Here is Share My Lesson’s 2019 Summer Reading Lists for PreK-12, curated with care to bring out the best in all growing readers. Additionally, always remember to refer students to your local librarian and see what they have on their lists for your kids this summer!
By Andy Kratochvil
Moving to a different city as a child can be a harrowing experience. My story, like others, started off rocky; however, a hero swept in to save the day, and I got my happy ending. That hero, my third-grade teacher Mrs. Taylor, picked me up out of “one of those funks” after moving cities twice within just a few years—sparking a curiosity that forged a love of reading and a passion for lifelong learning. Discovering this new appetite for books, I set off on what would be my own journey where I’d soon travel across thousands of worlds and meet all sorts of odd characters.
Mrs. Taylor, although a strident reading advocate, was somewhat irked by what now looked like the dedication of a zealous convert. Throughout that year, I often would stuff my green JanSport backpack with every single Goosebumps book I could find, and then show them off proudly to other children during class. I got so excited at one point that I dumped them all onto the floor. This set off a chain reaction that others tried to mimic, much to the distress of our fearless leader. This not only spurred the birth of new bibliophiles but, for me, also laid the foundations of lifelong friendships that I maintain to this day.
Goosebumps and many of the other titles I picked up on my early literary journeys served as a refuge—a place of solace to satisfy my growing curiosity in a time when I was terribly insecure. Looking back on the summer following third grade, I still cherish the memories of lying in a hammock, advancing my skills by reading stuff for “big kids,” all while accompanied by Dutch, my chocolate lab/basset hound mix, who lay by my side ready to help me conquer my summer reading lists.
R.L. Stine writes that, “Many adults feel that every children's book has to teach them something. ... My theory is a children's book ... can be just for fun.”
With fun in mind, here is my own list I drafted with some colleagues for your consideration:
Starting at the younger end of the spectrum, there is a great book called How to Be by Lisa Brown. It encourages children to emulate animals with uncommon style and wit, and they will be inspired to think of their own methods of getting in touch with their animal natures. Plus, the characters have an entertaining sense of mischief!
I also recommend Oliver Jeffers Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth. It’s full of wisdoms we want to share with our next generation (and peers). This book has some fun facts about our planet and a touch of magic that comes with sharing those facts with an infant or child.
A wonderfully subversive version of the big bad wolf story is The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas. Here’s a spoiler: They all end up living together in a house of flowers, which is ultimately the most resilient house of all because of its beauty.
John Updike’s A Child’s Calendar serves as an avenue to introduce kids to poetry.
Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems, by Joyce Sidman, is another fantastic way to get your students into poetry.
Miriam Weiner’s Shakespeare’s Seasons offers another introduction to poetry, although it’s more of an introduction to Shakespeare’s language.
The Works of William Steig. Most people associate him with Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Another favorite is Gorky Rises, a magnificent book about the wonder of the world that includes lines like “The grass was green green; the sky was blue, immensely blue; the world was flooded with gracious light.” Perfect for the summer, right?
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is a classic for advancing readers.
Katherine Applegate’s The One and Only Ivan is narrated by a gorilla, so it’s a great way to talk about voice and perspective.
Continuing the previous animal theme, I’d also like to recommend Randall Jarrell’s The Bat-Poet, which has great illustrations by Maurice Sendak.
For those who might be interested in mythology, I suggest D’Aulaires’ Book of Norse Myths. Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire also wrote a book about Greek myths, but the Norse ones are so twisty (a creation story that involves life sprouting from a sleeping giant’s armpit and an ice cow’s tongue—yes please).
One last entry on my list is The Wind on the Moon by Eric Linklater; it’s a great story and has some serious mischief that brings to mind the works of Lewis Carroll.
Without further ado, here is Share My Lesson’s 2019 Summer Reading Lists for PreK-12, curated with care to bring out the best in all nascent readers. Additionally, always remember to refer students to your local librarian and see what they have on their lists for your kids this summer!
ALAN Summer Reading Lists
The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN) promotes communication and cooperation among all individuals who have a special interest in adolescent literature, presents programs and conferences on this subject, promotes and increases the number of articles and publications devoted to it and integrates the efforts of all those with an interest in this literature. Check out its curated bi-monthly reading list below.
Culturally Diverse and Social Justice Summer Reading Lists from The Guardian
“Diverse Voices: The 50 Best Culturally Diverse Children’s Books" is an exhaustive and exciting list of dozens of culturally and ethnically diverse books for children of all ages. My personal favorite from this list is The Island by Armin Greder.
“A is for Activist: Why Children’s Books Are Getting Political” is another exciting list/article from The Guardian on why children’s books are becoming more political in an age of unease, anxiety and political division.
International Literacy Association Summer Reading Lists
23 Children’s Books About Emotions for Kids with Big Feelings by Amanda Nelson, the Book Riot
Picture books about emotions, to read with toddlers and aspiring readers to help them discover what they feel.
We Need Diverse Books Summer Reading Series
First Book Summer Reading
All families want to instill a love of reading in their children. But more than 1.3 million children in America come from low-income families, and many can’t afford to fill their homes with books for their kids. This is where educators like you so often come in, and First Book can help you provide the resources all of the children you serve deserve.
First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise working exclusively with programs and schools serving kids in need to ensure they have access to top-quality books and educational resources. Sign up with First Book for immediate access to materials that the children you serve need to succeed—without breaking your budget.
Signing up with First Book is free for every educator in your program or school. Books can be used to build program libraries or sent home for families to enjoy together.
Here’s how to access books for your students:
Sign up with First Book! All people serving children from underserved communities are eligible to sign up with First Book to access free and low-cost books and resources.
Visit the First Book Marketplace to access deeply discounted brand-new books, school supplies and basic-needs items for children from birth to age 18.
Tell your co-workers and community partners about First Book. Pass the news on to your fellow program staff, teachers and partners anywhere in the country, and anyone else working with low-income families so they can sign up, too!
Colorín Colorado Summer Reading
Discover fully bilingual videos and carefully resourced booklists for English language learners to improve their skills.
Association for Library Service to Children Summer Reading Lists
Anti-Defamation League Summer Reading
Work with students to promote awareness, tolerance and acceptance through this expansive ADL list of books on gender, race, religion and other identities.
Doing Good Together Summer Reading
Find picture books, chapter books, parent resources, websites and videos for lots of different topics such as arts and culture, animals and human rights.
Common Sense Media Summer Reading Lists
Be sure to check out Share My Lesson’s Summer Reading Lists from 2017, 2018 and our Summer Reading Collection. Comment below on any other additions you might have!
Andy Kratochvil is an SML team member who loves hiking, scary books, Mexican food, and finding great content for SML members. He studied Political Science and French at California State University, Fullerton and received his Master’s in International Affairs from American University in Washington, DC. When he has the chance, he enjoys traveling back to his native California to enjoy body surfing in the Pacific Ocean, and, of course, the fantastic weather.