By this point in the school year, you know full well the tastes of the young readers in your class. Their interests are as diverse as their skill levels, but they’re equal in their passion for reading. And you want to keep that going throughout the summer break.

There’s no better way to set your students up for summer reading success than to personally recommend books that you know they’ll love. To help you, we’ve scoured the newest releases for 20 surefire hits across reading levels and genres. We have bug books for nature lovers, mysteries for detective fans, adventures for those in search of action-packed cliff-hangers—and just about everything in between. No matter where your students’ summer travels take them, we hope they have a book in their bag and a story in their hearts.

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

Instructor's 2014 Summer Reading List

Picture-Book Picks: Grades K-2

Some Bugs
By Angela DiTerlizzi, illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. $17.99.
A perfect primer on bugs, this book introduces young readers to the sights and sounds of insects. Its simple text and colorful, detailed pictures will have your students buzzing.

It’s an Orange Aardvark!
By Michael Hall. $17.99.
If your young ­readers enjoy Eric Carle and Lois Ehlert, Hall’s book will be right up their alley. The story follows five ants that drill holes in their tree-stump home and concoct a story about the colorful aardvark lurking on the other side.

Rules of Summer
By Shaun Tan. $18.99.
With its running list of rules (“Never be late for a parade”), the text in best-­selling author Tan’s new book is deceptively simple. It’s the intricate—and dark—paintings that tell most of the story about a boy and his older brother.

By Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans. $16.99.
In this delightful story, Sparky’s young owner learns that when it comes to sloths, what you see is what you get. The watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are masterful.

The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
By Peter Sís. $18.99.
This illustrated biography traces the life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, author of The Little Prince. Timelines and maps are incorporated in a whimsical way that’s not often seen in nonfiction texts.

Help! We Need a Title!
By Hervé Tullet. $16.99.
From the author of Press Here comes a book that’s a work in progress—literally. The characters scramble to draw pictures and ­develop a story while they track down the author.

Baby Bear
By Kadir Nelson. $17.99.
Nelson, winner of the Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Author and Illustrator Awards, has written a heartwarming tale about a baby bear that loses his way. Each painting in the book is worthy of framing.

Middle-Grade Marvels: Grades 3-5

A Snicker of Magic
By Natalie Lloyd. $16.99.
When Felicity Pickle turns up in the town of Midnight Gulch, she senses a snicker of long-gone magic in the air. She uses her way with words to find where the magic has gone.

Terrors of the Deep
By Deborah Lock. $5.99.
Take a dive into the depths of the Pacific Ocean aboard a submarine. Terrors of the Deep is packed with facts, diagrams, and photos that any budding marine biologist will love.

Half a Chance
By Cynthia Lord. $16.99.
Lord gracefully handled the subject of autism in Rules and has done it again with dementia in Half a Chance. Lucy faces a moral dilemma about whether to enter a photo of her friend’s ailing grandmother in a contest.

Recipe for Adventure: Naples!
By Giada De Laurentiis. $6.99.
In this series by famed TV chef De Laurentiis, siblings Alfie and Emilia travel to cities around the world known for their food, including Naples, Paris, and New Orleans. Each book contains two recipes for the young cooks in your life.

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish: The Seaquel
By Mo O’Hara, illustrated by Marek Jagucki. $12.99.
Following on the heels of its popular predecessor, the story follows protagonist Tom and his hypnotic goldfish Frankie as they take on big brothers and a Super Electric Zombie Eel.

Nightingale’s Nest
By Nikki Loftin. $16.99.
Inspired by a Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale, this story is as heartbreaking as it is magical. Little John is struggling with his sister’s death when he meets a girl whose mesmerizing voice has the power to heal. He ultimately must face a difficult decision between family and friendship.

Under the Egg
By Laura Marx Fitzgerald. $16.99.
Theo accidentally spills rubbing alcohol on a painting that belonged to her late grandfather, revealing what she thinks is a masterpiece. She searches for answers about why her grandfather—a former security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art—might have owned this work of art.

Just Jake
By Jake Marcionette. $11.99.
Written for kids by a kid, this book is a good pick for fans of series like Timmy Failure and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Teen author Jake Marcionette is sure to make your students laugh with his humorous, semi-autobiographical story about popularity and acceptance.

Young-Adult Adventures: Grades 6-8

By Skila Brown. $15.99.
Told in verse and inspired by true events, this coming-of-age story finds Carlos in the middle of Guatemala’s civil war in 1981. The boy is tasked with warning his family members about the approaching soldiers.

The Mark of the Dragonfly
By Jaleigh Johnson. $16.99.
In this fantasy adventure novel, Piper discovers a girl in the wreckage of the Meteor Fields and must help her find her way home to the Dragonfly Territories.

The Riverman
By Aaron Starmer. $15.99.
Fiona Loomis tells her friend Alistair Cleary that a creature called the Riverman is stealing the souls of children—and she will be next. In this first book of a trilogy, Alistair must figure out if Fiona’s tale is truth or fiction.

The Boundless
By Kenneth Oppel. $16.99.
Protagonist Will travels aboard a train called The Boundless as it chugs its way across the Canadian Pacific Railway. Will fends off all sorts of villains intent on stealing a key that unlocks the train’s treasures.

The Finisher
By David Baldacci. $17.99.
New York Times best-selling author Baldacci tells the tale of teenage Vega, who leaves the village of Wormwood for the first time in search of a kindly family friend. Along the way, she must navigate a forest of beasts and uncover long-lost secrets.

Pure Grit: How American World War II Nurses Survived Battle and Prison Camp in
the Pacific

By Mary Cronk Farrell. $24.95.
A detailed work of nonfiction, Pure Grit recounts the saga of 101 brave women who served as Army and Navy nurses in the Philippines during World War II and were taken
prisoner by the Japanese.


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Image: Greg Lord