A tween girl enters a mysterious school for thieves. An elementary-age entrepreneur makes some super silly mistakes. A bunch of crayons write letters of complaint to their user. The stories that capture our attention as adults are uniquely personal—and the same is true with kids. In the new Kids & Family Reading Report, issued by Scholastic, 92 percent of kids say they are more likely to finish a book if they have chosen it themselves (see Key Data on Kid Reading).

Over summer break, you may not be there to inspire your students to pick up a book, but you can equip them with plenty of captivating options geared toward their abilities and interests. Not sure which ones to suggest? We’ve scoured newly released titles across grade levels and genres to find books that make for perfect summer reading.

Download an easy-to-print PDF of our Summer Book List to share with your students:

Ultimate Summer Book List PDF

Illustrated Masterpieces

These wordless (or nearly wordless) books are works of art.

By Wendy Anderson Halperin. $16.99.
This beautifully illustrated book—with quotes incorporated into each drawing—contains a simple recipe for peace. Grades PreK–2

By Bob Staake. $17.99.
No words are necessary to tell this powerful story about bullying and an unexpected friendship. The artwork, in a geometric style with blue-gray shades, speaks volumes. Grades K–3

The Bird King: An Artist’s Notebook
By Shaun Tan. $19.99.
The author of The Arrival shares his sketches and artwork, revealing his creative process. This book is a must-have for the middle-grade art lovers in your life. Grades 3–8

Multicultural Picks

Kids can explore far-flung places without leaving their favorite summer-reading hideaways.

The Mighty Lalouche
By Matthew Olshan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall. $17.99.
This illustrated work of historical fiction takes you back “one hundred and a few-odd years” to Paris to meet
a petite postman turned championship boxer. Grades K–3

Brush of the Gods
By Lenore Look, illustrated by Meilo So. $17.99.
Little is known about Wu Daozi, a Tang dynasty–era painter. Look and So have imagined a story about his life and magical disappearance. Grades 1–4

The Girl With a Brave Heart: A Tale From Tehran
By Rita Jahanforuz, illustrated by Vali Mintzi. $7.99.
In the tradition of Iranian storytelling, The Girl With a Brave Heart is set in the streets of Tehran. It tells of a young girl who follows her heart and finds beauty where it takes her. Grades 2–5

Notable Authors

You can’t go wrong with the newest books from these acclaimed writers.

That Is Not a Good Idea!
By Mo Willems. $17.99. From the author of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! and Knuffle Bunny comes another charmingly illustrated, unexpected, and laugh-out-loud story that both parents and children can relate to. Grades PreK–2

P.S. Be Eleven
By Rita Williams-Garcia. $16.99.
This sequel is a surefire hit for readers who liked One Crazy Summer, which earned Williams-Garcia the Coretta Scott King Book Award. Back in Brooklyn after her summer in Oakland, California, Delphine struggles with her mom’s advice to “be eleven” when she’s already turned 12. Grades 3–6

Darius & Twig
By Walter Dean Myers. $17.99.
From the author of Monster and countless other young adult novels comes Darius & Twig, a story of friendship and the search for self. Grades 7 and up

The Best of Summer Nonfiction

Nothing says summer like the ocean (and its inhabitants) and celebrating all things American.

Discover More: Sharks
By David Burnie. $12.99.
This informative book is packed with fascinating photos and graphics. A code inside gives readers access to a free digital version of the book. Grades 2–5

America the Beautiful: Together We Stand
By Katharine Lee Bates, illustrated by Bryan Collier et al. $17.99.
The book weaves together the lyrics of “America the Beautiful,” written by Bates, with inspirational quotes from presidents and stunning illustrations from a number of renowned artists. Grades PreK–5

New Takes on Old Favorites

These classic tales are back—with a twist.

The Three Little Pigs and the Somewhat Bad Wolf
By Mark Teague. $16.99.
Teague’s picture book will delight readers with its humorous reworking of the beloved fairy tale. (Read an interview with the author here). Grades PreK–2

Amelia Bedelia’s First Library Card
By Herman Parish, illustrated
by Lynne Avril. $17.99. Believe it or not, Amelia Bedelia turns 50 this year (and she has a whole new look). In this book, part of the spin-off series about Amelia in her younger years, the “punny” protagonist explores her local library. Grades PreK–2

The Wizard of Oz
By L. Frank Baum. $7.99.
The covers of old-time favorites such as Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, originally published in 1900, have a new look, thanks to the Puffin Chalk Collection. Beautiful custom-chalk designs adorn this and other classics, including Pippi Longstocking and Peter Pan. Grades 3 and up

Action and Adventure

These action-packed books are perfect for your most intrepid students.

The Beginner’s Guide to Running Away From Home
By Jennifer Larue Huget, illustrated by Red Nose Studio. $17.99.
With its funky clay-sculpture art and sympathetic main character, this guidebook provides everything kids need to know to strike out on their own. Grades PreK–2

By Jeffrey Salane. $16.99.
Action? Check. Adventure? Check. The book’s main character, M Freeman, finds plenty of both when she arrives at the Lawless School to study criminal mischief. Grades 4–8

Seven Wonders: The Colossus Rises
By Peter Lerangis. $17.99. Lerangis kicks off a new adventure series that follows a group of friends in search of seven magical objects. Grades 3–6

Guaranteed Giggles

Looking to recommend a tickle-your-funny-bone kind of tale? These are humorous books kids can relate to.

The Day the Crayons Quit
By Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. $17.99.
A cohort of quirky crayons have a thing or two to say to the little boy who colors with them. Pair this book with Shane DeRolf’s The Crayon Box That Talked. Grades PreK–2

The Life of Ty: Penguin Problems
By Lauren Myracle, illustrated by Jed Henry. $12.99.
From the author of The Winnie Years series comes a book about Winnie’s younger brother, Ty. Early chapter-book readers will get a chuckle out of Ty’s crazy antics. Grades 1–4 

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made
By Stephan Pastis. $14.99. If your young readers liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid, chances are they’ll fall for Timmy Failure. Interspersed with comical drawings, the story follows Timmy on his entrepreneurial adventure.
Grades 3–6

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Image: Roger Hagadone