As many parents know all too well, with summer vacation frequently comes dreaded “summer slide,” where “it is estimated that school summer breaks…cause the average student to lose up to one month of instruction.”* That’s quite a backtrack, if you ask me. This is especially prominent in that “middle grade” or tween age range, roughly 9-12, when interest in reading begins to decline for many kids, especially boys. So, how can you keep your tween’s reading on track this summer? Start with this list.
In my day job, I spend a lot of time working with teachers, librarians, and book bloggers. Recently, I put a request out to all my well-read librarian and teacher colleagues, asking for their best summer reading recommendations. I asked everyone to focus on titles that were published within the past few years, as I believe parents tend to gravitate to many of the classics without much prompting (books like Bridge to Terabithia, The Giver, Holes, etc.), so I figured a longer list of newer titles would be more helpful. I’ve compiled these suggestions and listed them for you here. Everything is divided up by genre and is appropriate for kids in the 9-12 year old age range. Happy browsing!
* The Importance of Summer Reading, NYSED.gov
HISTORICAL FICTION All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. BurgCrow by Barbara WrightBreaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene YelchinThe Chesire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Randall WrightCountdown by Deborah WilesDead End in Norvelt by Jack GantosGlory Be by Augusta ScattergoodThe Humming Room by Ellen PotterInside Out and Back Again by Thanhha LaiMay B. by Caroline Starr RoseThe Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul CurtisOkay for Now by Gary SchmidtOne Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-GarciaSelling Hope by Kristin O’Donnell TubbThe Trouble with May Amelia by Jennifer L. HolmTurtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm
GENERAL FICTION Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins Bluefish by Pat Schmatz The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon Crunch by Leslie Connor The Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Joanne Rocklin The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mick Cochrane Hound Dog True by Linda Urban Keepers of the School (series) by Andrew Clements Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg Nerd Camp by Elissa Weissman The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate One Day and One Amazing Morning on Orange Street by Joanne Rocklin One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper The Penderwicks (series) by Jeanne Birdsall Same Sun Here by Silas House and Neela Vaswani Saving Sky by Diane Stanley See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles Small as Elephant by Jennifer Jacobson Touch Blue by Cynthia Lord Warp Speed by Lisa Yee Wonder by R.J. Palacio
FICTION – MYSTERY The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place (series) by Maryrose Wood Floors (series) by Patrick Carman The Fourth Stall (series) by Chris Rylander Griff Carver by Jim Krieg Pie by Sarah Weeks Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage Trackers (series) by Patrick Carman
FUTURISTIC/DYSTOPIAN The Boy at the End of the World by Greg van Eekhout Dark Life by Kat Falls Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner
FANTASY - ADVENTURE The Apothecary by Maile Meloy The Billionaire’s Curse (series) by Richard Newsome The Books of Elsewhere (series) by Jacqueline West Cabinet of Earths by Anne Nesbet Down the Mysterly River by Bill Willingham, illustrated by Mark Buckingham The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens (Books of Beginning series) The Familiars (series) by Adam Jay Epstein, illustrated by Andrew Jacobson The Grey Griffins (series) by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis The Mapmaker and the Ghost by Sarvenaz Tash Museum of Thieves by Lian Tanner Powerless by Matthew Cody Seven Sorcerers by Caro King Winterling by Sarah Prineas
FANTASY - FAIRY TALE A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (series) by Catherynne M. Valente The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom (series) by Christopher Healy Storybound by Marissa Burt Juniper Berry by M.P. Kozlowsky
MAGICAL REALISM The Aviary by Kathleen O’DellBigger Than a Breadbox by Laurel SnyderCircle of Secrets by Kimberley Griffiths LittleCosmic by Frank Cottrell BoyceThe Friendship Doll by Kirby LarsonPenny Dreadful by Laurel SnyderScumble by Ingrid LawThe Unfinished Angel by Sharon CreechWhat Happened on Fox Street by Tricia Springstubb
HUMOR/ADVENTURE An Accidental Adventure (series) by C. Alexander LondonThe Genius Files (series) by Dan GutmanSwindle by Gordon Korman
NONFICTION How They Croaked: The Awful Ends of the Awfully Famous by Georgia Bragg, illustrated by Kevin O’Malley
GRAPHIC /ILLUSTRATED/COMIC The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (series) by Tom Angleberger Sidekicks by Dan Santat
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