When I think summer, I think pools, BBQs, and a good pile of books waiting to be read. Here are a few of my current favorites for your child to add to his/her list. And don’t forget, you can find most of these books on audio, so stock up for those long summer road trips!
Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwell
Our silly librarian recommended this book to my children in the dead of winter, and my family instantly fell in love with Jabari, a young boy who thinks he is ready to jump off the diving board. He has completed his swim lessons, and he’s a great jumper. All he has to do now is jump. This proves to be a bit more difficult than he anticipated. In this sweet tale, readers will root for Jabari as he conquers his fears with the help of an encouraging dad.
Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson
Rabbit loves carrots. In fact, he loves them too much. Carrots are taking over his cozy borrow, and he is forced to call upon his dear friends to share their homes. When his friends offer to help, trouble soon follows. Rabbit must learn the hard way there is such a thing as too many carrots. The adorable illustrations in this book will have your children reading it over and over again!
Elementary Chapter Books
Stella Dias Has Something to Say- by Angela Dominguez
Stella’s family moved from Mexico to Chicago when she was a baby. Stella is known at her school for being quiet, often afraid to speak because she confuses English and Spanish and mispronounces words. Stella loves marine animals, and she is thrilled when she gets to research fish for a school project - that is until she finds out she must also give an oral presentation to her class. Will Stella’s fear of speaking be too much? How will she find the courage to speak up? With adorable drawings and Spanish words throughout the story, this inspiring book of self discovery is a great read for anyone struggling to juggle different sides of their identity.
The Unlucky Winners of Classroom 13 by Honest Lee and Matthew J. Gilbert
Ms. Linda LaCrosse is notoriously unlucky, but when she wins the $28 billion lottery and shares her winnings with her class, everyone is hopeful for the best. Each student in the class receives over a billion dollars, which certainly sounds nice, but they quickly learn more money often leads to more problems. Each chapter tells the reader how a student spent his/her billion dollars. In this silly novel, we read about allergy disasters, cloning nightmares, and travels gone wrong. Maybe winning the lottery isn’t so lucky after all.
*Bonus!* The author is looking for your help in writing the last chapter! Chapter 31 encourages you to write about how YOU would spend one billion dollars and send it in!
Ranger In Time series by Kate Messner
This is one of my favorite series! I am a sucker for historical fiction, and when you throw in a loveable golden retriever, I’m hooked! Ranger has been trained as a search-and-rescue dog; he just can’t seem to pass the final test because he keeps getting distracted by squirrels. Each adventure packed book takes Ranger back in time for an exciting rescue. There are currently seven books in the series, with the eighth book, The Hurricane Katrina Rescue coming out in June.
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
Even those who don’t usually pick up graphic novels will be captivated by this powerful memoir. This is the author’s story of her family’s journey from war-torn South Vietnam in the 1970s. The tension of searching for a better future while longing for the past helps readers explore the truths of immigration, displacements, identity, and the meaning of home. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story will sit with you long after you finish the book.
Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
This New York Times Best Seller is the perfect blend of inspiring, heartbreaking, and comedic. Author, Trevor Noah, is a South African comedian, television star, and actor who currently hosts The Daily Show - but he took a rather unlikely path to get there. Being born to a white father and black mother was a crime in South Africa during apartheid. His mother went to extremes to hide him during his early childhood until the country was finally liberated from tyrannical white rule. This collection of 18 personal essays tells the story of a young boy growing up in a world where he was never meant to be born. His wit and honesty weave together an unforgettable journey through a damaged world during a very dangerous time. Warning, there are some mature themes and profanity in this book.
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
This Newberry Honor book and New York Times Bestseller is the work of storytelling magic - a perfect summer read! Set during World War II, an enchanted harmonica comes into the possession of several children, each living decades and nations apart. Throughout this captivating story, readers see how WWII impacted each child in a different way, yet uniquely weaved their lives together. The characters in this genius story will find a spot into your heart, and you will not want this book to end. Equally compelling to teens and adults, it might be a great choice for an audiobook on that long summer road trip.
Written by Joy Becker, Connections Academics, Mentoring Coordinator