Summer Reading Time

Josie Leavitt -- June 10th, 2011

I might be a week or two ahead of the calendar, but it sure feels like summer here in Vermont. And thus, the ritual of summer has begun: the dreaded summer reading lists are out.

I might have said this in a previous post, but I didn’t have massive amounts of homework to do during the summer when I was a kid. We didn’t have Internet, or cable TV, and honestly, during the summer we often got bored. I loved it. There were two camp options, sleep away or day camp. Neither held any appeal for me, so I stayed home, and read.

Yes, I had a summer reading list. It was simple, pick any three books you want to read and read them. That’s what I took home. Pick three and read ’em. There were times I felt oppressed by this because I went to a Quaker school and I knew there was no way they were going accept a book report on a Judith Krantz novel, or even some of the Peter Straub books I loved, but I read them anyway.

I asked this last year, and I’m going to do it again now: if you were creating the perfect summer reading list for middle graders and young adults, what four books would you choose?

I’ll get the ball rolling by listing a few of the books I tend to recommend to kids to read in the summer:

– Feed by M.T. Anderson

– Shug by Jenny Han

– Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

– The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards

What books would you put on the summer reading list?

8 thoughts on “Summer Reading Time

  1. Laini Bostian

    I have not read any books since I have been reading titles from book lists for graduate school classes. So, some of my recommendations may feel a little dated!

    For kids in 5th-9th grade looking for a “series” I would recommend:

    Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
    Troll Fell by Katherine Langrish
    The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
    Leven Thumps and the Gateway to Foo by Obert Skye
    Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (yes, this is good for younger readers also but older readers should not pass it up)
    Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver

    I also recommend Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness as a first choice with the note that there is graphic violence in the trilogy so this may or may not be okay for a 5th grader. Probably more 7th grade and up.

    For middle school boys-one time hits:

    Stone Child by Poblacki (spooky but not TOO spooky)
    Zachary Beaver by Kimberly Willis Holt
    Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel

    Middle School Girls-
    Catherine Called Birdy by Cushman

    For older teens:

    Skinned by Robin Wasserman
    Chocolate War by Cormier
    The Book Thief by Zusak
    Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Alexie
    Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice
    In Ecstasy by Kate McCafferty

    For EVERYONE 4th grade and up-

    The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
    True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle and Seer of Shadows by Avi
    Grow by Juanita Havill
    The Neverending Story by Ende

  2. Jenn (Creative Spaces)

    Oh, I agree picking only four is tricky! Okay, I’m cheating a little because two of these are the beginnings of series but. . .

    ALONG FOR THE RIDE by Sarah Dessen
    MASTERPIECE by Elise Broach
    ANASTASIA KRUPNIK by Lois Lowry (Nostalgic pick because this series actually was my most favorite summer reading. I still love re-reading them though and I think they hold up well. That could be nostalgia talking though.)
    SAMMY KEYES by Wendelyn Van Draneen

  3. Mary Quattlebaum

    Hilary McKay’s wry Casson Family series, for sure. And for girls who like Jane Austen, the Regency novels of Georgette Heyer. (They’re billed as romances and sometimes have silly covers but they are witty and stylish and often subvert the romance genre, especially “Cotillion” and “Devil’s Cub.”) My sister and I would read stay up late eating Kraft caramels and reading them as young teens–and we love re-reading them to this day.

  4. Kate

    I’d never be able to choose just four. 🙂

    But my 7th graders create “Top Ten of 2010-2011” lists, and then I compile those to make a “Best-Loved Books” list for the team. My kids take that home to get ideas for summer reading – I’ll post on my blog & will pop back here to share the link when I do.

  5. Ellie Miller

    I’m better on girls than I am for boys. Per the current Cox-Guerdon brouhaha **absolutely* “A Tree Grows in Brookly” (“…age cannot wither…” also “Jane Eyre”(ditto). I would also offer to both, Anne McCaffrey’s “Harper Hall trilogy: ‘Dragonsong, ‘Dragon Singer’ and ‘Dragon Drums” and all five books in Susan Cooper’s “Dark is Rising” series as well as her more recent and delightful time travel, Elizabethan fantasy “King of Shadows”. Obviously I’m an SF buff, so I would certainly include Diane Duane’s now nive volume ‘Young Wizard’ series. I think L.M. Montgomery will never be dated! For girls who’ve already read the Anne’ books, I’d suggest the ‘Emily” trilogy (“New Moon”, “Climbs” and “Quest”). Again for both, Diana Wynne Jones’ ‘Chrestomanci’ series…YES!

  6. Mary

    For middle school I would recommend: Hank the Cowdog series because it’s just plain fun, and of course the standards Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Newer ones would be 39 Clues and the Ranger’s Apprentice (although a little dark).
    For high school: the Alphas and the Luxe series and James Patterson’s Daniel X and Witch and Wizard series.

  7. Sarah

    For a MS list I would have to have Schooled by Gordon Korman – a good reminder about how to accept others, Out of My Mind by Susan Draper is another fabulous read.

    For HS readers, I would have Runner by Carl Deuker, If I Stay by Gayle Forman – I love the sequel too.

    And I am not quite sure what list I would put the Hunger Games Trilogy.

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