-loved story of a young orphan who has come to live with Marilla and her shy brother Matthew on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Once you read this first one, you won’t want to stop until you have read them all. The sequel is Anne of Avonlea.


The Good Master by Kate Seredy. The adventures of a young boy Janczi and his city-cousin Kate who comes to live with them for the summer on their farm. This is a beautiful picture of Hungary in the 1800s. The sequel is The Singing Tree.


The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare. Daniel is a Jewish boy who lives in Palestine at the time of Christ. He is consumed with a desire for  revenge for the Romans because they killed his mother and father, until he hears Jesus preach about the victory of love over hate. A fantastic view into the world of the New Testament (and what is in our hearts).


The Bible Smuggler by Louise Vernon or The Queen’s Smuggler by Dave & Neta Jackson. Both these books are about the exciting fascinating life of William Tyndale, who smuggled English translations of the Bible to England, despite the danger to himself.




The Bard of Avon  &Joan of Arc by Diane Stanley

Abraham Lincoln by Russell Freedman

The Adventures of Marco Polo by Russell Freedman

Leonardo’s Horse & The Great Little Madison  & You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton? & Bully for You, Teddy Roosevelt by Jean Fritz

Christian Heroes, Then and Now  (series) by Janet and Geoff Benge

Carry on Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham

Always Inventing: a Photobiography of Alexander Graham Bell by Tom L. Matthews

Rosa Parks: My Story by Rosa Parks

Summer Reading List for Students

Going into Sixth Grade

Great Summer Reads: new, old, and not to be missed…

The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore. Take an old castle in a small New England town, mix in a family mystery, some school problems, and some sci-fi, and you have a great summer read for everyone.


Frindle by Andrew Clements. Who would think that inventing new words could get you in so much trouble?


Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech. An orphaned brother and sister who have never had any love shown to them, finally find paradise; but can they accept it? If you liked Ruby Holler, the author has a new book called The Boy on the Porch that is really good as well…


The Truth about Sparrows by Marian Hale. When a family loses their farmhouse in Depression-era Missouri, they migrate to the Texas coast where they live on the wrong side of the tracks with everyone else who is down on their luck….How can they find friends here?


The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson. Orphaned Annika, who is being brought up by eccentric professors and their kind servants, always dreamed that her beautiful, rich mother would come find her. And she does! But things are not as they seem…if you like this, you might also like Journey to the River Sea by the same author.


The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. A bunch of school misfits are chosen to represent the school on an academic team.


The Secret of the Ruby Ring by Yvonne MacGrory. Lucy is given a mysterious star ruby ring for her 11th birthday. It grants her wish to live in a bigger house, by transporting her to 1850’s Ireland where she is a servant in the big house.


Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner. A thriller starring four kids who meet at an elite brain injury clinic in the remote Everglades. The doctor there is supposed to help these kids heal from their concussions, but all is not as it seems. Can they unite in time to save themselves? Can they make other people believe them?


Dog Song by Gary Paulsen. Russel is drawn to Oogruk’s dogs—these days the men hunt caribou with snowmobiles—but Oogruk teaches Russel about the dogs and he begins a dog run across the country, across time….


A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck. Hilarious summer adventures with the world’s wackiest grandma. The sequel is just as good – A Year Down Yonder – and won the Newbery Award in 2001.


The Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls. Jay Berry Lee spends his summer trying to catch the circus monkeys that escaped—the reward is more money than he’s ever dreamed of. But those monkeys always seem to make a monkey out of him, and he does a lot of growing up that summer. Laugh out loud funny! Also by Wilson Rawls is Where the Redfern Grows.


Becoming Naomi Leon by Pam Munoz Ryan. Happily living with her grandmother since their Ma deserted them, Naomi and her younger disabled brother, Owen, soon have to deal with Ma again—she’s back with her boyfriend and wants to take Naomi to live with them in Las Vegas, but she doesn’t want Owen….


Holes by Louis Sachar. Don’t skip reading this just because you saw the movie…


Wonder by R.J. Palacio. This should be required reading for every single person alive. If you haven’t read it yet, read it this summer.


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. An exciting readable classic about pirates and treasure—Don’t read the abridged version!


Mister Max by Cynthia Voigt. When Max’s parents mysteriously leave the country without him, he must rely on his wits to get by, and before long, he is running his own rather unusual business, while at the same time, trying to discover why his parents disappeared. Book #1 of a projected three book series.


Fantasy, Legends and Poetry:


The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen by Lloyd Alexander.  Prince Jen volunteers to search for the legendary court of K’ien-kuo; before he leaves, he is given six odd gifts to pay homage to the King. Only after many amazing adventures does he discover the real meanings of the gifts…


Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins. A great five-book-fantasy series by the author of The Hunger Games.


The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. The books in this series are Over Sea, Under Stone; The Dark is Rising; Greenwitch; the Grey King; and Silver on the Tree.  Will Stanton is one of the last Old Ones, immortals dedicated to keeping the world from the forces of evil. One of the best fantasy series that is right up there with the Lord of the Rings and Narnia. Don’t miss these books if you love fantasy.


The Dream Keeper and Other Poems by Langston Hughes. Simple, yet eloquent, spare and beautiful poems by one of America’s greatest poets.


A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. Other books in the Time Quartet series are A Wind in the Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet; and Many Waters. A Wrinkle in Time has gotten all the publicity, but the others in the series are just as good, or better. There is also a new graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time by Nicole Larson that is very interesting.


In Search of a Homeland: the story ot the Aenid by Penelope Lively. A retelling of Virgil’s Aenid.


The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope. Another classic story about the battle between good and evil, and the bravery that comes to you when love is in your heart.


This is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness by Joyce Sidman. Sometimes when you need forgiveness, it’s easier to write a letter…or a poem…


The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. If you absolutely loved The Hobbit, go on to read The Lord of the Rings trilogy.


The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner. Gen flaunts his ingenuity as a thief and relishes the adventure which takes him to a remote temple of the gods where he will attempt to steal a precious stone.  Book 1 in a great series.


The Dragon’s Tooth by N.D. Wilson. The beginning of a fantastic new fantasy series—this is Non-Stop Action; Book Two is The Drowned Vault; Book Three is Empire of Bones. If you love Rick Riordan, you will love this series.



Historical Fiction: a painless, fun way to learn about the past


Steal Away by Jennifer Armstrong.  Mesmerizing and exciting runaway slave adventure.


Macaroni Boy by Katherine Ayres. Mike Costa lives in the Strip District of 1930s Pittsburgh, where his family owns Costa Wholesale Foods. The bully of his class calls him Macaroni Boy, but at least his family won’t go hungry. Fast paced and full of adventures–from a banana warehouse explosion to mysteriously poisoned dead rats…


The True Adventures of Charlotte Doyle by Avi.  18th century swashbuckling adventure aboard a ship with a questionable captain…


No Man’s Land by Susan Bartoletti.  Thrasher Magee joins the Confederate Army in Georgia at fourteen to prove he has what it takes to be a man.


Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink.  A frontier story on the prairie similar to Little House on the Prairie, but for older kids and BETTER!


Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis.  A young African American boy in 1930s Michigan travels to Detroit, after his mother dies, to track down his jazz musician father.


Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George.  Lost without food or a compass on the north slope of Alaska, with only wolves to keep her company…


A House of Tailors by Patricia Reilly Giff.  To escape life in Russia after the Revolution, a young girl emigrates to her uncle’s tailor shop in New York City, leaving her family behind.


The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going.    A white boy and a black girl have a good friendship in Georgia in the era of the Ku Klux Klan.


Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse.  A young girl’s family emigrates to America without her because she has ringworm and cannot go with them on board the ship. She writes letters to her family in the margins of a book about her adventures without them.


North to Freedom by Ann Holm.  A young runaway flees from the enemy, but doesn’t know if he can trust anyone…Based on situations in Germany during World War II.


Indian Captive by Lois Lenski.  Based on the life of Mary Jemison who was raised by Seneca Indians and ultimately chooses to stay with them. You might also like Calico Captive by Elizabeth George Speare.


Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan.  Children smuggle gold out of Norway to hide it from the Nazis.  (Based on a true story)


Sing Down the Moon by Scott O’Dell.  Navaho life in Canyon de Chelly in the 1860s.


The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare.  Kit is friends with Old Hannah, a Quaker woman who is falsely accused of being a witch in early Massachusetts.


When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. This won the Newbery Award in 2010.


The Cay by Theodore Taylor. Phillip is stranded on a desert island with an old black man.


Angel on the Square by Gloria Whelan.  Her mother is a lady-in-waiting to the Czarina, and Katya is friends with Anastasia during the Russian Revolution.


Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. A young Indian girl is married off to a young boy just so his parents can have her dowry to help with medical expenses. When he dies, she is left alone in a family who despises her presence because she only reminds them of their lost son. This won the National Book Award.


Non-Fiction and Biography:


Jackie Robinson: He Was the First by David Adler

We are the Ship: the story Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson. (Read these two together.)


Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr


Eleanor by Russell Freedman


Children of the Great Depression by Russell Freedman. (Read this after you read The Truth about Sparrows and Macaroni Boy.)


Immigrant Kids by Russell Freedman.  (Read this after you read Letters from Rifka and A House of Tailors.)


A Dream of Freedom by Diane McWhorter. (Read this after you read The Liberation of Gabriel King.)


The Boy’s War by Jim Murphy.  (Read  this after you read No Man’s Land.)


My Secret Camera by Frank Dabba Smith and Darkness Over Denmark by Ellen Levine. (Read these with North to Freedom, Number the Stars and Snow Treasure.)






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