Summer Reading Is Here!

You may be wondering how to help your kids find great books to read. We get lots of requests for recommendations, and while we are happy to share what we know, there are many different books, and many different readers! So, following please find a few recommendations categorized by genre. Some of our recommendations are series, others are authors. As lovers of literature- especially for children and adolescents, we believe that there are books out there for everyone.

Graphic Novels

Many parents initially balk at the label on this genre, simply because of its name. Graphic does not mean obscene or violent, it means illustrated (like a comic book). Graphic Novels are a type of comic book, generally longer than a traditional comic book, and tell a story beginning to end. They are especially great for reluctant readers or children learning English as a second language. Following is a list of some of our favorites and others that we know about but haven’t necessarily read. Cari has used them a lot at the middle school level and can attest to the fact that kids love them.

Some popular titles:

  • Rapunzel’s Revenge and Calamity Jack by Shannon & Dean Hale, illustrated by Nathan Hale
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer and Young Kim
  • Joey Fly Private Eye
  • Jellaby
  • Into the Volcano
  • Star Wars Clone Wars
  • There’s A Wolf At the Door by Zoe B. Alley, Illustrated by R.W. Alley
  • Chess Rumble
  • Captain Underpants

Formulaic Novels

Another great idea for beginner readers. They tend to be fun and predictable, which is very good for gaining confidence and good reading skills.  Kids usually outgrow them eventually, but in the meantime here are some great series to keep your beginning readers occupied for the duration:

  • The Magic Tree House series (early elementary)- by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca, educational and fun- what more could you ask for?
  • The Secrets of Droon (early to mid elementary) by  Tony Abbott (Author) and  Tim Jessell (illustrator)
  • Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
  • The Hardy Boys by Frank W. Dixon
  • Animorphs by K.A. Applegate
  • Cabin Creek Mysteries by Kristiana Gregory- elementary age

Timeless Classics

Often it’s great to find a favorite author, and search for every book they’ve ever written. How many people have ever read the Jane Austen books before watching the movies? It’s definitely worth the incentive if you have a lot of hours to set up a read/watch marathon.

  • Lucy Maud Montgomery- the Anne of Green Gables series, Emily of New Moon series and various others
  • Louisa May Alcott– Little Women et al
  • Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Emma, etc.
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond


  • Shadow Children Series (7 books!) by Margaret Peterson Haddix- Haddix is a prolific writer with a great variety of other literature to choose from as well.
  • The Land of Elyon (4 great books + a prequel) by Patrick Carman – with great games and more found at Scholastic
  • A Long Way From Chicago, A Year Down Yonder & On Wings of Heroes all by Richard Peck, one of our favorite authors! (OWH is a great family car trip audio, by the way).
  • Gregor The Overlander (5 books) by Suzanne Collins- especially great for boys late elementary to junior high
  • Princess Academy (one of Holly’s favorites) and Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern series) and Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale

Other Book Lists


6 thoughts on “Summer Reading Is Here!

  1. Great list Holly, thank you! I always have a hard time finding a good series that my girls haven’t read yet :o)

  2. Thanks for the summer reading list! I need all the help I can get keeping my kids occupied this summer.

  3. We still haven’t read Calamity Jack. Need to.

    Have you tried Choose Your Own Adventures with your kids? I found some for younger readers at the library and tried one with Boo yesterday. She liked the choices.

  4. Super list, and I appreciate the different categories/genres.

    I have to put in a plug for the “Babymouse” and “Amulet” graphic novels too… My kids eat ’em up.

  5. Candice- You’re welcome. I’m sure it’s a challenge with such prolific readers at your house!

    Lorene- Summer reading can be so much more fun than those required reading lists at school… My kids love that they can read whatever grade level they choose in the summer and going to the library is one of our favorite summer activities- there’s so much more time for browsing, and playing on the fun library computers.

    Britt- My oldest has tried the Choose Your Own Adventures before, I haven’t really thought of them much because I never loved them when I was young, but I bet my kids would love to try them out. What titles do you recommend?

    Z-Dad- Thanks for the great recommendations, we’ll have to check them out. Graphic novels are so popular now, that it’s hard to find them ‘in-stock’. We did just find the Boxcar kids series are now in graphic novel form, so that was exciting for my 7yo.

  6. We read one called Ghost Island yesterday… it’s by Shannon Gilligan. It’s only like 56 pages long and has 9 possible endings. I also grabbed Always Picked Last and Caravan, both by R A Montgomery. They have 7 and 9 possible endings, respectively.

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