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May 23, 2016 A Summer Reading List for Everyone By Brian Smith
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    Ahhhhh! Summer vacation is here or is just on the horizon. For my final blog post this school year I wanted to share summer reading lists for all ages. I’ve divided the books into five different lists but don’t feel bound to one list or another. The lists are:

    I hope that I have covered enough different books that everybody finds something to read, love, and share this summer. The best way to learn about your new favorite book is through word of mouth.

     

    Great Books to Read — and Even Use in Your Classroom


    The War that Saved my LifeThe War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    This is the best book that I have read in several years. I don’t say that lightly. Taking place at the beginning of World War II, you are introduced to 10-year-old Ada, her younger brother Jamie, and their horrible, horrible mother. You realize that the mother makes Cruella de Vil look like Mary Poppins very early on in the book. This book is part history and all amazing. This is the read-aloud that you have been looking for and you didn’t even know it. This is the must read of the summer.

     

     

     

    MockingbirdMockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
    I more than love this book. Caitlyn's story is one that will resonate with every teacher and will really help you tune into some of your students. The biggest endorsement that I can give this book is that I originally read it as a checked-out book from my local library. After reading it, I had to purchase my own copy because I knew that I would be revisiting this journey many, many times.

     

     

     

     

    Night on FireNight on Fire by Ronald Kidd
    The Civil Rights Movement holds so many deeply disturbing stories of our country’s history. Though I traveled through different locations that were major landmarks of this movement as part of a PD group, I was not so familiar with the Freedom Riders journey through Anniston, Alabama. With 13-year-old Billie Sims at the helm of this book, the story is especially real and moving. The writing is phenomenal and by the time Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes an appearance you will be sharing this book with anyone who will listen.

     

     

    Books for the Youngest Readers

     

    Barnacle is BoredBarnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske
    Barnacle may be bored but your kids won’t be because they will be too busy laughing at this super cute book with a fun twist about finding the joy in your life and not constantly wishing to be others! The art is adorable and this is definitely one that will get read repeatedly.

     

     

     

    Animal KingdomAnimal Kingdom by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins
    Do you have a kid that loves Guinness World Records? If you answered yes then take this book on your summer road trip because it will keep them busy and get them so excited that they want to share what they learn with you. The infographics in this book are visually appealing and contain content so unbelievable that you may be temped to fact check it.

     

     

     


    Ada's ViolinAda’s Violin by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
    If you have heard about the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura in Paraguay, then you know that a book about this amazing group of students is a must-own because it’s a true story that is worth spreading. If you haven’t heard of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, you really should! This book is a perfect introduction. You will be inspired and any children in your life may soon have a new hobby. It’s a great way to tie literature into the current makerspace movement that is occurring in education.

     

    Fantastic Chapter Books for the Preteen/Teen Reader


    The Thing about JellyfishThe Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
    The Scientific Method has never been more human, life-affirming or heartbreaking. Ali Benjamin is a genius and this story is one that no reader will soon forget. Suzy Swanson has become selectively mute after losing her ex-best friend. Going through this journey will remind you to look at life as something fragile and precious and that every decision that you make every day matters. The writing is brisk and the story moves along at a such a pace that you won’t believe how fast the pages turn.

     

     

    EchoEcho by Pam Munoz Ryan
    Three princesses. One harmonica. Three time periods in history. One remarkable story that spans decades and takes you on a wonderfully twisted and emotional journey. You will fall in love with Friedrich, Mike and Frankie, and Ivy as you read about their trials and tribulations and how music was their saving grace. It’s a story that you will recommend to others long after you finished the final page.

     

     

     

     

    One for the MurphysOne for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
    This isn’t the newest book on this list but if you don’t know it you need to. Twelve-year-old Carley Connors has been taken into foster care and placed in the home of the Murphys. I once read chapter 13 as a read-aloud to a class of elementary majors at a local university and they were hooked less than a fourth of the way through this terrific story of how "perfect" can have its flaws but still be perfect for you.

     

     

     

    GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
    This is a wonderful story about a fourth grader named George who knows that he is a girl who was born in a boy’s body. I adore books that introduce the readers to a new type of character and a young transgender main characters is an area of literature that is new. George’s sense of self is so established, yet the need to hide it for much of the book is so strong, that the conflict is both external and internal. It is a book that you won’t be able to put down.

     

     

    Just Great Books for Older Readers


    Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
    I could not put this book down and yet I never wanted it to end. A.J. Fikry feels like a friend by the time you have finished this book. The setting — Island Books on Alice Island — feels like every little bookstore that I’ve ever visited and yet one that I have a deep desire to visit for the first time. I love how Fikry pictures everyone he meets as a character in a novel. By overgeneralizing life, he is missing so much of it, until Maya comes along! I better not say anymore because I don’t want to ruin anything, but I guarantee that you don’t want to miss this book.

     

     

    Of Better BloodOf Better Blood by Susan Moger
    Rowan Collier lived a charmed life. She was from good stock back in the 1920s when being from a prominent family was all that mattered. This book really shook me to the core. I couldn’t stop thinking about it or talking about it as I wanted to know who else knew about this time in our history besides the author. The line between fiction and historical accuracy is so fine in this book that it really speaks to Moger’s ability to write. Rowan and Dorchy will grab hold of your heart as their story keeps you on the edge of your seat.

     

     

    My Summer Reading List

    I wanted to list the books that I am planning on reading this summer because I would love for you to read along with me. Share your thoughts on these books on Twitter using #booktweeps to see how myself and others are also feeling about these books.

    Challenger DeepChallenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
    Heard about this title from several friends and from what they said it’s pretty intense. I’m looking forward to the journey this book promises to take me on.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    PaxPax by Sara Pennypacker
    This one is on my list because one of my friends from #booktweeps recommended it and I totally trust her literary choices.

     

     

     

     

     

    Connect the StarsConnect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
    Can’t wait to dig into this book about two students on a six-week intensive wilderness trek because it promises the unthinkable and I always love books with resilient characters.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    UngiftedUngifted by Gordon Korman
    I’m going to be honest. I’m totally going to read this book because the cover called to me! I must know what is going on so if you have read it — please don’t spoil it for me!

     

     

     

     

     

    I hope that you have a great summer with these titles and I can’t wait to see you next school year when I will bring you lots of book lists with great extension activities that cover everything from back-to-school ice breakers, the upcoming presidential election, STEM, and many others.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next school year.

    Ahhhhh! Summer vacation is here or is just on the horizon. For my final blog post this school year I wanted to share summer reading lists for all ages. I’ve divided the books into five different lists but don’t feel bound to one list or another. The lists are:

    I hope that I have covered enough different books that everybody finds something to read, love, and share this summer. The best way to learn about your new favorite book is through word of mouth.

     

    Great Books to Read — and Even Use in Your Classroom


    The War that Saved my LifeThe War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
    This is the best book that I have read in several years. I don’t say that lightly. Taking place at the beginning of World War II, you are introduced to 10-year-old Ada, her younger brother Jamie, and their horrible, horrible mother. You realize that the mother makes Cruella de Vil look like Mary Poppins very early on in the book. This book is part history and all amazing. This is the read-aloud that you have been looking for and you didn’t even know it. This is the must read of the summer.

     

     

     

    MockingbirdMockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
    I more than love this book. Caitlyn's story is one that will resonate with every teacher and will really help you tune into some of your students. The biggest endorsement that I can give this book is that I originally read it as a checked-out book from my local library. After reading it, I had to purchase my own copy because I knew that I would be revisiting this journey many, many times.

     

     

     

     

    Night on FireNight on Fire by Ronald Kidd
    The Civil Rights Movement holds so many deeply disturbing stories of our country’s history. Though I traveled through different locations that were major landmarks of this movement as part of a PD group, I was not so familiar with the Freedom Riders journey through Anniston, Alabama. With 13-year-old Billie Sims at the helm of this book, the story is especially real and moving. The writing is phenomenal and by the time Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes an appearance you will be sharing this book with anyone who will listen.

     

     

    Books for the Youngest Readers

     

    Barnacle is BoredBarnacle is Bored by Jonathan Fenske
    Barnacle may be bored but your kids won’t be because they will be too busy laughing at this super cute book with a fun twist about finding the joy in your life and not constantly wishing to be others! The art is adorable and this is definitely one that will get read repeatedly.

     

     

     

    Animal KingdomAnimal Kingdom by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins
    Do you have a kid that loves Guinness World Records? If you answered yes then take this book on your summer road trip because it will keep them busy and get them so excited that they want to share what they learn with you. The infographics in this book are visually appealing and contain content so unbelievable that you may be temped to fact check it.

     

     

     


    Ada's ViolinAda’s Violin by Susan Hood and illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
    If you have heard about the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura in Paraguay, then you know that a book about this amazing group of students is a must-own because it’s a true story that is worth spreading. If you haven’t heard of the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura, you really should! This book is a perfect introduction. You will be inspired and any children in your life may soon have a new hobby. It’s a great way to tie literature into the current makerspace movement that is occurring in education.

     

    Fantastic Chapter Books for the Preteen/Teen Reader


    The Thing about JellyfishThe Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
    The Scientific Method has never been more human, life-affirming or heartbreaking. Ali Benjamin is a genius and this story is one that no reader will soon forget. Suzy Swanson has become selectively mute after losing her ex-best friend. Going through this journey will remind you to look at life as something fragile and precious and that every decision that you make every day matters. The writing is brisk and the story moves along at a such a pace that you won’t believe how fast the pages turn.

     

     

    EchoEcho by Pam Munoz Ryan
    Three princesses. One harmonica. Three time periods in history. One remarkable story that spans decades and takes you on a wonderfully twisted and emotional journey. You will fall in love with Friedrich, Mike and Frankie, and Ivy as you read about their trials and tribulations and how music was their saving grace. It’s a story that you will recommend to others long after you finished the final page.

     

     

     

     

    One for the MurphysOne for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
    This isn’t the newest book on this list but if you don’t know it you need to. Twelve-year-old Carley Connors has been taken into foster care and placed in the home of the Murphys. I once read chapter 13 as a read-aloud to a class of elementary majors at a local university and they were hooked less than a fourth of the way through this terrific story of how "perfect" can have its flaws but still be perfect for you.

     

     

     

    GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
    This is a wonderful story about a fourth grader named George who knows that he is a girl who was born in a boy’s body. I adore books that introduce the readers to a new type of character and a young transgender main characters is an area of literature that is new. George’s sense of self is so established, yet the need to hide it for much of the book is so strong, that the conflict is both external and internal. It is a book that you won’t be able to put down.

     

     

    Just Great Books for Older Readers


    Storied Life of A.J. FikryThe Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
    I could not put this book down and yet I never wanted it to end. A.J. Fikry feels like a friend by the time you have finished this book. The setting — Island Books on Alice Island — feels like every little bookstore that I’ve ever visited and yet one that I have a deep desire to visit for the first time. I love how Fikry pictures everyone he meets as a character in a novel. By overgeneralizing life, he is missing so much of it, until Maya comes along! I better not say anymore because I don’t want to ruin anything, but I guarantee that you don’t want to miss this book.

     

     

    Of Better BloodOf Better Blood by Susan Moger
    Rowan Collier lived a charmed life. She was from good stock back in the 1920s when being from a prominent family was all that mattered. This book really shook me to the core. I couldn’t stop thinking about it or talking about it as I wanted to know who else knew about this time in our history besides the author. The line between fiction and historical accuracy is so fine in this book that it really speaks to Moger’s ability to write. Rowan and Dorchy will grab hold of your heart as their story keeps you on the edge of your seat.

     

     

    My Summer Reading List

    I wanted to list the books that I am planning on reading this summer because I would love for you to read along with me. Share your thoughts on these books on Twitter using #booktweeps to see how myself and others are also feeling about these books.

    Challenger DeepChallenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
    Heard about this title from several friends and from what they said it’s pretty intense. I’m looking forward to the journey this book promises to take me on.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    PaxPax by Sara Pennypacker
    This one is on my list because one of my friends from #booktweeps recommended it and I totally trust her literary choices.

     

     

     

     

     

    Connect the StarsConnect the Stars by Marisa de los Santos and David Teague
    Can’t wait to dig into this book about two students on a six-week intensive wilderness trek because it promises the unthinkable and I always love books with resilient characters.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    UngiftedUngifted by Gordon Korman
    I’m going to be honest. I’m totally going to read this book because the cover called to me! I must know what is going on so if you have read it — please don’t spoil it for me!

     

     

     

     

     

    I hope that you have a great summer with these titles and I can’t wait to see you next school year when I will bring you lots of book lists with great extension activities that cover everything from back-to-school ice breakers, the upcoming presidential election, STEM, and many others.

    Connect with me, dad2ella, on Twitter and Pinterest.

    I can’t wait to see you next school year.

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