Summer is a time for taking a break from school, right? But don’t let your children’s reading skills dwindle during the summer slump. This Elementary Summer Reading List will keep them engaged and wanting to read!
Plus, your kiddo will need a break from the sun and some downtime during the long summer days. Why not even spend some time reading aloud to your independent reader? Just because they’re older doesn’t mean they still don’t love being read to.
Curl up with a great book, keep their minds sharp and create some fun family memories with this wonderful summer reading list! You can find these books at your local library or purchase through the affiliate links provided for your convenience. And a special thanks to the Association for Library Service to Children for the wonderful summer reading inspiration.
Don’t miss out on my other summer reading lists for all the kiddos!
- Summer Reading List for Grades K-2
- Summer Reading List for Grades 6-8 (coming soon)
Elementary Summer Reading List
The Terrible Two: Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game. It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.
Dory Fantasmagory: As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.
Battle Bunny: When Alex gets a silly, sappy picture book called Birthday Bunny, he picks up a pencil and turns it into something he’d like to read: Battle Bunny. An adorable rabbit’s journey through the forest becomes a secret mission to unleash an evil plan–a plan that only Alex can stop. Featuring layered, original artwork, this dynamic picture book celebrates kids as storytellers.
Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin: n a magic kingdom where your name is your destiny, 12-year-old Rump is the butt of everyone’s joke. But when he finds an old spinning wheel, his luck seems to change. Rump discovers he has a gift for spinning straw into gold. His best friend, Red Riding Hood, warns him that magic is dangerous, and she’s right. With each thread he spins, he weaves himself deeper into a curse. To break the spell, Rump must go on a perilous quest, fighting off pixies, trolls, poison apples, and a wickedly foolish queen. The odds are against him, but with courage and friendship—and a cheeky sense of humor—he just might triumph in the end.
El Deafo: A 2015 Newbery Honor Book! Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid.
The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.
Honey: Melody has lived in Royal, Indiana, for as long as she can remember. It’s been just her and her father, and she’s been okay with that. But then she overhears him calling someone Honey — and suddenly it feels like everyone in Royal has a secret. It’s up to Melody and her best friend, Nick, to piece together the clues and discover why Honey is being hidden. Meanwhile, a dog named Mo is new to Royal. He doesn’t remember much from when he was a puppy . . . but he keeps having dreams of a girl he is bound to meet someday. This girl, he’s sure, will change everything.
The 13-Story Treehouse (The Treehouse Books): Andy and Terry live in a treehouse. But it’s not just any old treehouse, it’s the most amazing treehouse in the world! This treehouse has thirteen stories, a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a secret underground laboratory, and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots marshmallows into your mouth whenever you are hungry. Life would be perfect for Andy and Terry if it wasn’t for the fact that they have to write their next book, which is almost impossible because there are just so many distractions, including thirteen flying cats, giant bananas, mermaids, a sea monsters pretending to be mermaids, enormous gorillas, and dangerous burp gas-bubblegum bubbles!
Wings of Fire Book One: The Dragonet Prophecy: Clay and his friends have grown up under a mountain, secretly raised by the Talons of Peace to fulfill a mysterious prophecy. The five young dragons are destined to end the war that’s been raging between the tribes of Pyrrhia — but how they’ll do this, none of them knows. But not every dragonet wants a destiny. When one of their own is threatened, Clay and his friends decide to escape. Maybe they can break free and end the war at the same time — or maybe they’ll risk everything …
Serafina’s Promise: NAACP Image Award winner and ALA Notable, this luminous, celebrated novel in verse is now in paperback. Serafina made a secret promise to go to school and learn to read so she can become a doctor with her best friend, Julie Marie. But following her dream isn’t easy- endless chores, little money and stomach-rumbling hunger all test her resolve. When an earthquake hits and separates Serafina from friends and family, she encounters her biggest test of all. Serafina made a secret promise. Will she survive to keep it?
Tuesdays at the Castle: Every Tuesday Castle Glower takes on a life of its own-magically inventing, moving, and even completely getting rid of some of its rooms. Good thing Princess Celie takes the time to map out these never-ending changes. Because when the castle is ambushed and Celie’s parents and oldest brother go missing, it’s up to Celie to protect their home and save their kingdom.
A Dragon’s Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans: Fans of How to Train Your Dragon will love this whimsical tale, the first in a series, by a Newbery Honor winner, featuring charming illustrations and pet “training tips” in each chapter. Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion!
Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie’s sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake’s combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it’s too late.
Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton: In the summer of 1908, in Muskegon, Michigan, a visiting troupe of vaudeville performers is about the most exciting thing since baseball. They’re summering in nearby Bluffton, so Henry has a few months to ogle the elephant and the zebra, the tightrope walkers and — lo and behold — a slapstick actor his own age named Buster Keaton. The show folk say Buster is indestructible; his father throws him around as part of the act and the audience roars, while Buster never cracks a smile. Henry longs to learn to take a fall like Buster, “the human mop,” but Buster just wants to play ball with Henry and his friends. With signature nostalgia, Scott O’Dell Award–winning graphic novelist Matt Phelan visualizes a bygone era with lustrous color, dynamic lines, and flawless dramatic pacing.
A few miles from San Francisco lives a population of the ocean’s largest and most famous predators. Each fall, while the city’s inhabitants dine on steaks, salads, and sandwiches, the great white sharks return to California’s Farallon Islands to dine on their favorite meal: the seals that live on the island’s rocky coasts. Massive, fast, and perfectly adapted to hunting after 11 million years of evolution, the great whites are among the planet’s most fearsome, fascinating, and least understood animals.
In the fall of 2012, Katherine Roy visited the Farallons with the scientists who study the islands’ shark population. She witnessed seal attacks, observed sharks being tagged in the wild, and got an up close look at the dramatic Farallons–a wildlife refuge that is strictly off-limits to all but the scientists who work there. Neighborhood Sharks is an intimate portrait of the life cycle, biology, and habitat of the great white shark, based on the latest research and an up-close visit with these amazing animals.
Tommysaurus Rex: When Ely’s beloved dog, Tommy, is hit by a car, he goes to his grandpa’s house for the summer to get his mind off things. While exploring a nearby cave one day he discovers a full-grown but friendly Tyrannosaurus Rex. As the news of the dinosaur grows around town, so does the friendship between Ely and his Jurassic pet. But Randy, the mean kid down the street, decides he’s going to make life miserable for Ely and his dinosaur-to devastating effect.
The Chicken Squad: The First Misadventure: Meet the Chicken Squad: Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie. These chicks are not your typical barnyard puffs of fluff, and they are not about to spend their days pecking chicken feed and chasing bugs. No sir, they’re too busy solving mysteries and fighting crime. So when Squirrel comes barreling into the chicken coop, the chicks know they’re about to get a case. But with his poor knowledge of shapes (“Big” is not a shape, Squirrel!) and utter fear of whatever it is that’s out there, the panicky Squirrel is NO HELP. Good thing these chicks are professionals.
But even professionals get worried. Especially once they see that round, shiny, green, BIG thing in the yard. What if it’s a UFO full of aliens who want chickens as pets, or worse, dinner? It’s up to the Chicken Squad to crack a case that just might be out of this world.
The Tapper Twins Go to War (With Each Other): Twelve-year-old twins, Claudia and Reese, who couldn’t be more different…except in their determination to come out on top in a vicious prank war. But when the competition escalates into an all-out battle that’s fought from the cafeteria of their New York City private school all the way to the fictional universe of an online video game, the twins have to decide if their efforts to destroy each other are worth the price.
Nightmares!: Charlie Laird has several problems. 1. His dad married a woman he is sure moonlights as a witch. 2. He had to move into her purple mansion—the creepiest place in Cypress Creek. 3. He can’t remember the last time sleeping wasn’t a nightmarish prospect. Like even a nap. What Charlie doesn’t know is that his problems are about to get a whole lot more real. Nightmares can ruin a good night’s sleep, but when they start slipping out of your dreams and into the waking world . . . well, that’s something only Charlie can face. And he’s going to need all the help he can get, or it might just be lights-out for Charlie Laird. For good.
Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made: He may be clueless, but the comically self-confident Timmy Failure is CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Now Timmy’s legion of fans are invited to set off on their own path to mastery with the help from Stephan Pastis. Added material includes step-by-step instructions on how to draw Timmy and his impressively lazy business partner, the polar bear Total—including a trick to making them both look a tiny bit nuts (hint: the secret is in the eyes). Even better, kids are invited to share the spotlight with Timmy by sending their drawings to his website, for a chance to be featured in the Timmy Failure Gallery of Greatness.
Weird But True: 300 Outrageous Facts: At last, all those weird but true facts that readers of National Geographic Kids love so much are collected into a fun-filled book that you’ll come back to again and again! All of the facts in this handy book will amaze friends and family: Animals Superpowers…Chills and Thrills…Eat or Be Eaten…Mini and Mega…Wild and Crazy, and much, much more. Adjacent pages for such facts present a one-paragraph explanation of how that fact is possible or why it is so. Wacky facts, fascinating information, and lively art combine in this easy-to-browse, casual reference book that is sure to give young readers hours of fun.
The Sasquatch Escape (The Imaginary Veterinary): When Ben Silverstein is sent to the rundown town of Buttonville to spend the summer with his grandfather, he’s certain it will be the most boring vacation ever. That is, until his grandfather’s cat brings home what looks like . . . a baby dragon? Amazed, Ben enlists the help of Pearl Petal, a local girl with an eye for adventure. They take the wounded dragon to the only veterinarian’s office in town — Dr. Woo’s Worm Hospital. But as Ben and Pearl discover once they are inside, Dr. Woo’s isn’t a worm hospital at all — it’s actually a secret hospital for imaginary creatures.
After Ben accidentally leaves the hospital’s front door unlocked, a rather large, rather stinky, andveryhairy beast escapes into Buttonville. Ben and Pearl are tasked with retrieving the runaway creature, and what started out as an ordinary summer becomes the story of a lifetime.
Eddie Red, Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile: Not many sixth-graders work undercover for the NYPD, but Edmund Xavier Lonnrot, code name Eddie Red, is not just any sixth-grader. A “near-death ice cream experience” lands him as a material witness in the police station with his dad, where the NYPD first discovers Eddie’s photographic memory and uncanny sketch-artist abilities. Things get dangerous when Eddie is recruited to help track down the infamous Picasso Gang that’s casing NYC’s famous Museum Mile.
Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: One Dead Spy: Nathan Hale, the author’s historical namesake, was America’s first spy, a Revolutionary War hero who famously said “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” before being hanged by the British. In the Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales series, author Nathan Hale channels his namesake to present history’s roughest, toughest, and craziest stories in the graphic novel format. One Dead Spy tackles the story of Hale himself, who was an officer and spy for the American rebels during the Revolutionary War. Author Hale highlights the unusual, gruesome, and just plain unbelievable truth of historical Nathan Hale—from his early unlucky days at Yale to his later unlucky days as an officer—and America during the Revolutionary War.
Binny for Short: When she was eight, Binny’s life was perfect: She had her father’s wonderful stories and Max, the best dog ever. But after her father’s sudden death, money is tight, and horrible Aunty Violet decides to give Max away—he is just too big for their cramped new life. Binny knows she can’t get her dad back, but she never stops missing Max, or trying to find him. Then, when she’s eleven, everything changes again.
Aunty Violet has died, and left Binny and her family an old house in a seaside town. Binny is faced with a new crush, a new frenemy, and…a ghost? It seems Aunty Violet may not have completely departed. It’s odd being haunted by her aunt, but there is also the warmth of a busy and loving mother, a musical older sister, and a hilarious little brother, who is busy with his experiments. And his wetsuit. And his chickens.
Astrotwins — Project Blastoff: It’s a long, hot summer and Scott and Mark are in big trouble for taking apart (aka destroying) their dad’s calculator. As a punishment, they’re sent to their grandfather’s house, where there’s no TV and they have to do chores. And Grandpa is less tolerant of the twins’ constant bickering. “Why don’t you two work together on something constructive. What if you built a go-kart or something?” Grandpa suggests. But it’s not a go-kart the twins are interested in. They want to build a rocket. With the help of Jenny, nicknamed Egg, and a crew of can-do kids, they set out to build a real rocket that will blast off and orbit the Earth. The question soon becomes: which twin will get to be the astronaut?
House of Robots: It’s never easy for Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez to fit in, so he’s dreading the day when his genius mom insists he bring her newest invention to school: a robot he calls E–for “Error”. E not only thinks he’s Sammy’s brother… he’s actually even nerdier than Sammy. Will E be Sammy’s one-way ticket to Loserville? Or will he prove to the world that it’s cool to be square?
Don’t miss out on some other awesome resources to stave off summer brain drain for your kids and keep that summer learning going all season long!