What to Read This Summer: Books for Every Age

by | Jun 26, 2023 | Homepage News

Summer is an ideal time to play outside, explore your child’s passions, enjoy time with friends and family, and get lost in books! But what should you read this summer? We are pleased to share our 2023 Willow Summer Reading List for all students, preschool to eighth grade!

Use this list of recommendations from our teachers and students to find the perfect book for your child’s summer reading. These titles are grouped by age range and genre. Some titles can be read independently; others are more challenging and can be read aloud as a family. While this is a list of our favorite titles, there are so many others to explore. We recommend the Imagination Soup summer reading list and the books that won this year’s Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King Book Awards. The most important message is to keep reading alive over the summer months!

Recommended Summer Reading

Dummy to Close First Accordion
Rising PreK and Kindergarten

Here are a few of the many authors we recommend for this age:

Norah Dooley
Jane Yolan
Matt de le Peña
Vanessa Brantley Newton
Tad Hills
Vera B. Williams
Yangsook Choi
Peter H Reynolds
Jon J. Muth
Tad Hills
LeUyen Pham
Mem Fox
Curtis Manly
Mo Willems
Cythia Rylant
Cori Doerrfeld
Vikki Young
Nina Laden
Series we love:

The Magic of Me Series by Becky Cummings
My Superpower Books by Alicia Ortego
Over and Under Series by Kate Messner
“You Rock!” Group Books by Mr. Jay

Rising Grades 1 & 2

If you are looking for books that help with Phonics:
Pig Wig: Flip a Word books
I Can Read -Tug the Pup books
Curious George Math and Science Readers
Bob Books
Fox on a Box by Phil Roxbee Cox

If you are looking for Fun, Easy Readers:
In, Over and On the Farm by Ethan Long
Baseball Buzz by CC Joven
Tiny Goes Back to School by Cari Meister
Big Dog and Little Dog Wearing Sweaters by Dav Pilkey
Little Big Horse Where’s My Bike by Dave Horowitz
Let’s Say Hi to Friends Who Fly by Mo Willems
Let’s Go for a Drive by Mo Willems
We Are in a Book by Mo Willems
Pug by Ethan Long
Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick
Gran on a Fan by Kevin Bolger
We are Growing by Laurie Keller
Big Cat by Ethan Long
My Toothbrush is Missing by Jan Thomas
Lazy Bear, Crazy Bear by Kevin Bolger
Sip Pip Point by David Milgrim

If you like Funny books, you’ll love:
Ice Cream Soup by Ann Ingalls
The Doghouse by Jan Thomas
Meet Mo and Jo: The Boulder Brothers by Sarah Lynn
Pinch and Dash and the Terrible Couch by Michael J. Daley
The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
Biscuit (Series) by Alyssa Satin Capucilli

If you like mythical creatures and Fantasy, you’ll love:
Dragons and Marshmallows: Zoey and Sassafras by Asia Citro
The Last Firehawk: The Ember Stone by Katrina Charman
Magical Animal Adoption Agency by Kallie George
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan
Rainbow Magic Fairies by Daisy Meadows

If you like Adventure stories, you’ll love:
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
Magic Tree House
by Mary Pope Osborne
Galaxy Zack
by Ray O’Ryan
The Notebook of Doom
by Troy Cummings
Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot
by Dav Pilkey
Rescue on the Oregon Trail
by Kate Messner
I Survived
series by Lauren Tarshis
Danny and the Dinosaur
by Sid Hoff

If you like Mysteries, you’ll love:
The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler
The Whodunit Detective Agency by Martin Widmark
A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye by Colleen AF Venable
The Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale
Amy and the Missing Puppy (series: Critter Club) by Callie Barkley
The Case of the Missing Monkey (series: High-Rise Private Eyes) by Cynthia Rylant

If you love Realistic stories, you’ll like:
Biscuit by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories (Fox and Chick) by Sergio Ruzzier
Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish
Henry and Mudge: the Book of Their First Adventures (series) by Cynthia Rylant
Pug Pals: Two’s a Crowd by Flora Ahn
Stink by Megan McDonald
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows
Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay
Daisy Dawson Is On Her Way by Steve Voake
Lola Levine Is Not Mean by Monica Brown
Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry

If you love Series:
The Littles
Mr. Putter and Tabby
Franny Stein
Jigsaw Jones
Cam Jansen
Frog and Toad
Henry and Mudge
Little Bear
Commander Toad
Nate the Great
Amelia Bedelia
Marvin Redpost
Pinky and Rex
George and Martha
Curious George
Fancy Nancy
Fly Guy
Ivy and Bean
Iris and Walter

This year, our first graders also loved the Little Eddie books by Carolyn Haywood.

Rising Grades 3 & 4

If you like Funny books, you’ll love:
Myth-O-Mania by Kate McMullen
Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery
Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania series) by Kate McMullan
Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson
Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman
Bink and Gollie Best Friends Forever by Kate DiCamillo

If you like Fantasy stories, you’ll love:
The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey
Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach
Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
The Misadventures of Salem Hyde Spelling Trouble by Frank Cammuso
Door to the Lost by Jaleigh Johnson
Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi
The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown

If you like Adventure and Mystery stories, you’ll love:
The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
Secret Agent Jack Stalwart
by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare
by Herobrine Books
Zoo Camp Puzzle
by Gail Herman
Star Scouts
by Mike Lawrence
Belly Up
by Stuart Gibbs
The Last Kids on Earth
by Max Brallier
Jada Sly, Artist & Spy
by Sherri Winston

If you like Historical Fiction, you’ll love:
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
The Kicks by Alex Morgan
The Year of… by Andrea Cheng
Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Click by Kayla Miller
Hero by Jennifer Li Shotz
I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis
John Lincoln Clem, Civil War Drummer Boy: Based on a True Story by E.F. Abbott
Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood

If you love Animal Books, you’ll like:
Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill
The Critter Club by Callie Barkley and Marsha Riti
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming
Dolphin Rescue (Animal Planet Adventures #1) by Catherine Nichols
The Rescue Princesses by Paula Harrison
Puppy Place by Ellen Miles

If you love Nonfiction, you’ll love:
Rocket to the Moon: Big Ideas That Changed the World by Don Brown
Beavers: The Superpower Field Guides by Rachel Poliquin
2020 National Geographic Almanac
The Thrifty Guide to the American Revolution by Jonathan W. Stokes
Weird But True! Greek Mythology by Sarah Wassner Flynn

If you love to read Well-Known Authors, check out:
Judy Blume
Beverly Cleary
Andrew Clements
Roald Dahl
Lois Lowry
Louis Sachar
Gordon Korman
Kate DiCamillo

If you love to read Series, try:
Series of Unfortunate Events
Sisters Grimm
Spy School
How to Train Your Dragon

The Borrowers
Judy Moody
A to Z Mysteries
Time Warp Trio
Encyclopedia Brown
Emily Windsnap
Boxcar Children
Ivy and Bean
Heroes in Training
The Warriors
Frank Zipper
Katie Kazoo

Rising Grades 5 & 6
Fifth-graders may enjoy:
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
New Kid by Jenny Craft
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton
The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Greenglass House by Kate Milford
The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson
Ophelia and the Mysterious Boy by Karen Foxlee

Sixth-graders may enjoy:
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Front Desk and Three Keys by Kelly Yang
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Out of My Mind by by Sharon M. Draper
Salt to the Sea (Septys)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (DiCamillo)

Ghost (Reynolds)
The Parker Inheritance (Johnson)
The Higher Power of Lucky (Patron)
The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 (Curtis)
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (Bowling)
The Inquisitor’s Tale (Gidwitz)
A Tale Dark and Grimm (Gidwitz)
The Crossover (Alexander)
Chasing Vermeer (Balliet)
Wednesday Wars (Schmidt)
Matched (Condie)
The Penderwicks (Birdsall)
Hatchet (Paulsen)

Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

Rising Grades 7 & 8

Seventh graders may enjoy:
Postcards from No Man’s Land (Chambers)
The List of Things That Will Not Change (Stead)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Kelly)
Norse Mythology (Gaiman)
Dead End in Norvelt (Gantos)
The Hate U Give (Thomas)
The Shadow Society (Rutkoski)
Monster (Myers)
New Kid (Craft)
Greenglass House (Milford)
A Wizard of Earthsea (LeGuin)
The Wrinkle in Time quintet (L’Engle)
Refugee (Gratz)
A Monster Calls (Ness)
The House of the Scorpion (Farmer)
Class Act (Craft)
The Greenglass House (Milford)

Eighth graders may enjoy:
Truly Devious (Johnson)
We Were Liars (Lockhart)
An Abundance of Katherines (Green)
The Book Thief (Zusak)
The Cabinet of Wonders (Rutkoski)
The House in the Cerulean Sea (Kline)
Six of Crows (Bardugo)
The Thief Knot (Milford)
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (Clarke)
One of Us is Lying (McManus)
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd (Christie)
The Night Tourist (Marsh)
Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks (Reynolds)
The Martian (Weir)
Looking for Alaska (Green)
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea (Oh)
I Must Betray You (Sepetys)
Dead Wake (Larson)
Redshirts (Scalzi)
The Ocean at the End of the Lane (Gaiman)
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