Looking for a few great books to add to your child’s summer reading list? Read on for 50 fantastic ideas (broken down by grade level) that will encourage them to read all season long!

Looking for a few great books to add to your child's summer reading list? Read on for 50 fantastic ideas (broken down by grade level) that will encourage them to read all season long!

A summer reading list for elementary school kids is a little different than those for other ages because this age group is pretty much all over the place when it comes to reading skills. So, instead of doing genre sections, I am breaking it up into grade levels. Check out my top picks for each grade!

Summer Reading List for Elementary School Kids

As you peruse this summer reading list, keep this in mind: your child’s reading level may not always be the same as their grade. For example, some kids in 1st grade can read at a 3rd grade level, while some in 4th grade may only be comfortable reading at a 3rd grade level.

Let your kids choose books that appeal to them, even if it’s not an exact fit for their age and grade. Summer reading should be fun, not feel like a chore. Kids have books thrust upon them that don’t interest them all school-year long. Let summer be about choice.

Also, I cut this off at 4th grade because to me, middle school starts in 5th grade. If you have a child ages 10-14ish, check out my summer reading list for middle grade kids.

One last thing: this post uses affiliate links for the books. If you make a purchase through these links, I get a tiny commission at no extra charge to you. Thanks!

Kindergarten Summer Reading List

  1. High Five by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri
  2. You’re Missing It! by Brady Smith and Tiffani Thiessen
  3. Because by Mo Willems
  4. Circle by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen
  5. When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller
  6. When Charley Met Emma by Amy Webb and Merrilee Liddiard
  7. The Girl Who Loves Unicorns by Danielle Depratt Koelbl and Taylor Koelbl
  8. Tomorrow Most Likely by Dave Eggers
  9. The Little Green Girl by Lisa Anchin
  10. Captain Marvel: What Makes a Hero by Pamela Bobowicz

TOP PICK: When Charley Met Emma

When Charley Met Emma: Top Pick from the Kindergarten Summer Reading List for Kids

While all of the above are great reads for kids just going into Kindergarten, When Charley Met Emma gets my vote for the top pick. Take a look at the blurb, it really says it all:

When Charley goes to the playground and sees Emma, a girl with limb differences who gets around in a wheelchair, he doesn’t know how to react at first. But after he and Emma start talking, he learns that different isn’t bad, sad, or strange–different is just different, and different is great!

This delightful book will help kids think about disability, kindness, and how to behave when they meet someone who is different from them.

1st Grade Book List

  1. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood: The Poetry of Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers and Luke Flowers
  2. Eye of the Earthquake Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #13) by Tracey West and Daniel Griffo
  3. My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits
  4. I Will Be Fierce by Bea Birdsong and Nidhi Chanani
  5. Dory Fantasmagory: Head in the Clouds by Abby Hanlon
  6. The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin (Amazing Scientists) by Julia Finley Mosca
  7. Wild Things (Lonely Planet Kids) by Lonely Planet Kids
  8. Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold
  9. Harrison Dwight, Ballerina and Knight by Rachael MacFarlane and Spencer Laudiero
  10. Peter & Ernesto: The Lost Sloths by Graham Annable

Top Pick for 1st Grade: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

You can never go wrong with a book by Mr. Rogers! Even though he’s gone, his lessons live on. Introduce a whole new generation to the songs and poems that we all grew up with!

For the first time ever, 75 beloved songs from Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and The Children’s Corner are collected in this charmingly illustrated treasury, sure to be cherished by generations of children as well as the millions of adults who grew up with Mister Rogers.

2nd Grade Summer Reading List

  1. Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants: The Questioneers Book #2 by Andrea Beaty
  2. Case Files (Pokémon: Detective Pikachu) by Meredith Rusu
  3. Ben Braver and the Incredible Exploding Kid by Marcus Emerson
  4. Nixie Makes Waves (Mermaids to the Rescue #1) by Lisa Ann Scott
  5. If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon by Joyce Lapin
  6. The Cat, the Cash, the Leap, and the List by Sue Campbell
  7. Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions by Chris Barton
  8. Mystery Club (Mr. Wolf’s Class #2) by Aron Nels Steinke
  9. The Atlas of Monsters: Mythical Creatures from Around the World by Sandra Lawrence
  10. Parker Bell and the Science of Friendship by Cynthia Platt and Rea Zhai

Top Pick for 2nd Graders: Ada Twist & the Perilous Plants

I love the idea of a book that encourages kids (especially young girls) to think scientifically and explore the world around them. Although we’re getting better as a society at encouraging girls to delve into STEM concepts, it seems like more science-y books are still geared towards boys.

Ada Twist is full of questions. A scientist to her very core, Ada asks why again and again. One question always leads to another until she’s off on a journey of discovery! When Rosie Revere’s Uncle Ned gets a little carried away wearing his famous helium pants, it’s up to Ada and friends to chase him down.

As Uncle Ned floats farther and farther away, Ada starts asking lots of questions: How high can a balloon float? Is it possible for Uncle Ned to float into outer space? And what’s the best plan for getting him down?

3rd Grade Books

  1. Big Nate: Payback Time! by Lincoln Peirce
  2. Marvel Studios Character Encyclopedia by Adam Bray
  3. Harriet’s Monster Diary: Awfully Anxious (But I Squish It, Big Time) by Raun Melmed
  4. Just Jaime (Emmie & Friends) by Terri Libenson
  5. Share Your Smile: Raina’s Guide to Telling Your Own Story by Raina Telgemeier
  6. Endling #2: The First by Katherine Applegate
  7. Toby’s Story: A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tale (A Dog’s Purpose Puppy Tales) by W. Bruce Cameron
  8. 5 Worlds Book 3: The Red Maze by Mark Siegel
  9. Maybe a Mermaid by Josephine Cameron
  10. Katt vs. Dogg by James Patterson

Top Pick for 3rd Grade: Maybe a Mermaid

Maybe a Mermaid is a must-read for anyone who has ever been the new kid in town or felt like they didn’t really fit into the cookie cutter stereotype of what society says they should be! Or both!

Eleven-year-old Anthoni Gillis is not the kind of kid who believes in fairies, unicorns, or even the word “maybe.” She’s more of a comic-books girl. So when her mom brings her to Thunder Lake for a summer at the Showboat Resort, she doesn’t believe the local rumors about the Boulay Mermaid.

4th Grade Books

  1. The Lost Book of Adventure: from the notebooks of the Unknown Adventurer by Teddy Keen
  2. Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal by Jeff Kinney
  3. Theodore Boone: The Accomplice by John Grisham
  4. Warriors: The Broken Code #1: Lost Stars by Erin Hunter
  5. Last Kids on Earth Survival Guide by Max Brallier
  6. Greystone Secrets #1: The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix and Anne Lambelet
  7. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
  8. Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
  9. Bob by Wendy Mass
  10. York: The Clockwork Ghost by Laura Ruby

Top Pick for 4th Graders: The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl

Do you think it would be easier or harder to go through middle school as a genius who’s technically ready for college? Find out in Miscalculations of Lightning Girl!

Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn’t remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she’s technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test–middle school!

Remember, the age and grade recommendations are just that: recommendations. They’re not set in stone, and many of these books are written for age ranges versus a specific grade. For example, some on the 3rd grade list cover ages 7-9 (so 2nd through 4th).

Since summer reading should be fun, stick with books in your child’s comfort zone rather than trying to give them an edge by only giving them more advanced books. It’ll backfire and you’ll likely end up with a kid that hates reading.

I think that about covers it! I hope your kids find a book that they just can’t put down somewhere on this list!

If you still need more ideas, check out the latest bestsellers on Amazon!

SaleBestseller No. 1
Grumpy Monkey
  • Hardcover Book
  • Lang, Suzanne (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 05/15/2018 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 2
The Big Book of Silly Jokes for Kids: 800+ Jokes!
  • Carole P. Roman (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 08/27/2019 (Publication Date) - Rockridge Press (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 3
Llama Llama Loves Camping
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 06/05/2018 (Publication Date) - Penguin Young Readers Licenses (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 4
Dr. Seuss's Beginner Book Collection (Cat in the Hat, One Fish Two Fish, Green Eggs and Ham, Hop on Pop, Fox in Socks)
  • Random House Books for Young Readers
  • Hardcover Book
  • Dr. Seuss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 360 Pages - 09/22/2009 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 5
If Animals Kissed Good Night
  • Paul, Ann Whitford (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 34 Pages - 06/03/2014 (Publication Date) - Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 6
There's No Place Like Space: All About Our Solar System (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
  • Hebrew children's book
  • Hardcover Book
  • Rabe, Tish (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 10/26/1999 (Publication Date) - Random House Books for Young Readers (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 7
The Last Kids on Earth: The Monster Box (books 1-3)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Brallier, Max (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 816 Pages - 10/16/2018 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 8
The Wonky Donkey
  • Smith, Craig (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 05/01/2010 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Paperbacks (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 9
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
  • National Geographic Society
  • Hardcover Book
  • Shields, Amy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 05/10/2011 (Publication Date) - National Geographic Children's Books (Publisher)
SaleBestseller No. 10
Where the Wild Things Are
  • 9780064431781
  • Maurice Sendak (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 01/01/1984 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

What’s on your elementary school kids’ summer reading lists?




Last update on 2020-05-30 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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