The Reading Nook | Classic Play Summer Book Club

by , posted on June 24th, 2014 in The Reading Nook

classic play summer book club grades K-7

“School’s out for summer…” You’re singing it with me, right? A little air guitar? How about adding on “I’m here to help you…”- help you fight the summer slide that is. Our kids work hard during the school year – let’s help them stay ahead of the game over the summer break.

Here’s a list of recommended books for your kids. Although I’ve grouped them by grade, keep in mind your kids’ reading level. And don’t forget to read to them too.

Make a weekly trip to the library, take a few along on vacation, have a daily family half hour reading session – there are many opportunities to incorporate reading into your family’s life. We even made the kids a little sheet so they can keep track of what they read. Click here to print it out.

Ready? Let’s read…

Kindergarten – Grade 1
Press Here, by Herve Tullet
Press the yellow dot, follow the instructions inside and get started on your magical journey in this book about the power of imagination.

This is Not a Stick, by Antoinette Portis
Like This Is Not a Box, author Portis again makes pretend feel real.

The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt
When Duncan opens up his box of crayons, he finds a stack of complaints from Red being overworked to Peach naked without his wrapper.

Fog Island, by Tomi Ungerer
When Finn and Cara get castaway on Fog Island, nothing is as expected – but will anyone ever believe them?

Flora and the Flamingo, by Molly Idle
A Caldecott Honor Book, Flora and her flamingo friend explore friendship in this wordless picture book with interactive flaps.

Shark vs. Train, by Chris Barton
Two boys pull a couple of toys from a toybox and the competition between Shark and Train begins.

The Dark, by Lemony Snicket
This is the story about how Lazlo stops being afraid of the dark.

Grade 2-3
The Year of Billy Miller, by Kevin Henkes
Second grader Billy Miller learns all about friendship, sibling rivalry and elementary school in this funny, fast-paced novel.

Fortunately the Milk, by Neil Gaiman
Dad goes out to get some milk for breakfast. When he returns, he tells the most fantastic story about why it took much longer than expected. The usual Neil Gaiman magic but now in kids’ book form.

Ivy & Bean, by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall
Ivy is quiet and full of ideas while Bean is loud, wild and goofy. Sometimes the opposites make the best of friends.

Violet Mackerel’s Brilliant Plot
, by Anna Branford and Elanna Allen
A wonderful early chapter book about family relationships.

Bink & Gollie, by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Precocious and quick-witted friends Bink & Gollie go on all sorts of crazy adventures.

The Truth of Me, by Patricia MacLachlan
Robbie loves spending time with his grandmother Maddy who helps him feel loved and wanted.

Ling & Ting, Not Exactly the Same, by Grace Lin
Identical twins Ling and Ting show that people can be every different, even if they look exactly the same.


Grade 4-5
13 Gifts, by Wendy Mass
When her parents go to Madagascar for the summer to study the lemur, 13 year old Tara stays with her aunt & uncle and bratty cousin in Willow Falls. It’s a chance for her to start over but it ends up quite differently than she expects.

Operation Bunny, by Sally Gardner
Emily Vole has a surprising life from the beginning when she’s found in a hatbox in an airport. That’s nothing compared to when she inherits a fairy detective agency.

Better Nate Than Ever
, by Tim Federle
For his whole life Nate has dreamt of starring in a Broadway musical. How can he make it happen when he lives in a small town? Nate and his best friend Libby plan an overnight trip to NYC to make his dreams come true.

Walls Within Walls, by Maureen Sherry
It may look like another unremarkable Fifth Avenue apartment, but with a name like the Mystery Apartment, you know something is up. What IS happening behind the walls is a mystery solved by siblings Brid, CJ, and Patrick.

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier
In this graphic novel, Raina’s desire to be a normal sixth grader is foiled when she trips and injures her two front teeth.

Just Jake, by Jake Marcionette and Victor Riva Villa
Written by a sixth grader, Just Jake is about a fictional sixth grader who moves from Florida to Maryland to a new school.

Grade 6-7
Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan
A moving middle grade novel about being an outsider, coping with loss and finding the true meaning of family. (Note that her parents die in a car crash in the book).

The School for Good & Evil, by Soman Chainani
The fairy tale trope of good always triumphing over evil is turned upside down in this first book of a three book series about two schools – one good and one evil. Sophie and Agatha go on an epic journey full of surprises.

Flora & Ulysses, by Kate DiCamillo and K.G. Campbell
An adventure story with a cynical girl and a squirrel with superpowers? Yup. It’s quirky and funny and interspersed with comic-style sequences.

How to Catch a Bogle, by Catherine Jinks
A fantasy story set in Victorian England, Birdie is an 11 year old orphan who apprentices with a bogler name Alfred. A bogle is a child eating monster and Birdie is the bait. It’s all about how to be a strong, independent girl and how life was for the lower classes in Victorian England.

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate and Patricia Castelao
Based on a true story, Ivan has forgotten how to be a silverback gorilla. When Ruby the baby elephant arrives, Ivan relearns how to be a leader in order to protect her.

Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Entering public school for the first time in grade 5, Auggie looks worse than you can ever imagine. You will laugh and cry and learn about family & friendship as he goes through the school year.

Dead End in Norvelt, by Jack Gantos
Winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for children’s literature and the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, Jack Gantos is grounded “for life” by his feuding parents. It’s quirky and hilarious, like if David Sedaris wrote for kids.

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3 Responses to “The Reading Nook | Classic Play Summer Book Club”

  1. Molly Says:

    June 24th, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Great list! We have three from the stack in the photo – glad to have more suggestions for my bookworm.

    Sandra Reply:

    I hope your bookworm enjoys the selections this summer! We’re making a stack ourselves – both my husband & I and our daughter. There’s nothing more sweet than finding your child reading, eh?

  2. Aubrey Says:

    July 8th, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Love this collection — and how it’s divided up by approximate grade level. That is SO helpful. Lemony Snicket is one of my favorite children’s authors. Glad to see he made the list, and I haven’t read this title yet. Oh boy!!

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