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2017 Summer Reading List Elementary G3-G5

View all Recommendations by Age > Recommendations for Age 4-8 book lists; This list was last updated on 6/7/2017
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Reading can be one of the many fun activities children choose to fill their summer time. Research has shown it is also much more! Children who participate in public library summer reading programs make achievement leaps during the summer and score higher on fall reading achievement tests. The books on this list come highly recommended by kid readers from all over the country and may also be available in ebook, audio book, braille, and large print formats. This summer, take your child to participate in the summer programs happening at your library.

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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Moo: A Novel

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech's Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we're open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family's momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old Reena and one very ornery cow.

When Reena, her little brother, Luke, and their parents first move to Maine, Reena doesn't know what to expect. She's ready for beaches, blueberries, and all the lobster she can eat. Instead, her parents “volunteer” Reena and Luke to work for an eccentric neighbor named Mrs. Falala, who has a pig named Paulie, a cat named China, a snake named Edna—and that stubborn cow, Zora.

This heartwarming story, told in a blend of poetry and prose, reveals the bonds that emerge when we let others into our lives.

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Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea (A Narwhal and Jelly Book)
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.

A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever -- even though it doesn't have any words...or pictures!

Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship, the benefits of working together and the power of imagination in the delightful Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea.
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Nothing but Trouble

From the acclaimed author of The Lemonade War comes a new book starring two smart girls determined to liven up their town—one epic prank at a time.

Odawahaka has always been too small for Maggie's big scientific ideas. Between her stuck-in-a-rut mom, her grumpy grandpop, and the lifetime supply of sludgy soda in the fridge, it's hard for Maggie to imagine a change. 

But when Lena moves in with her creative spirit and outrageous perspective, middle school takes off with a bang. Someone starts pulling the kind of pranks that send their rule-loving new principal into an uproar—complete with purple puffs of smoke, parachuting mice, and a scavenger hunt that leads to secret passageways. Suddenly the same-old football games, election for class president, and embarrassing stories feel almost exciting. And for the first time in her life, Maggie begins to wonder if there might be more to Odawahaka than she ever saw coming!

Humorous, smart, and full of small-town heart, Nothing But Trouble will have mischief-loving readers caught up in the cleverness and determination of two girls who can't be held down.

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Oona Finds an Egg (The Oodlethunks #1)
Oona has found a very special egg. Oh, how she loves her baby! She'll do anything to protect this egg until it hatches. Then she can find out what's inside, even though it might just gobble her up! But Oona's precious bundle of eggy joy may never see the light of day. It seems everyone wants Oona's egg. Her little brother, Thunk, that smelly kid, Bruce Brute, and a bunch of others in her West Wog world all want a piece of Oona's treasure. Oona the protector, Oona the curious, Oona the mighty will do whatever it takes to safeguard her darling. No one will get their grimy, Cro-Magnony hands on her egg. Because, more than anything, Oona wants something of her very own to care for.

National Book Award finalist Adele Griffin pairs with artist Mike Wu to deliver a cast of lovable, primitive family and friends in West Wog. The stories pop with adventure, original language, and an unstoppable protagonist who is as adorable as the egg she's working so hard to protect.
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Pax

National Book Award Longlist * New York Times Bestseller

From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come.

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild.

At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox.

Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .

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Makoons (Birchbark House)

In the sequel to Chickadee, acclaimed author Louise Erdrich continues her award-winning Birchbark House series with the story of an Ojibwe family in nineteenth-century America.

Named for the Ojibwe word for little bear, Makoons and his twin, Chickadee, have traveled with their family to the Great Plains of Dakota Territory. There they must learn to become buffalo hunters and once again help their people make a home in a new land. But Makoons has had a vision that foretells great challenges—challenges that his family may not be able to overcome.

Based on Louise Erdrich's own family history, this fifth book in the series features black-and-white interior illustrations, a note from the author about her research, as well as a map and glossary of Ojibwe terms.

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Lola Levine Is Not Mean!
Lola Levine likes writing in her diario, sipping her mom's cafe con leche, eating her dad's matzo ball soup, and playing soccer with her team, the Orange Smoothies. So what if she doesn't always fit in?

Lola is fierce on the field, but when a soccer game during recess gets too competitive, she accidentally hurts her classmate Juan Gomez. Now everyone is calling her Mean Lola Levine! Lola feels terrible, but with the help of her family, her super best friend, Josh Blot, and a little "pencil power," she just might be able to turn it all around.

In this first book in a series, young readers will be inspired by Lola's big heart and creative spirit as she learns to navigate the second grade in true Lola style!
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The Last Kids on Earth
"Terrifyingly fun! Delivers big thrills and even bigger laughs."--Jeff Kinney, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Diary of a Wimpy Kid
 meets The Walking Dead in this very funny post-apocalyptic graphic novel for middle-grade readers. 


Ever since the monster apocalypse hit town, average thirteen year old Jack Sullivan has been living in his tree house, which he's armed to the teeth with catapults and a moat, not to mention video games and an endless supply of Oreos and Mountain Dew scavenged from abandoned stores. But Jack alone is no match for the hordes of Zombies and Winged Wretches and Vine Thingies, and especially not for the eerily intelligent monster known only as Blarg. So Jack builds a team: his dorky best friend, Quint; the reformed middle school bully, Dirk; Jack's loyal pet monster, Rover; and Jack's crush, June. With their help, Jack is going to slay Blarg, achieve the ultimate Feat of Apocalyptic Success, and be average no longer! Can he do it? 

Told in a mixture of text and black-and-white illustration, this is the perfect book for any kid who's ever dreamed of starring in his or her own comic book or video game. And then grab the sequel, The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade, now a New York Times bestseller!
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The Jumbies
Corinne La Mer claims she isn't afraid of anything. Not scorpions, not the boys who tease her, and certainly not jumbies. They're just tricksters made up by parents to frighten their children. Then one night Corinne chases an agouti all the way into the forbidden forest, and shining yellow eyes follow her to the edge of the trees. They couldn't belong to a jumbie. Or could they?

When Corinne spots a beautiful stranger at the market the very next day, she knows something extraordinary is about to happen. When this same beauty, called Severine, turns up at Corinne's house, danger is in the air. Severine plans to claim the entire island for the jumbies. Corinne must call on her courage and her friends and learn to use ancient magic she didn't know she possessed to stop Severine and to save her island home.
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Juana and Lucas
Winner of the 2017 Pura Belpré Author Award

Fans of Judy Moody and Clarice Bean will love Juana, the spunky young Colombian girl who stars in this playful, abundantly illustrated new series.


Juana loves many things — drawing, eating Brussels sprouts, living in Bogotá, Colombia, and especially her dog, Lucas, the best amigo ever. She does not love wearing her itchy school uniform, solving math problems, or going to dance class. And she especially does not love learning the English. Why is it so important to learn a language that makes so little sense? But when Juana's abuelos tell her about a special trip they are planning—one that Juana will need to speak English to go on—Juana begins to wonder whether learning the English might be a good use of her time after all. Hilarious, energetic, and utterly relatable, Juana will win over los corazones — the heartsof readers everywhere in her first adventure, presented by namesake Juana Medina.
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Jazz Day: The Making of a Famous Photograph
What happens when you invite as many jazz musicians as you can to pose for a photo in 1950s Harlem? Playful verse and glorious artwork capture an iconic moment for American jazz.

When Esquire magazine planned an issue to salute the American jazz scene in 1958, graphic designer Art Kane pitched a crazy idea: how about gathering a group of beloved jazz musicians and photographing them? He didn't own a good camera, didn't know if any musicians would show up, and insisted on setting up the shoot in front of a Harlem brownstone. Could he pull it off? In a captivating collection of poems, Roxane Orgill steps into the frame of Harlem 1958, bringing to life the musicians' mischief and quirks, their memorable style, and the vivacious atmosphere of a Harlem block full of kids on a hot summer's day. Francis Vallejo's vibrant, detailed, and wonderfully expressive paintings do loving justice to the larger-than-life quality of jazz musicians of the era. Includes bios of several of the fifty-seven musicians, an author's note, sources, a bibliography, and a foldout of Art Kane's famous photograph.
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Hiawatha and the Peacemaker
Born of Mohawk and Cayuga descent, musical icon Robbie Robertson learned the story of Hiawatha and his spiritual guide, the Peacemaker, as part of the Iroquois oral tradition. Now he shares the same gift of storytelling with a new generation.

Hiawatha was a strong and articulate Mohawk who was chosen to translate the Peacemaker's message of unity for the five warring Iroquois nations during the 14th century. This message not only succeeded in uniting the tribes but also forever changed how the Iroquois governed themselves—a blueprint for democracy that would later inspire the authors of the U.S. Constitution.

Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator David Shannon brings the journey of Hiawatha and the Peacemaker to life with arresting oil paintings. Together, Robertson and Shannon have crafted a new children's classic that will both educate and inspire readers of all ages.

Includes a CD featuring a new, original song written and performed by Robbie Robertson.
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Garvey's Choice
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year

A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

Garvey's father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only friend encourages him to join the school chorus, Garvey's life changes. The chorus finds a new soloist in Garvey, and through chorus, Garvey finds a way to accept himself, and a way to finally reach his distant father—by speaking the language of music instead of the language of sports. This emotionally resonant novel in verse by award-winning author Nikki Grimes celebrates choosing to be true to yourself.
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Full of Beans
Return to the wonderful world of Newbery Honor Book Turtle in Paradise through the eyes of Turtle's cousin Beans!
 
Five Starred Reviews!
A New York Public Library Best Book for Kids, 2016

Grown-ups lie. That's one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away, because they are the savviest bunch of barefoot conchs (that means “locals”) in all of Key West. Not that Beans really minds; it's 1934, the middle of the Great Depression. With no jobs on the island, and no money anywhere, who can really blame the grown-ups for telling a few tales? Besides, Beans isn't anyone's fool. In fact, he has plans. Big plans. And the consequences might surprise even Beans himself.

"A surprising coming-of-age story with a remarkably honest message." —The New York Times

"[Holm] captures this colorful slice of Depression history with her usual vivacious wit. . . . Children will love Beans." —Shelf Awareness, Starred

"Multifaceted supporting characters . . . are all seen through Bean's refreshingly honest eyes and create a novel as entertaining as the motion pictures he loves to see."—The Horn Book Magazine, Starred

“Inspired by actual events, Holm's talent for writing historical fiction is on full display. . . . Interesting family and small-town dynamics further enrich this fascinating account of a young boy's life in Florida's 'Recovery Key.'” —Booklist, Starred

"Filled with humor, heart, and warmth; readers can only hope to hear more about the Curry clan." —Kirkus Review, Starred

"Entertaining and illuminating historical fiction." —Publishers Weekly, Starred
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Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life by Ashley Bryan (Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Books)
Newbery Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book
Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor Book

Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, Ashley Bryan offers a moving and powerful picture book that contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away.

Imagine being looked up and down and being valued as less than chair. Less than an ox. Less than a dress. Maybe about the same as…a lantern.

You, an object. An object to sell.

In his gentle yet deeply powerful way, Ashley Bryan goes to the heart of how a slave is given a monetary value by the slave owner, tempering this with the one thing that CAN'T be bought or sold—dreams. Inspired by the actual will of a plantation owner that lists the worth of each and every one of his “workers”, Bryan has created collages around that document, and others like it. Through fierce paintings and expansive poetry he imagines and interprets each person's life on the plantation, as well as the life their owner knew nothing about—their dreams and pride in knowing that they were worth far more than an Overseer or Madam ever would guess. Visually epic, and never before done, this stunning picture book is unlike anything you've seen.
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Fort

Fort by Cynthia DeFelice is a thrilling story about friendship, revenge, and standing up for yourself, even when you think you're outmatched. It's going to be one summer these boys will never forget.

Eleven-year-old Wyatt and his friend Augie aren't looking for a fight. They're having the best summer of their lives hanging out in the fort they built in the woods, fishing and hunting, cooking over a campfire, and sleeping out. But when two older boys mess with the fort―and with another kid who can't fight back―the friends are forced to launch Operation Doom, with unexpected results for all concerned, in this novel about two funny and very real young heroes.

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Flying Lessons & Other Stories
Whether it is basketball dreams, family fiascos, first crushes, or new neighborhoods, this bold anthology—written by the best children's authors—celebrates the uniqueness and universality in all of us.
 

In a partnership with We Need Diverse Books, industry giants Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, and Jacqueline Woodson join newcomer Kelly J. Baptist in a story collection that is as humorous as it is heartfelt. This impressive group of authors has earned among them every major award in children's publishing and popularity as New York Times bestsellers. From these distinguished authors come ten distinct and vibrant stories.

“There's plenty of magic in this collection to go around.” Booklist, Starred

“A natural for middle school classrooms and libraries.” Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Inclusive, authentic, and eminently readable.”School Library Journal, Starred

“Thought provoking and wide-ranging . . . should not be missed.”Publishers Weekly, Starred

“Read more books by these authors.” The Bulletin, Starred
Fable Comics: Amazing Cartoonists Take On Classic Fables from Aesop and Beyond

From classics like "The Tortoise and the Hare" and "The Grasshopper and the Ants" to obscure gems like "The Frogs Who Desired a King," Fable Comics has something to offer every reader. Twenty-eight fables from different cultures and traditions are wonderfully adapted and illustrated in comics format by twenty-six different cartoonists. Edited by New York Times bestselling Fairy Tale Comics' Chris Duffy, this jacketed hardcover is a beautiful gift and an instant classic.

A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
Fans of How to Train Your Dragon will love this whimsical tale, the first in a series, by a Newbery Honor winner, featuring charming illustrations and pet "training tips" in each chapter.

Crusty dragon Miss Drake has a new pet human, precocious Winnie. Oddly enough, Winnie seems to think Miss Drake is her pet—a ridiculous notion!

Unknown to most of its inhabitants, the City by the Bay is home to many mysterious and fantastic creatures, hidden beneath the parks, among the clouds, and even in plain sight. And Winnie wants to draw every new creature she encounters: the good, the bad, and the ugly. But Winnie's sketchbook is not what it seems. Somehow, her sketchlings have been set loose on the city streets! It will take Winnie and Miss Drake's combined efforts to put an end to the mayhem . . . before it's too late.

This refreshing debut collaboration by Laurence Yep, a two-time Newbery Honor winner and a Laura Ingalls Wilder Award winner, and Joanne Ryder features illustrations by Mary GrandPré.     

Praise for A Dragon's Guide to the Care and Feeding of Humans
*“Warm humor, magical mishaps, and the main characters' budding mutual respect and affection combine to give this opener for a planned series a special shine.” –Booklist, Starred
 
“Aternately comical, suspenseful and sometimes sweetly emotional.” –Kirkus Reviews
 
“With a black-and-white spot illustration opening most chapters, an engaging narrator, and a consistently fluid writing style, this title makes a fine dragon choice for readers.” –School Library Journal
 
“In this series launch, Yep and Ryder conjure up a world where dragons and humans interact, and the results are heartwarming and quite funny.” –Publishers Weekly
 
“A clever and amusing novel that imagines a magical world that nestles right up against our own and sometimes crosses over.” –The Bulleting of the Center for Children's Books

Praise for A Dragon's Guide to Making Your Human Smarter
"Yep and Ryder keep the magic coming with their whimsical fantasy, enhanced by Grandpré's sweet drawings. The story positively vibrates with fun." —Kirkus Reviews

" Lighthearted episodes of unusual school lessons and field trips, illustrated by GrandPré's winsome spot art, are grounded by Miss Drake's more serious encounters with the goons...a gratifying development as this buoyant, fantastical series continues."—The Horn Book Review


From the Hardcover edition.
The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, and Harlem's Greatest Bookstore (Carolrhoda Picture Books)
"In the 1930s, Lewis's dad, Lewis Michaux Sr., had an itch he needed to scratch a book itch. How to scratch it? He started a bookstore in Harlem and named it the National Memorial African Bookstore.



And as far as Lewis Michaux Jr. could tell, his father's bookstore was one of a kind. People from all over came to visit the store, even famous people Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, to name a few. In his father's bookstore people bought and read books, and they also learned from each other. People swapped and traded ideas and talked about how things could change. They came together here all because of his father's book itch. Read the story of how Lewis Michaux Sr. and his bookstore fostered new ideas and helped people stand up for what they believed in.
"
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