25 Great End-of-Summer Reads

It’s National Book Lover’s Day and today we have Ms. Sarah FitzHenry, our Learning Village Librarian as well as a blogger extraordinaire at Fitz Between the Shelves, giving us a few reading recommendations. Don’t miss her on Twitter where she is @fitzbtwenshelves

Summer is the perfect time to do some exploring. You could pack your suitcase and load up the car, but there’s a much easier way to broaden your horizons and visit someplace new: by opening a book. It may sound cheesy, but books allow you to zip around the world and travel through time with just the turn of a page. Just in the past few weeks I’ve visited Syria, Germany, the United Kingdom, Nigeria, a series of small islands in the Carribean, and more. I’ve saved lives as a highly-trained sniper in the trenches of WWII, put the finishing touches on a steaming dish of mofongo in my Philly kitchen, and woken up bleary-eyed after surviving a heart transplant. And I’ve done it all without packing my passport or spending a dollar. Now that’s a summer vacation!

In order for children to discover their reading identity, they need to explore. Just as children sometimes decide that they don’t like a food long before it hits their plate, they can make assumptions about literature, too. Novels in verse? Not for me. Nah, I’m not a graphic novel reader. Do you have anything under 300 pages? I’m not really the “long book” type. Developing readers need to try out different genres and formats, moods and lengths, characters and points of view. Each book that they try along the way teaches them more about who they are as a reader. And the opportunity to  wander aimlessly with no watchful eyes, open gradebooks, or imposing deadlines? What wonderful opportunities summer can bring. 

This summer, help the readers in your life to develop a different type of vacation plan. Whether you visit the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, cruise digital archives, or pop into a Charlottesville bookstore, push yourself and your crew to try something unfamiliar. Hopefully, you’ll discover something you love along the way.

Here are a few fiction books that have surprised and delighted me recently, that you might like too. 

Picture Books

  • A is for All the Things You Are: A Joyful Alphabet Book by Anna Forgerson Hindley and the National Museum of African American History and Culture
  • Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack
  • Mary Wears What She Wants by Keith Negley
  • Say Zoop! by Herve Tullet
  • Love, Z by Jessie Sima

Emerging Readers

  • Dyamonde Daniel series by Nikki Grimes
  • Narwhal and Jelly series by Ben Clanton
  • Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series by Hena Khan
  • Jasmine Toguchi series by Debbie Michiko Florence
  • Lulu series by Judith Viorst

Middle Grade

  • Rip and Red books by Phil Bildner
  • The Vanderbeekers of 41st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
  • Love Sugar Magic by Anna Meriano
  • Illegal by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin, and Giovanni Rigano
  • The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

Lower Middle School

  • Track series by Jason Reynolds
  • The Benefits of Being an Octopus by Ann Braden
  • The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
  • Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World by Ashley Herring Blake
  • Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling

Young Adult

  • The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Here to Stay by Sara Farizan
  • The Lovely War by Julie Berry
  • Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka
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