Library Cards: Your Global Passport

By Suzanne McCabe, editor-at-large, Scholastic Inc.

Who doesn’t love a good library card story? At Scholastic, we can’t get enough of them.

One story that has stuck in my mind for years comes from George Miles, a childhood friend’s older brother. In 2010, George was inducted into the Hall of Fame at our local high school. He recalled that on his eighth birthday, his father burst into his room and brought him to the public library to apply for a card. George’s mother sweetened the deal: If he read his first library book, she would buy it for him. So began a life of adventure — and a boundless quest for knowledge. Today, George is the curator of Western Americana at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University.

“I never set out to be a librarian,” George said. “But in retrospect, it seems almost inevitable.”

As students embark on their summer adventures — with the demands of the Common Core ahead — we wanted to give them a sense of the possibilities that are only a library card away.

As first-grade teacher and reading expert Maria Walther told a Scholastic colleague earlier this year: “We are setting ourselves up for failure if we put forth all these grand ideas of voluminous, independent complex text reading, but then don’t offer students voluminous, joyful reading experiences each and every day.”

Whether your students travel the world this summer, or don’t leave home, here are some books that will offer breathtaking vistas and extraordinary insights with the scan of a library card.

Summer at the Library: Recommended Reads

Grades K-1
Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak
When Max dons his wolf suit after being sent to bed without supper, a forest grows in his room, leading him to a magical world of forbidding creatures.

This is London
Miroslav Sasek
Illustrations bring this great capital city, with its historic monuments, bridges, parks — and unique taxis! — to life.

Grades 2-3
Magic Tree House series
Mary Pope Osborne
Follow Jack and Annie as they travel back in time and discover clues about dinosaurs, encounter knights in medieval castles, become trapped in an ancient Egyptian pyramid, and fall into the hands of a crafty pirate.

Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade
Melissa Sweet
Meet the brilliant inventor of the “upside-down puppets” that have made the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade famous around the world.

Grades 4-5
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
E.L. Konigsburg
When Claudia and Jamie run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, they get caught up in the mystery of a statue that may or may not be worth millions of dollars.

The Groovy Greeks
Terry Deary
Find out who had the world’s first flushing toilet, why dedicated doctors tasted their patients’ earwax, and more.

Grades 6-8
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeline L’Engle
Follow Meg Murry and her companions as they search for her father, a scientist who disappeared while doing secret work for the government.

Grades 9-10
I Am the Cheese
Robert Cormier
If Adam can’t unlock his family’s secret past, his entire identity could be stripped away.

The Great Fire
Jim Murphy
The story of Chicago’s infamous fire of 1871 is recounted through the eyes of the firefighters, reporters, and ordinary citizens who lived through it.

Grades 11-12
The Boy on the Bridge
Natalie Standiford
When Laura Reid spends a semester in Leningrad at the height of the Cold War, she finds intrigue as gripping as anything in a spy novel.

This is London
Edward R. Murrow
The great journalist’s accounts of London during World War II—from life underground during the Blitz to night raids—still have an immediacy.

Read more from Suzanne about the best practices in education at
Connect Kids With Books They Want to
Read – Schedule a Book Fair Today!

Summer Challenge
Kindergarten Readiness
What is your biggest challenge implementing the Common Core?
Finding appropriate nonfiction for my students0%
Helping struggling readers and English language learners0%
Crafting evidence-based questions0%
Helping students develop their writing skills.0%