10 Books to Help Your Students Skip the Summer Slide

Teachers, librarians, parents…you don’t need us to tell you about the evils of the summer slide. If you’ve found yourself caught in that scramble, trying to find just the right books, programs, and activities to keep kids learning all summer long, we’re here to help you out. Students can keep using Biblionasium over the summer to log their reading and make book recommendations. You can even issue reading challenges to help motivate them to read!

But which books are really the best ones to get them started? Everyone has their opinions on this, but there are some books that truly stand out from the others.

Check out our mix of contemporary and classic summer reading picks below for some inspiration to keep students reading all summer long.



1. The One and Only Ivan

By Katherine Applegate

Illustrated by Patricia Castelao

Unexpected friendship? ✔

Blend of humor and poignancy? ✔

Fictional version of a true story?  ✔

Best for ages 8-12.




2. Charlotte’s Web

By E. B. White

Illustrated by Garth Williams

Strong female characters? ✔

Classic, timeless story? ✔

Introduces the circle of life? ✔

Best for ages 8-12.




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3. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

By Vashti Harrison

Non-fiction for kids? ✔

Boundary-breaking stories? ✔

New York Times bestseller? ✔

Best for ages 8-11.




4. Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess

By Shari Green

Introduces coping with change? ✔

Unlikely friendship? ✔

Complex family structure? ✔

Best for ages 8-12.




5. It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

By Firoozeh Dumas

Issues of identity and discrimination told in a humorous way? ✔

Historical middle-grade fiction? ✔

From the author of Funny in Farsi? 

Best for ages 10-12.




6. James and the Giant Peach

By Roald Dahl

Illustrated by Quentin Blake

Side-splittingly funny? ✔

A tale full of magic and mayhem? ✔

Odyssey-like adventure? ✔

Best for ages 8-12.




7. Poppy and Rye

By Avi

Illustrated by Brian Floca

Adorable animals? ✔

Will make you both laugh and cry? ✔

Sparks deep conversations on social issues? ✔

Best for ages 9-12.




8. Big Questions from Little people — and Simple Answers from Great Minds

By Gemma Elwin Harris

Answers questions like “Do animals have feelings?” ✔

Expert answers from Richard Dawkins, Noam Chomsky, Bear Gryllis and more? ✔

Hilarious alternative answers from well-known comedians? ✔

Best for ages 8-12.



9. Islandborn

By Junot Diaz

Illustrated by Leo Espinosa

Demonstrates the power of imagination? ✔

Celebrates a diversity of experiences? ✔

Beautiful illustrations and lyrical writing? ✔

Best for ages 5-8.



10. Tashi

By Anna Fienberg, Barbara Bienberg, & Kim Gamble

A mystical gnome creature? ✔

Tall tale of courage and daring? ✔

Giants, ghosts, demons, and witches? ✔

Best for ages 7-9.

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