NEW Summer Reading for Elementary Grades
John, Paul, George & Ben (350142)
Lane Smith; Lexile: AD660L; multiple books, P
Once there were four lads... John [Hancock], Paul [Revere], George [Washington], and Ben [Franklin]. Oh yes, there was also Tom [Jefferson], but he was annoyingly independent and hardly ever around. These lads were always getting into trouble for one reason or another. In other words, they took a few...liberties. And to be honest, they were not always appreciated. This is the story of five little lads before they became five really big Founding Fathers.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (350369)
William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; Lexile: 910L; multiple books, PI
When fourteen-year-old William Kamkwamba's Malawi village was hit by a drought, everyone's crops began to fail. Without enough money for food, let alone school, William spent his days in the library . . . and figured out how to bring electricity to his village. Persevering against the odds, William built a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps, and thus became the local hero who harnessed the wind.
The Boy Who Loved Words (350481)
Roni Schotter; Lexile: AD780L; multiple books, PI
In this Parents' Choice Gold Award winning book, Selig collects words, ones that stir his heart (Mama!) and ones that make him laugh (giggle). But what to do with so many luscious words? After helping a poet find the perfect words for his poem (lozenge, lemon, and licorice), he figures it out: His purpose is to spread the word to others. And so he begins to sprinkle, disburse, and broadcast them to people in need.
Can You Survive in the Wilderness? An Interactive Survival Adventure (350564)
Matt Doeden; Lexile: 680L; multiple books, PI
The wilderness is a place of beauty and peace. But it is also filled with fierce predators, poisonous plants, and raging rivers. Will you: Try to survive the harsh mountains of Alaska after being abandoned during an outdoor training trip? Struggle to make your way out of the deep forests after becoming lost in Australia's Blue Mountains? Attempt to find help for your injured brother in Washington's Cascade Mountains?
Danger on Midnight River (350496)
Gary Paulsen; Lexile: 600L; multiple books, PI
Slow learner Daniel Martin escapes peer teasing by spending most of his time outdoors, and when a van crash plunges him and a gang of bullies in the river, Daniel must choose between saving himself and risking his life to save the others.
Dinosaurs Before Dark (Magic Tree House #1) (350151)
Mary Pope Osborne; Lexile: 240L; multiple books, PI
Jack and Annie's very first fantasy adventure in the bestselling middle-grade series—the Magic Tree House! Where did the tree house come from? Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur's dinner?
NEW Summer Reading for Intermediate Grades
Rymie Nightingale (350063)
Kate DiCamillo; Lexile: 550L; multiple books, PI
Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father, who left town two days ago with a dental hygienist, will see Raymie's picture in the paper and (maybe) come home. To win, not only does Raymie have to do good deeds and learn how to twirl a baton; she also has to contend with the wispy, frequently fainting Louisiana Elefante, who has a show-business background, and the fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski, who's determined to sabotage the contest. But as the competition approaches, loneliness, loss, and unanswerable questions draw the three girls into an unlikely friendship — and challenge each of them to come to the rescue in unexpected ways.
Moon Over Manifest (350141)
Clare Vanderpool; Lexile: 800L; multiple books, IJ
Abilene Tucker feels abandoned. Her father has put her on a train, sending her off to live with an old friend for the summer while he works a railroad job. Armed only with a few possessions and her list of universals, Abilene jumps off the train in Manifest, Kansas, aiming to learn about the boy her father once was. Having heard stories about Manifest, Abilene is disappointed to find that it's just a dried-up, worn-out old town. But her disappointment quickly turns to excitement when she discovers a hidden cigar box full of mementos, including some old letters that mention a spy known as the Rattler. These mysterious letters send Abilene and her new friends, Lettie and Ruthanne, on an honest-to-goodness spy hunt, even though they are warned to "Leave Well Enough Alone."
Pam Munoz Ryan; Lexile: 680L; multiple books, IJ
Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece from storytelling maestro Pam Munoz Ryan. Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo. Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre and form, and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories. The result is an impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.
Lexile: 760L; multiple books, IJ
Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit. But one day, the unimaginable happens: Peter's dad enlists in the military and makes him return the fox to the wild. At his grandfather's house, three hundred miles away from home, Peter knows he isn't where he should be—with Pax. He strikes out on his own despite the encroaching war, spurred by love, loyalty, and grief, to be reunited with his fox. Meanwhile Pax, steadfastly waiting for his boy, embarks on adventures and discoveries of his own. . . .
Roller Girl (350265)
Victoria Jamieson; Lexile: GN440L; multiple books, PI
For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school... in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.
Sophia's War: A Tale of the Revolution (350264)
Avi; Lexile: 730L; multiple books, IJ
Lives hang in the balance in this gripping Revolutionary War adventure from a beloved Newbery medalist. In 1776, young Sophia Calderwood witnesses the execution of Nathan Hale in New York City, which is newly occupied by the British army. Sophia is horrified by the event and resolves to do all she can to help the American cause. Recruited as a spy, she becomes a maid in the home of General Clinton, the supreme commander of the British forces in America. Through her work she becomes aware that someone in the American army might be switching sides, and she uncovers a plot that will grievously damage the Americans if it succeeds. But the identity of the would-be traitor is so shocking that no one believes her, and so Sophia decides to stop the treacherous plot herself, at great personal peril: She's young, she's a girl, and she's running out of time. And if she fails, she's facing an execution of her own.
Katherine Applegate; Lexile: 540L; multiple books, PI
In her first novel since The One and Only Ivan, winner of the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience. Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There's no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again. Crenshaw is a cat. He's large, he's outspoken, and he's imaginary. He has come back into Jackson's life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything? Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.
The Thing about Jellyfish (350293)
Ali Benjamin; Lexile: 740L; multiple books, IJ
After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy must have been a rare jellyfish sting-things don't just happen for no reason. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.
NEW Summer Reading for High School Grades
Colm Toibin; Lexile: N/A; multiple books, JS
One of the most unforgettable characters in contemporary literature” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette), Eilis Lacey has come of age in small-town Ireland in the hard years following World War Two. When an Irish priest from Brooklyn offers to sponsor Eilis in America, she decides she must go, leaving her fragile mother and her charismatic sister behind. Eilis finds work in a department store on Fulton Street, and when she least expects it, finds love. Tony, who loves the Dodgers and his big Italian family, slowly wins her over with patient charm. But just as Eilis begins to fall in love, devastating news from Ireland threatens the promise of her future.
Salt to the Sea (350137)
Ruta Sepetys; Lexile: HL560L; multiple books, JS
World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety. Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.
The Warrior's Heart: Becoming a Man of Compassion and Courage (350124)
Eric Greitens; Lexile: 910L; multiple books, JS
In this adaptation of his best-selling book, The Heart and the Fist, Eric speaks directly to teens, interweaving memoir and intimate second-person narratives that ask readers to put themselves in the shoes of himself and others. Readers will share in Eric’s evolution from average kid to humanitarian to warrior, training and serving with the most elite military outfit in the world. Along the way, they’ll be asked to consider the power of choices, of making the decision each and every day to act with courage and compassion so that they grow to be tomorrow’s heroes.
Amanda Maciel; Lexile: HL810; multiple books, S
Sara Wharton is a bully. But not, she insists, a murderer. However, Emma Putnam has committed suicide; she was literally bullied to death, and Sara has been criminally charged. Sara, though, blames Emma, who, she acidly thinks, got off easy. Self-pitying and not a bit sorry, she is a classic anti-heroine . . . or is she? As the story moves back and forth in time, before and after the suicide, a fuller portrait emerges as Sara’s first-person voice reveals essential details. Perhaps she might, in the end, come to terms with her actions and even find redemption. First-time novelist Maciel has done an exemplary job of giving readers a multidimensional portrait of a bully that is psychologically acute and emotionally resonant. Readers may not like Sara, but they will come to empathize with her as she discovers the meaning of remorse.
The House of the Scorpion (350272)
Nancy Farmer; Lexile: 660L; multiple books, JS
Matteo Alacrán was not born; he was harvested. His DNA came from El Patrón, lord of a country called Opium--a strip of poppy fields lying between the United States and what was once called Mexico. Matt's first cell split and divided inside a petri dish. Then he was placed in the womb of a cow, where he continued the miraculous journey from embryo to fetus to baby. He is a boy now, but most consider him a monster--except for El Patrón. El Patrón loves Matt as he loves himself, because Matt is himself. As Matt struggles to understand his existence, he is threatened by a sinister cast of characters, including El Patrón's power-hungry family, and he is surrounded by a dangerous army of bodyguards. Escape is the only chance Matt has to survive.
All The Bright Places (350340)
Jennifer Niven; Lexile: 830L; multiple books, JS
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.
The Truth About Alice (350118)
Jennifer Mathieu; Lexile: 900L; multiple books, JS
The text that changed everything: tommy and me banged alice franklin upstairs. Nearly overnight, Alice’s status as a popular junior is destroyed, as students, parents, and seemingly everyone else in Healy, Texas (population 3,000), gasp about the scandal. Debut novelist Mathieu assigns storytelling duties to the side characters: queen bee Elaine, who has an old grudge to exploit; bestie Kelsie, who uses Alice’s misfortune as a way to climb the social ladder; Josh, best bud of Brandon, the star quarterback who sent the text; and Kurt, the brainy weirdo who offers Alice her only solace. When Brandon dies in a road accident supposedly brought on by Alice’s distracting texts, the ostracism kicks into overdrive. If the plot and cast of characters feel familiar, well, they are, but Mathieu’s telling is done with plenty of caustic panache, with the characters betraying their own failings and insecurities—each is a ticking bomb that Alice sets off by chance. Relevant to college readers, too,
All The Light We Cannot See (350154)
Anthony Doerr; Lexile: 880L; multiple books, S
Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel. In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance.