Keep reading this summer!

Keep reading this summer!
Posted on 05/23/2021
A kindergarten student reads a book at Hagemann Elementary SchoolThe best way to maintain your child’s reading skills over the summer months is to spend time reading. While we encourage you to read any books you have access to, we have compiled a list of titles recommended by our librarians. 

Elementary school titles are listed below. Click here to view middle and high school titles


Kindergarten and first grade

"Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors" by Hena Khan: In a simple rhyming text, a young Muslim girl and her family guide the reader through the traditions and colors of Islam 

"Dude!" by Aaron Reynolds: While they are out surfing, a platypus and beaver are startled when a shark surfaces in the nearby waves.

"Sulwe" by Lupita Nyong’o: When five-year-old Sulwe’s classmates make fun of her dark skin, she tries lightening herself to no avail, but her encounter with a shooting star helps her understand there is beauty in every shade.

"Cool Cuts" by Mechal Renee Roe: This book presents an illustrated celebration of diversity of African American boys’ hairstyles ranging from afros and cornrows to curls and high-tops. 

"What about Worms!?" by Ryan T. Higgins: Tiger unwittingly helps some worms overcome their fear of tigers with a well-paced, informative book.

"Llama Llama Loved to Read" by Anna Dewdney: This rhyming text with colorful illustrations show how Llama Llama learns how to read and memorize the alphabet. 

"Share your Rainbow" by R.J. Palacio: Illustrators imagine what is represented by the rainbows children placed in their windows while in quarantine during the 2020 pandemic. 

"Cannonball" by Sacha Cotter: A young Maori boy wants to do the perfect cannonball, and everyone around him seems to have the best suggestion for doing so. In the end, he discovers that doing it his own way is the key to a perfect cannonball. 

"A Story About Afiya" by James Berry: Some people have dresses for every occasion, but Afiya only needs one. Her dress records the memories of her childhood. 

"Flower Talk: How Plants Use Color to Communicate" by Sara Levine: This book explores how plants use their colors to communicate with insects, enticing them to carry their pollen in order to produce seeds that will grow more plants. 

"What Do You Do if You Work at the Zoo?" by Steve Jenkins: This book highlights the surprising things you might do if you worked at the zoo including counting animals, shining a tortoise’s shell, brushing a hippo’s teeth and putting sunscreen on an aardvark’s ears. 

Second and third grades

"The Crayon Man: The true story of the invention of Crayola Crayons" by Natascha Biebow: This book presents a step-by-step, illustrated depiction of how Crayola crayons are made today and is a biography of Edwin Binney.

"Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil deGrasse Tyson" by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer: A pick-book biography on science superstar Neil deGrasse Tyson, the groundbreaking American astrophysicist whose work has inspired a generation of young scientists and astronomers to reach for the stars.

"Letters from Space" by Clayton Anderson: This book presents a collection of letters that astronaut Clayton Anderson could have sent home during the five months he lived aboard the International Space Station. It includes weird science and true stories from living in space.

"Go for the Moon: A Rocket, a Boy and the First Moon Landing" by Chris Gall: As the Apollo 11 spacecraft makes its preparations to become the first to land humans on the moon, a young boy imagines himself also in preparation as he sits in his red wagon rocket. 

"Nina Soni, Former Best Friend" by Kashmira Sheth: Nina tried as hard as she could but still somehow forgot about her school project. Fortunately, a class lesson about Alexander Fleming suggests how she might make a great discovery. 

"The Vast Wonder of the World: Biologists Ernest Everett Just" by Melina Mangal: Examines the life and career of poet and scientist Ernest Everett Just. Born in 1883, Just struggled through racism and discrimination to achieve his dream of becoming a scientist despite the limitations society placed on him as an African American. 

"The Lady with the Books" by Kathy Stinson: Inspired by true events, a fictionalized retelling of how one woman brought a world of books to children in Germany after World War II and changed their lives forever. 

"Grow: Secrets of our DNA" by Nicola Davies: With simple, engaging language and expressive, child-friendly illustrations, Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton provide an introduction to genetic code and how it relates to families to make us all wonderfully unique and wholly connected to every living thing on earth.

"Seashells: More than Home" by Melissa Stewart: Young naturalists discover thirteen seashells in this elegant introduction to the remarkable versatility of shells and highlights how shells provide more than a protective home in this expository nonfiction exploration.

"Becoming an Astronaut" by Ellen Lawrence: This simple text with color photographs teaches young readers how to become an astronaut. 


"Peter and Ernesto: A Tale of Two Sloths" by Graham Annable: While Ernesto is happy to see the world from the tree, Peter wants to explore on the ground. After Peter leaves to go on an adventure, Ernesto worries about his friend and finally decides to leave the tree to search but ends up having an adventure of his own. 

"Animal Ark" by Kwame Alexander: This lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity and fragility of the animal world by pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery Award-winning author Kwame Alexander. 

"Mac Undercover" by Mac Barnett: When thieves steal the Crown Jewels, the Queen of England recruits Mac, the smart student in his California school, to find them. He travels to London to meet the queen and sets off on a dangerous quest.

"We are Water Protectors" by Carole Lindstrom: In this picture inspired by indigenous-led movements, lyrical text describes how a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth’s water but a young protector stands up to defend the resource. 

Fourth and fifth grades

"Amina’s Voice" by Hena Khan: A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community.

"The Bridge Home" by Padma Venkatraman: Four determined homeless children make a life for themselves in Chennai, India. 

"Shouting at the Rain" by Lynda Mullaly Hunt: Delsie loves tracking the weather, living with her grandmother and the support of friends and neighbors, but she misses having a “regular family,” especially after her best friend outgrows her.

"The First Rule of Punk" by Celia C. Perez: Twelve-year-old Malu gets off on the wrong foot at her new middle school and it seems she never stood a chance of fitting in. Malu would rather be herself than fit the mold, and she’s determined to blaze a path for all of the misfits she finds along the way.

"Lety Out Loud" by Angela Cervantes: When Lety offers to write animal profiles at a local shelter, her classmate, Hunter, decides he’d like to do them instead of her and sets up a competition. Lety is anxious because her first language is Spanish, and she’s still learning English, but she’s determined to try her best. 

"The Undefeated" by Kwame Alexander: This poem is a love letter to Black life in the United States. It highlights the unspeakable trauma of slavery, the faith and fire of the civil rights movement, and the grit, passion and perserverence of some of the world’s greatest heroes. 

"Saving Lady Liberty: Joseph Pulitzer’s Fight for the Statue" by Claudia Friddell: An illustrated biography presents details about the life of newspaperman and philanthropist Joseph Pulitzer and his campaign to raise money to build a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.

"Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover" by Markus Motom: The rover Curiosity introduces itself to readers and describes how it went from idea, to creation and beyond. 

"Outdoor Scientist" by Temple Grandin: In this book, Dr. Temple Grandin, an inventor and world-renowned scientist, introduces readers to geologists, astrophysicists, oceanographers and many other scientists who unlock wonders of the natural world.

"Wonderland" by Barbara O’Connor: When her mother uproots them again to another home and takes a job as a housekeeper, ten-year-old Mavis is determined to find a best friend in Landry, Alabama, where the summer also holds the promise of friendship and change for a sad man, a stray dog and a timid girl.

"Planet Earth is Blue" by Nicole Panteleakos: A heartrending and hopeful debut novel about a nonverbal girl and her passion for space exploration. 

"Kerry and the Night of the Forest" by Andi Watson: Kerry is on his way back home to his parents with medicine that might save their lives, but after he’s led astray by a strange girl, he finds himself lost in an enchanted forest. To make it out, Kerry will have to figure out who to trust and make tough decisions about who he wants to be and how far he’ll go to make it home. 

"Other Words for Home" by Jasmine Warga: Sent with her mother to the safety of a relative’s home in Cincinnati when her Syrian hometown is overshadowed by violence, Jude worries about the family members who were left behind as she adjusts to a new life with unexpected surprises. 

"The Newspaper Club" by Beth Vrabel: Not long after Nellie Murrow moves to Bear Creek, Maine, a sleepy little town, news of vandalism and theft keeps her itching to do some reporting, but the town’s newspaper has folded. Nellie decides she should create her own independent press, but making friends is hard in a new, small town, and that will make it almost impossible to recruit journalists.


Videos for incoming kindergarten families

Last summer, our kindergarten teachers recorded a series of videos for families to help prepare their children for kindergarten by building a foundation for reading, writing, counting and other skills at home. 

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