Kids summer reading list

9 Awesome Book Recommendations for Summer Break (Grades K-8)

Summertime is here, and K-8 students are finally enjoying their summer break in a post-pandemic world. However, many students really need to continue learning throughout the summer in order to get a head start on the next semester.

One excellent way to help your student keep their mind sharp during summer break is to give them a reading list of classic or popular novels. You can also check out our blog on 12 awesome free online resources to help kids learn.

In this list, we’ll explore nine different book recommendations that your K-8 student will absolutely love, all while helping them develop their language skills and levels.

Check out our list below!

Kindergarten – Kindergarten, Here I Come! by D.J. Steinberg

Do you have a little one who is a bit nervous about starting kindergarten in the fall? This excellent read is a great one to use to help put your student at ease, but also to help them with early reading skills. In this picture book, your student will learn everything about what will happen when they start their first day of kindergarten. We recommend reading this book with your young one, as their reading skills have likely not developed yet.

1st Grade – My Hair is a Garden by Cozbi A. Cabrera

In this charming book, a young girl seeks guidance from her neighbor after her classmates bully her for her unruly hair. This is a lovely book about self-acceptance and the diversity of human bodies and is an especially good book to read with young children of color. The reading level of this book is fairly simple, but some first-graders may need a little bit of help.

2nd Grade – The Lonely Little Monster by Andi Green

This visual book is the perfect reading level for second graders. The story in this book is a highly valuable one about the value of seeing the world in different ways and accepting the differences between people. This book also includes coloring and journaling pages as well.

3rd Grade – What Should Danny Do? by Adir Levy

This third-grader favorite is actually nine different stories in one book. Similar to “choose your own adventure” books, this collection of stories puts the power of choice into the hands of the reader, all while helping them learn third-grade-level English. “What Should Danny Do?” also focuses on emotional maturity that children at this age often struggle with.

4th Grade – The Secret Lake by Karen Inglis

A more mature book ideal for fourth graders, this novel by Karen Inglis follows the mysterious adventures of siblings Stella and Tom. The two are tasked with uncovering the cause of their neighbor’s dog’s disappearance.

5th Grade – Trials of Apollo by Rick Riordan

This three-book set may be a bit too long-winded to read in one summer, but you might be surprised by how quickly your student goes through this trilogy. “Trials of Apollo” is a modern reimagining of classic Greek mythology. It follows the story of Apollo, a young god who becomes human and must embark on an adventure to regain his standing on Mount Olympus.

6th Grade – The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

While Tolkien’s classic novel can be enjoyed by children ages eight and up, we found that readers can enjoy this book more independently when they are a bit older. If your student loves fantasy stories or adventure novels, this is the book for them. The language in this book is just slightly challenging, so it can be an excellent book to read before jumping into sixth-grade English.

7th Grade – Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler

Octavia Butler is often revered as the godmother of science fiction, and her classic novel “Parable of the Sower” is an excellent example of why she holds this title. Perfect for seventh graders, this sci-fi and speculative fiction classic follows the story of a girl and her family as they attempt to salvage what remains of their culture in the aftermath of an intense war and water shortage. This book is intense, but is very appropriate for readers in the seventh-grade level.

8th Grade – The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Another classic with a spooky twist, Shirley Jackson’s magnum opus is just the right reading level for eighth-grade students. This story follows four characters who arrive at an abandoned mansion to find that not everything is as it seems. This classic ghost story with a twist is beloved by many and is sure to suck readers of most ages in immediately.

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