Multiple studies now prove what we always knew: summer reading helps prevent the ‘summer slide’ or summer learning loss. And some experts say it takes just five books to reap the benefits. We can do that.
Of course, for some kids, reading is as natural as breathing but for others it’s a struggle. Fortunately, there are many amazing programs out there, including those at your local library, that encourage kids to pick up books during these long, hot, unstructured, wild and free summer days. (Check out my reluctant reader guide for tips, too.)
My personal belief is summer reading should be FUN – it’s the perfect time to indulge in action/adventure novels, thrillers, mysteries, graphic novels and books that make you laugh so hard you kind of think you might barf. To make it easy (because everyone is busy) I made a list. (I love book lists but you have probably already figured that out.) Many of the authors here have other novels in print and I encourage you to pick those up as well – you know, double your fun with not much effort. 🙂
These books are primarily for middle grade readers but many can be read aloud to younger kids and don’t feel bad about sneaking them away to read yourself. Middle grade authors are producing gold these days and no one should miss out. Some are on shelves already and some are publishing soon.
Enjoy and happy summer!
(I include ‘buy’ links with each title but don’t forget your local indie book store and your local library!)
The Shadow Thieves, by Alexandra Ott (June 5th/Aladdin)
Author Ott goes deep with former thief Alli Roscoe. Torn between two worlds and competing desires, I felt every moment of her confusion.With compelling friendships and family relationships, this sequel to Rules for Thieves delivers action and edge of your seat thrills. Read the author interview here.
The Seismic Seven (June 5th/HarperCollins)
Action packed. Science infused. Six kids race to save the world from a super volcano. The heart pounding adventure ratchets up a notch when it becomes clear that there is more to fear than the volcano. In my mind, this is about as perfect as summer reading can get. Read the author interview here.
The Frame Up, by Wendy McLeod MacKnight (June 5th/Greenwillow Bks)
A fresh take on the idea of art coming to life, with multiple layers of compelling mystery and intrigue, unexpected friendships and family drama. I especially loved the mash up of historical figures and characters living in the present. Could not put it down! Author interview here.
The Mad Wolf’s Daughter, by Diane Magras (Deckle Edge)
One of my favorites of 2018 so far! I love the history, twisty plot and bold, heart pounding adventure. The Scottish headlines come vividly to life. But the complicated family relationships and friendships really make this book shine. Read the author interview here.
Vanished! by James Ponti (Aladdin)
The winner of the 2018 Edgar Award, this sequel to Framed! is such good fun. I love the brainy mystery elements and the push/pull between best friends Florian and Margaret. I recommend reading them both although I read them out of order and it was fine. Trapped!, the 3rd in series, hits shelves SEp
The House that Lou Built, by Mae Respicio (June 12th/Wendy Lamb Books)
A coming-of-age story that explores culture and family, forgiveness and friendship, and what makes a true home. I especially loved how thoroughlyLou plays against type and yet is relatable and familiar. For readers unfamiliar with Filipino culture, Lou is the best kind of guide. Experiencing the world through her eyes is a delight. Middle grade readers are in for a real treat.
A Hint of Hydra, by Kati Bartkowski and Heidi Lang (July 10th/Aladdin)
I loved A Dash of Dragon, the first in this series penned by real life sisters, about Lailu, a monster cuisine chef with the best curses (‘What the spatula?’). The amazing world building and fun hold steady in the tense and action packed sequel, which sees Lailu trying to prevent a war between the elves and the scientists. There is also a cute boy.
The Cryptid Catcher, by Lija Fisher (August 21st/ GS&F)
I loved this action/adventure with mythological roots and lots of humor. Thirteen year old Clivo Wren has his hands full following in his father’s footsteps but with the help of some new friends, he might just pull off the impossible.
The Right Hook of Devin Velma, by Jake Burt (Sept. 4th/Feiwel & Friends)
In this story of friendship, anxiety, families and basketball, characters struggle with some of the harsher aspects of modern American life and yet come out stronger for the experience. I loved peering into the deep friendship between Addi and Devin and how they had each other’s backs, even when it was uncomfortable.
24 Hours in Nowhere (Sept. 4th/Sterling)
Quirky characters and a unique desert setting make author Bowling’s second novel a perfect way to round out summer vacation. Gus wants to escape his dead-end town but first he has to survive the wrath of the local bully and a harrowing 24-hour search for missing gold. There’s
Take Us To Your Sugar, by Jonathan Roth
(Beep & Bob #3) (September 11th/Aladdin)
This series is perfect for younger readers and it might have my favorite title ever! I can totally see my eleven year old making the same demand! In this installment, Bob and his best friend Beep discover Halloween will not be celebrated at Astro Elementary, they hatch a plan to save their favorite sweet holiday. Funny, action packed space adventures will have your readers begging for more.