Dive into a good book this summer – the water is warm!
If you’re concerned that your child won’t be reading much more than text messages or the backs of cereal boxes this summer, then this list is for you. Arranged by grade level, these books cover everything from a toy maker named Howard G. Whiz to underwear-clad superheroes. Intrigued? Find more beloved book characters on Kideos. Happy reading!
Hot Rod Hamster, by Cynthia Lord
If your little one gets revved up by cars and animals, then this story will be just the ticket. The rollicking tale follows a hamster looking for a hot rod to carry him away from his underdog status. A speedy read from start to finish. (Scholastic)
The Story Tree, by Hugh Lupton
These folktales may have roots in other times and distant places, but their childhood appeal remains constant. The seven stories in this collection, including The Three Billy Goats Gruff, are ideal for the read-aloud crowd. The rhythm and repetition inspire an interactive (read: loud) experience, as kids will want to join in the fun. (Barefoot Books)
Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures: The Mount Rushmore Calamity, by Sara Pennypacker, created by Jeff Brown
You might think that getting hit by a falling bulletin board might squash your plans; not so for Stanley, who as a result of said board is only a half-inch thick. Being able to soar like a kite and slip under doors has its advantages, as readers will learn in this fun-filled story of adventure. (HarperCollins)
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, Chris Van Allsburg
Fritz is a spirited dog who digs up trouble for the fun of it. On the afternoon that Alan is pet sitting, Fritz wanders off into a creepy garden owned by the nasty former magician Abdul Gasazi. Alan follows the dog but cannot find him; instead he finds Gasazi, who says he has turned Fritz into a duck. (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children)
The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden
What happens when a savvy city mouse and a countrified cricket meet in a Times Square subway station? They have exciting adventures together, of course. Awarded a Newbery Honor in the 1960s, Cricket continues to charm young readers. (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
The Adventures of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
Take a deep breath and think back to second grade. Now, what’s funnier than a superhero who wears his Skivvies and little else while saving the world? All right, potty jokes may be hard to beat, but this book features both. (Scholastic)
The Unusual Mind of Vincent Shadow, by Tim Kehoe
Imagine flying a windless kite or playing with a water gun that you never have to refill. A boy named Vincent Shadow did and then made these and other amazing toys a reality—within the pages of this book, at least. Vincent enters a contest sponsored by successful toymaker Howard G. Whiz and… You didn’t really think we’d give anything away, did you?
Hank Zipzer, The World’s Greatest Underachiever: A Brand-New Me!, by Henry Winkler
Graduating from elementary school is typically cause for celebration, unless it means that you and your best friends will be attending different schools in the fall. That’s bad enough, but then Hank finds out that he’s stuck in a middle school for “regular” kids while his friends will be going to “genius” school. This is the last in a 17-book series about a boy who refuses to let his learning disability slow him down. (Penguin)
Stonewall Hinkleman and the Battle of Bull Run, by Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger
Meet 7th-grader Stonewall Hinkleman: the unwilling “Bugle Boy” in various Civil War reenactments. Pushed into the pastime by his parents, Stonewall would love to escape this role. Instead, he gets sent back in time with his crush, Ashby, to the Battle of Bull Run. While there, Stonewall enters a struggle to preserve the course of history. (Dial)
100 Cupboards, by N.D. Wilson
In the tradition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, this book tells the story of a boy who finds doors to another world. When his cousin disappears, Henry, 12, sets out on an adventure to find her. This is the first book in a series. (Random House)
39 Clues: Beyond the Grave, by Jude Watson
Fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her brother Dan, 11, embark on a worldwide quest to find the 39 clues that their beloved grandmother left behind. The clues lead to incredible wealth and enormous power, and as a result distant relatives have appeared and formed teams to capture the clues. Readers also have the opportunity to hunt for the clues online. (Scholastic)
The Fizzy Whiz Kid, by Maiya Williams
Sixth-grader Mitch Mathis has been the “new kid” in several schools over the years. As a result, he has learned not to stand out by adhering to a few simple rules: never wear pants that are too short or sneakers that are too white, and don’t hang out with the class egghead. When his family moves to Hollywood, California, Mitch learns that he will need more than three simple rules to keep from becoming known as the class wierdo. (Amulet Books)
The House of Many Ways, by Diana Wynne Jones
Smart but sheltered Charmain Baker barely knows how to do anything herself other than eat. Her parents have catered to her every need; so when she’s chosen to watch over a distant relative’s house while he’s sick, it’s quite an adjustment—even more so after she discovers the invisible hallways, talking rooms and mysterious spell books.
Scat, by Carl Hiaasen
This eco-thriller brings together an orphaned panther cub, a wounded soldier from Iraq, a missing biology teacher, and more to great effect. An oily businessman decides to drill for oil in Black Vine Swamp, but if he does the protected wildlife there will be threatened. A witty and entertaining read with a very timely message. (Knopf Books for Young Readers)