Summer Reading List for Early Readers Through Young Adults 2021

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By Courtney Ingalls

Summer Reading List for Kids of All Ages 2021

There is nothing more relaxing and peaceful summer activity than enjoying a great book. Having a summer reading list is an awesome way to pass some time while also keeping your kids’ creative juices flowing and not falling into the summer slide! Whether the kids are sitting at home, away at camp, or on the beach during vacation, a good book opens our kids to adventure, new worlds and broadens their own world.

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In the world of books, there are so many stories and genres that will appeal to kids of all ages and reading levels. We’ve come up with a list of some summer reading books for each age group that will keep kids engaged all summer long!

Looking for cheap and easy activities to do with your kids this summer? Check out 37 Free Things to Do in New York City This Summer

Early Readers


bye bye brain bully

Bye Bye Brain Bully: Knocking Out Self-Doubt by Carin Bail & Carina Hale

Trying to tackle life is something that every child has to navigate while growing up. With the help of Captain Communicator and Believer Achiever, Kate tries to fight against the evil brain bully and to be able to use her voice and develop some courage within herself! Your kids will learn how to combat any mental struggles they have while growing up and how to be confident with themselves! Grades Preschool-3.


Floaty by John Himmelman

Mr. Raisin lives alone in a little house, and that is the way he prefers it. One day he comes across a basket on his front step. When he opens the basket, he doesn’t see anything inside until he looks up to find a floating dog! This funny story focuses on embracing the unexpected and finding friendships that you didn’t know you needed. Floaty is the perfect first book to show little ones how fun reading can be! Grades Preschool-3.



unicorn diaries


Bo’s Magical New Friend (Unicorn Diaries) by Rebecca Elliott

This book is aimed at newly independent readers and includes easy-to-read text in order to boost reading confidence! Bo Tinseltail is one of the many unicorns that attend Sparklegrove School and has the cool power of granting wishes. Something that Bo wants more than anything is to find a best friend. A new unicorn named Sunny Huckleberry comes to the forest, and we are left wondering if Sunny will be the best friend Bo has been looking for. With this high-interest content and colorful illustrations, kids will not want to put this book down! Grades K-2.


summer camps critter jitters


Summer Camp Critter Jitters by Jory John

At this summer camp, all of the animals are nervous about going! The duck is nervous about the other campers finding out he can’t swim, and the sloth is worried that he will have to catch his own lunch. This hilarious book shows how each animal prepares for camp and brings up the question of if the animals will ever get over their nerves and make new friends. Grades Preschool-3.

Upper-Level Books


marcus makes a movie

Marcus Makes a Movie by Kevin Hart

Marcus is stuck in a film class he has no interest in being in but realizes he can use it as an opportunity to make the cartoon superhero he has been drawing into a movie! This book, written by comedian Kevin Hart, follows Marcus’ journey through his film endeavors and how he and some helpful friends make his imagination become a reality! Hart shows through this book that if you have a dream you want to come true, you have to work hard in order to achieve it, which is something that all kids should learn. Grades 3-7.


cooked kind of perfect

A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban

Ten-year-old Zoe has always dreamed of becoming a great piano player and is waiting to get her first piano in order to start her lessons. When her dad ends up buying her an organ instead of a piano, Zoe’s hopes and dreams seem farther away than ever. However, when Zoe enters an annual organ competition, she realizes that life hands you some unexpected surprises. This book shows kids that even though we might strive for perfection, sometimes it’s better to be a little off-center. Grades 5-7.

Jude banks superhero


Jude Banks, Superhero by Ann Hood

This book is written by New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood and tackles the hard topics of loss, resilience, and how families start to heal. Jude’s sister Katie was his favorite person in the world. She was the one who always called him “Jude Banks, Superhero” and made him feel special. When his sister unexpectedly passed away, Jude didn’t feel like the superhero he was told he was. While trying to figure out how life will be without Katie, Jude meets a new friend with similar struggles and they decide that they will try to tackle their tragedies together. Grades 3-7.



Turtle boy


Turtle Boy by M. Evan Wolkenstein

Middle school can be rough, and as kids will be returning to school full time the next school year- this coming sweet book is a must summer read for Tweens and even adults. The story is about Will Levine and how the seventh grade is not going so great. With a considerable part of this from being bullied due to his funny-looking chin. His friendship with the ill older boy RJ changes Will’s life as a friendship is bonded through turtles and RJ’s guidance and bucket list. This book is a heartfelt coming of age story perfect for a summer read for this age group to learn about being brave and getting out of your shell. Grades 5-6.

Grade 8 & Young Adult


Lola and ghost story


Lola: A Ghost Story by J. Torres

Lola is the Tagalog word for a grandmother who Jesse barely knew but was aware, like most of the family, she had visions and was able to see ghosts. Jesse shares this secret power, and while in the Philipines for Lola’s funeral, Jesse sees ghosts and realizes he must face his demons. The book shares Filipino culture and mythology. While this story is beautiful with many visuals, it does have a bit of darkness- like the grandmother trying to drown Jesse as a baby (it was not what it seems, as you will find out later) and a drunk adult. This is why we recommend the recommended age group read this book. Young Adult.

Firekeepers daughter

Firekeepers Daughter by Angeline Boulley

As an instant New York Times bestseller, Firekeepers Daughter has become a must-read for young adults this summer! The book follows Daunis Fontaine, a teenager who lives on the Ojibwe reservation, who put her dreams of getting out of her hometown on hold after a family tragedy struck. After witnessing a shocking murder, Fontaine gets involved with an FBI investigation and finds out that finding the truth behind these crimes is harder than she expected. If your kids love crime and mystery books, this will be one your kids will not want to put down this summer. Young Adult.

Americanized islanderbookshop.com

Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card by Sara Saedi

This book is based on a true story and is the perfect combination of funny and informative. Readers will be focusing on author and main character Sara Saedi as she tackles the struggles of being an undocumented immigrant in America.On top of the steady progression towards getting her green card, Saedi is also worried about normal teenage things such as whether or not she will be able to get a prom date or if she will ever be able to properly maintain her unibrow. Saedi’s memoir is relatable and is a necessary book to read during today’s climate. Young Adult


Shadow and bones


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This book is the start of the Shadow and Bone trilogy and takes you on an adventure with magical spells and monsters. Alina Starkov is a soldier who has embarked on her first trek into the Shadow Fold. When she and the other soldiers get ambushed, Alina unleashes powerful magic that she didn’t know she had. Now Alina is training with her country’s magical military elite and is uncovering secrets in her past that can put her family and country in danger. Grades 8- Young Adults.


Rule of Wolves

Rule Of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo

If Shadow and Bones seems like a book your kids would enjoy, pick up this other magical story written as part of Bardugo’s King of Scars Duology. This book is the second of the duology and follows three people, the demon king preparing for an invasion, the stormwitch who is embracing her powers for her country, and the spy that is going undercover to seek revenge. Together, these three are working to fight off the darkness that is taking over their country before it is too late. Young Adults.

This story first appeared on NewYorkFamily.com.

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