Here we go, Stone Bookworms! Summer days ahead, with so many lovely, lazy days to read! Please scroll down for some of the best newer chapter books, with both new and classic follow-ups by genre.
Links for information and reviews. Please support our local independent bookseller, visit our Chicago Public Library or use the CPS Virtual Library or other e-book links. More book lists and links to incentive programs on the bottom of this page.
SCHOOL BOOK CLUB
These picks were for our remote learning time. When we come together again in the fall, we plan to have book clubs around these readings. Have you read them? Check them out and be ready to join the fun to come!
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. If Lena and Doom can't decode an ancient message, the great lights of the city of Ember will dim and the last vestiges of the human race will be plunged into darkness...permanently. Though we may have had enough real-life dystopia, the world of Ember and its limited resources is created in living detail and ripe for discussion. Besides, this book is so exciting. I mean, SO EXCITING. First in a series.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin. Minli goes on a journey to find the Old Man on the Moon and change her family's fortune. Inspired by Chinese folklore and, like L. Frank Baum's Wizard of Oz, filled to the brim with magical characters. This gracefully written adventure has a grateful heart. This book will enchant you and carry you away! First in a series.
A Good Kind of Trouble by Lisa Moore Ramée. Shayla likes to follow the rules. But after she becomes active in the Black Lives Matter movement, she realizes some rules may be made to be broken. Will Shayla have the strength to follow her convictions, even if it means getting in trouble?
I Can Make This Promise by Christine Day. An adopted Native American girl finds a box full of secrets about her heritage. Fans of Sharon Creech's Walk Two Moons will appreciate this story line.
You'll also find strong characters and literary friends to make here:
Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Hope in the Holler by Lisa Lewis Tyre
Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
Breakout by Kate Messner
Out of Left Field by Ellen Klages
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mulally Hunt
Love Like Sky by Leslie C. Youngblood
The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden
The First Rule of Punk by Celia Pérez
Restart by Gordon Korman
A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff. In a magical world where everyone has a talent, Cady's baking skills set her on an adventurous path and may lead to the solution to a mysterious puzzle. If you enjoyed Ingrid Law's Savvy, this will thrill you even more!
Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers by Anna James. A granddaughter of bookshop owners discovers she has the gift of bookwandering...she can walk into the world of any book she chooses. Is this adventurous, or dangerous? Fans of Chris Colfer's Land of Stories series will find a perfect "next read" here!
The Mystwick School of Musicraft by Jessica Khoury. The kids at Mystwick learn to use music to make magic. But when Amelia messes up during her audition, she'll do anything to prove she's still worthy...even if it means faking her identity. But the real version of herself will have to step up to save the school from much bigger and more destructive problems. Did you graduate from Hogwarts, reader? Here is your new summer school.
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen
The Serpent's Secret by Sayantani DasGupta
The Collectors by Jacqueline West
The Adventurer's Guild by Zack Loran Clark
The Library of Ever by Zeno Alexander
Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee
Eager by Helen Fox
The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson. Candice and her quiet neighbor Brandon have to solve a mystery from history, and hopefully unravel the racism of their town's sullied past. Suspenseful! If you enjoyed Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley, you'll love this, too!
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks. Zoe's father is in prison for a crime she is sure he didn't commit, and she's here to separate the truth from the lies. A strong heroine stars in this mystery about seeking justice.
The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Case Closed? Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science by Susan Hughes
The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange
The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius
SURVIVAL AND EMPATHY
Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood. Ken is escaping the Nazis in a luxury ship...until it is torpedoed. Can Ken and five other boys survive on the open ocean? Told in verse and based on a true story.
24 Hours in Nowhere By Dusti Bowling. Gus is trying to pay back a debt by finding treasure in the Dead Frenchman Mine of Arizona. Mountain lions? Cave-ins? Bullies? The desert heat? If one won't get Gus and his friends, maybe the other will. If you survived Holes by Louis Sachar, this is definitely your next challenge.
Here are a few more high-stakes stories to get your heart pumping:
The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman
Trouble Don't Last by Shelley Pearsall
La Linea by Ann Jaramillo
Finding Langston by Lesa Cline-Ransome. Langston is having a hard time transitioning from an African-American country kid to city kid in 1946, until he discovers the Chicago Public Library and a poet who just might make all the difference.
The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis. A brother and sister in their new home in London discover a portal that allows them to travel back in time to solve a mystery a hundred years in the making. A modern book with a classic feel!
More terrific time-travel here:
Sweep: A Story of a Girl and Her Monster by Jonathan Auxier
The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sidney Taylor
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Prairie Lotus by Linda Sue Park
All In a Drop: How Anthony van Leeuwenhoek Discovered an Invisible World by Lori Alexander, illustrated by Vivien Mildenberger. Anthony van Leewenhoek believed in more than meets the eye, but how could an unschooled cloth salesman convince the world of science to take a closer look? An inspiring and well-written true story!
Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams. An old diary discovered in an attic leads three modern girls to learn about the life of Helen, alive at the time of the 1918 flu epidemic. The girls get caught up in Helen's life and have to wonder...did she survive? Or is the ghost of Helen watching them now? One of Ms. Esme's favorites, even before the recent pandemic!
More reading in the time of COVID-19:
The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, The Blue Death and a Boy Called Eel by Deborah Hopkinson
Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Invisible Enemies: Stories of Infectious Disease by Jeanette Farrell
ANIMALS AND NATURE
Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech. Louie is supposed to raise a sickly miniature donkey, but this little buckaroo just might prove stronger than anyone suspects. Move over, E.B. White's Charlotte's Web, there's a new animal rescue story on the shelf!
When you enjoy these, you will also want to check out:
Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Wish by Barbara O'Connor
FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs
Redwall series by Brian Jacques
Scary Stories for Young Foxes by Christian McKay Heidicker. The forest holds monsters, and the stories warn of them. A witch who wants to steal their skins. A zombie, hungering for their flesh. A ghost who will hunt them through the snow. Did you think only people have scary stories? Come into the woods and think again. Creepy and campfire-ready, it will make your fur stand on end. If you trembled to Adam Gidwitz's A Tale Dark and Grimm, this one should also grab you by the ankle.
If you still want a shiver, you'll also enjoy:
Nightbooks by J.A. White
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
Terrifying Tales: Thirteen Scary Stories for Children by Shawn Cobb
Witches! The Absolutely True Tale of Disaster in Salem by Rosalyn Schanzer
The Dream Stealer by Gregory Maguire
Anything and everything by Mary Downing Hahn
Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley. Take a summer reading trip to the country and meet Jen, who is having a rough time adjusting, and her mom's boyfriend's perfect daughters aren't helping much. Raina Telgemeier fans, rejoice, here's the graphic novel and farm-fresh new author you've been waiting for!
Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol
Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
The 13-Story Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards
Rooster Summer by Robert Heidbreder
NOTE TO PARENTS!
Did you know there are a few key things you can do before you even open a book to help scaffold your child's reading success?
• Turn on the closed-captioning option on your television set! Even when your family is in front of a screen, your child will have more exposure to print. In Scandinavia, most of the televisions are set this way and they have some of the highest literacy rates in the world, even though they don't start formal reading instruction until children are seven. Use this best practice in your own home!
• Play books on tape! Did you know children can listen at a higher level than they can read? Children with learning differences and challenges and ELL students especially benefit from having books read orally. Even fluent readers benefit from the modeling of read-aloud. Though regular read-aloud across the grade levels is always the #1 choice to bolster achievement, working or exhausted parents, grab a book and play the audio, allowing children to follow along with the text for increased exposure to print and a chance to focus on comprehension instead of decoding. It's not cheating, it's succeeding! Besides the many, many FREE audio books for kids available through the CPS Virtual Library, check out audible.com and getepic.com for additional audio resources for home use. Also great for listening in the car!
free summer reading program at the Chicago Public Library! This year's theme is "Building Stories," perfect for our Stone Bookworms! We are so lucky to have the new and extra beautiful Northtown Branch in our neighborhood, with allowances of up to fifty books per card per visit! Especially for kindergarten and first grade, it's important to let them check out picture books and limited vocabulary selections by the pile. A special bag or box to keep library books separate from home collections or damage will help de-stress your young reader (and you) and ensure timely returns. Please say hello to our public library partners Ms. Amy (children's) and Ms. Alex (young adult)! They will guide you to these titles and further fabulous reading! When you visit, please make sure to wear your face masks to protect our precious public librarians and other patrons.
• Sign up for Stone's Beanbright summer reading challenge! Click here to "Take on Twenty"! Beanbright is a reading tracking tool that ties in nicely with the Chicago Public Library Summer Learning Challenge. Do one, or both, or neither, as long as your child keeps reading through the summer months. Different approaches support different readers and families. (If you have never logged in to Beanbright before, carefully follow the steps outlined here.)
• Let the children choose! Instinctively, as parents, we try to get children to challenge themselves and "level up," but summer is especially the time for children to read for pleasure and to follow their interests and private motivations without so much attention to levels. Let them select without judgement: comic books, cook books, seemingly endless series books, magazines, nonfiction that seems way too hard, picture books that seem way too easy...let your child explore, find their own way to identifying as a reader, not just as a test-taker for now. These book recommendations above are intended as springboards into discovery, not assignments. When children read for pleasure, they read for life!
Want more recommended reading lists?
Publisher's Weekly Summer Reads here!
School Library Journal Summer Reads here!
Brightly Summer Reads here!
American Library Association Summer Reads here!
Corporate summer reading incentives and rewards here!
More Stone Bookworm book recommendations by grade level here!
More books that celebrate diversity and anti-racism here!
More hints for preventing the summer reading slide here!
Ms. Esme's favorite picture books and more here!
Looking forward to your own recommendations in the comments section!
Happy summer and happy reading!